where in the bible is it mentioned that one must go to confession?

Greetings and welcome to the forums!

This should get you started:

Have a read and then come on back here and use the search function or post back. This question has been dealt with in many threads/apologist columns.

(And remember, not everything must be in the bible - We hold Sacred Tradition and Sacred Scripture of equal worth and importance.)

When Jesus tells Peter, “Whoever’s sins you forgive, are forgiven”.

Logically, Peter could only forgive someone’s sins only if that person told his sins (confessed his sins) to Peter.

James chapter 5.

Also, when Jesus gives the power to forgive or retain sin to the Apostles. (You can’t forgive or retain something you don’t know about.)

Hope that helps!

Welcome to the forums!

Read John 20:21-23. That is when Our Lord gave The apostles the authority to forgive or not to forgive sins in his name.

That is what is recorded in scripture. Non-Catholic Christians (except maybe some Anglicans) do not accept that passage as The Early Christians did. Though the procedure was a little different, The Church has always had The Sacrament of Confession is some way. Also read 2 Thessalonians 2:15 where The Apostle Paul tells The Early Church to hold to the teachings both “Oral and written” Hence, the Early Church was not “Bible Only” it was “Bible and Tradition” and we still hold those Oral traditions to this day. Sadly, a lot of Christians have done away with those Oral traditions because they are not plainly written out in The Bible, even though The Bible itself tells us that there are Oral Traditions. How the authority to forgive sins was passed on from The Apostles to other Bishops to our priests is part of That Oral Tradition. That is what we believe. Hope this helps. God bless.

thank you all for your answers. i went to all references you provided. to “the Doctor”: in the Sacrament of Confession and Forgiveness of Sins, under “II. The necessity and practice of orally confessing sins” the very first sentence re james 5:16 is assuming “faults” to be sins. plus the latter part of that sentence “not just privately to God”…who said that? where is that written?

i have always prayed to God privately, confessing sins and asking forgiveness, believing i am redeemed each time. is this not correct?

Two very good questions - let me see if I can explain what we believe.

As to “who said that, where is it written” - it was said by The Church, as the infallible interpreter of Scripture. Scripture establishes, we believe, the authority and the command of Jesus that we confess our sins to a Priest and the teaching and mechanism for how we do that is part of the Sacred Tradition passed down through the Church from the time of the Apostles.

As to “is this not correct”, first, we both agree that only God forgives sins and knows the state of our heart so we must always seek His forgiveness - so I will pray for you today and would ask you to pray for me. None of us can judge the state of another soul. Since you are not Catholic, your asking God directly for forgiveness is “correct” in that we must always humbly go to Him.

What the Church teaches though is your method is not the one that Jesus wants us to use. The best approach is the one He set where He wants us to approach His priests in the Sacrament of Reconciliation to receive God’s forgiveness.

By the way, your question has caused me to reflect on this sacrament today. One of the graces I get from Reconciliation is the knowledge that I am really forgiven. When Father pronounces the words of absolution, I know that he is acting in Jesus’ name with full authority to forgive so if I have made a good and honest confession I am forgiven - especially at times when I can’t seem to forgive myself.

hi Doc…just so you know, i don’t want the “church” to interpret scripture for me, i want the holy spirit to do so when i read the bible. also, i don’t feel the need of someone else (priest) telling me my sins are forgiven. i feel that grace when i pray. i suppose this is why we have so many different denominations. p.s. i enjoy conversing with you.

The only issue I have with this is that you and I, both well meaning and well prayed, asking for the Holy Spirit, can legitimately and honestly interpret scripture in completely different ways. (Take the big one - when Jesus says “you must eat my flesh and drink my blood or you will have no life within you” - is he speaking literally or figuratively?) Logic tells us that we cannot both be correct (another reason we have so many denominations) especially for truths required for salvation. Catholics believe that this is one of the reasons Jesus established the Church, knowing that He was going to leave and that there had to be some authority to speak with His voice.

For me, knowing that God has forgiven me through the ministry of the Priest is probably closer to that grace that you experience when you pray.

I know, and unity is something we must all pray for (wasn’t there this guy in the bible that prayed “that they all may be one…”?;))

And I you. And by the way, although you may not agree with what the Church teaches, I admire you for coming here and asking. There is much mus-information about what we believe out there. If you have other questions, there is a wealth of accurate information on the Catholic Answers home site or using the search function.

Have a good weekend my friend.

  1. Feelings don’t determine truth.
  2. The Church was given authority to forgive sins.
  3. There is ONE faith, ONE Church, ONE truth. Those who have separated from the Church do not contain the fullness of the Faith and fullness of the Truth.

These three statements are very important, and we as Christians must reflect on them, pray on them, and be open to realize that God did not leave us orphans and would never leave us without confusion about what is true, and what is the truth of the Christian faith. After much pondering and praying, I came to the realization that these statements were correct and I was wrong.

God bless and hope to hear more from you!

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