I just don’t understand confessing my sins to a priest? Can’t I just confess directly to God?

In the fifth chapter of James, it states that confession of sins is necessary. I can tell you from personal experience, that the only one you can trust your confessing of sins to is a priest, because if you try confessing them to anyone not called to the faith, they will likely use them against you or not understand forgiveness as well. It works, it helps, it’s fantastic, and I’ve found that confessing to someone else: really isn’t that smart.

Opinion: This world is full of false people. Priests are the ones who want you to have a family and not be locked in a cell at the end of the day. Trust a cop: be treated like our savior. Trust a therapist: lose your kids after a phone call. Etc etc. … Bring it to Jesus, amen, I believe in the power of the confessional, 100% legit always

You can and should confess directly to God. Now I don’t know about you, but I’ve never heard God tell me that my sins are forgiven and I’ve never received advice from God on how to to handle a similar situation in the future. We are physical creatures and need other physical creatures to help us experience God and live in his light.

James 5:16, and the Catholic sacrament way, is the best way. In the bible I have right now, it goes from James 5 to 1 Peter (first pope), coincidence? I think not :wink:

One of the fundamental reason’s we have public confession (confession to a priest) is that we bear witness to the world that we are a people in need of reconciliation.

Another reason would be that we believe in the Church Jesus Christ established on Peter and the Apostles. Can’t give you chapter and verse but Jesus did say to the eleven (Judas was gone at the time and Matthias had not been chosen to replace him yet) “Receive the Holy Spirit, forgive men’s sins; whose sins you shall forgive are forgiven them, whose sins you shall retain they are retained.” By confessing to a priest we say to the world that we believe in the power he gave to the Apostles and to their successors, the modern day Catholic church.

My two cents.

A sacrament, such as Confession is, is instituted By Christ as an outward sign to give grace. (From the Baltimore Catechism, slightly edited)

Of course you can confess directly to God. In a sense, we do it every time we pray the ‘Our Father’. Nonetheless, that isn’t a sacrament. It would be a confession, with a lower case, as opposed to Confession. Confession is how we absolve ourselves with the Church and are open to Communion. We are required to celebrate Reconciliation at least once a year. It also removes grave sin.

All sacraments are public (meaning they involve at least 3 people, such as you, the priest, and Jesus). This stems from the belief that none of the sins we do are exclusively towards our self, but towards the mystical body in general. It also provides an assurance for the penitent, because one cannot objectively know they are forgiven by making a personal prayer - an act of contrition, but like with all sacraments, validity is something objective. The sacrament of Reconciliation was instituted by Christ to his apostles as a door to mercy. It is not meant to constrict or frustrate the penitent. That is something that occurs with me as a result of human pride.

There is no such thing as a sin that is entirely nobody else’s business. This is a libertarian notion that tries to abdicate responsibility from the individual.

Well, there is such a thing as Perfect Act of Contrition which can be a little confusing. Code of Canon Law in canon 916, states: “A person who is conscious of grave sin is not to celebrate Mass or receive the body of the Lord without previous sacramental confession unless there is a grave reason and there is no opportunity to confess; in this case the person is to remember the obligation to make an act of perfect contrition which includes the resolution of confessing as soon as possible.”

“O my God, I am heartily sorry for having offended Thee, and I detest all my sins, because I dread the loss of Heaven and the pains of Hell, but most of all because they offend Thee, my God, Who art all-good and deserving of all my love. I firmly resolve, with the help of Thy grace to confess my sins, to do penance and to amend my life. Amen.”

Once one knows the divine law of confession, he must also determine to confess all the mortal sins he has committed after baptism. To say that one is sorry without that intention to confess the sins, when one has a chance to do so, is a false act of contrition. One must determine to obey all God’s commandments, and one of those commandments is that one must confess all mortal sins committed after baptism to a duly authorized priest. If there is no priest to be had, then God accepts the will for the deed. He will not accept the will for the deed if there is a duly authorized priest available.

The Bible says to confess your sins to one another and the Catholic Church made it a sacrament of Penance. It’s better to confess to a priest who is ordained than to anyone else.

It is personal so that you can reconcile with both God and the Church. The Church was give the power to bind and loose sins with absolution. Also penance is given to help.

Confess to God, who is all good.

I understand you shouldn’t confess to a sin to a therapist or a cop. A person can confess directly to God right?
Even the answers given here from other members contradict each other. Hmmm

Yes you are able to pray directly to God and confess your sins.
However, there is silence after you are done confessing.

“God, aren’t you going to tell me whether you forgive me?” Silence.
Some people tell you, “Now you have to believe God forgives you” - but he doesn’t say so, what if I am just imagining to feel better? “God, aren’t you going to forgive me so I know it is a fact? I fool myself with my thoughts; what if I fool myself thinking you forgive me but you really don’t forgive me and you do not say anything about that either?”

But the bible says “God is faithful and just to forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness”; Yes, but that verse was not written directly to you - it was written to people who lived two thousand years ago, who were addressed by St. John. So you have to pretend you are one of them, but again, are you really?

There is one other option:
St. John was a disciple of Jesus and an apostle sent by Jesus. He was given the Holy Spirit and told “If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven”. That is why he told his readers, “God is faithful and just to forgive”… he commissioned people to forgive, granted them the Holy Spirit when he baptized and confirmed and ordained them. So when people confessed their sins, these other people forgave, these who were ordained to grant forgiveness had the authority from John, which is from Jesus, who is God (only God can forgive sins).

Legitimate forgiveness, legitimate connectedness of the priest to the bishop to the pope to the apostles to Jesus, who is God and granted the authority to make disciples, to teach, and to forgive or not forgive.

I prefer to hear I am forgiven, so I know it, rather than the silence.
“How is one to believe, unless he hears… blessed are the feet of the one bearing official news from the King…” “I declare you are forgiven.”

NOT IF you actually want to do it in accordance to GOD"S plan; God’s way:)

It is not always recognized by when Jesus personally instituted Sacramental Confession; He was not, so to speak, “reinventing the wheel.”

This practice is a carry over from the OT commands of Yahweh & Moses, through Aaron, the brother of Moses. What Jesus does in the NT is expand, and even Perfect this practice.

Exodus 28:1
Take unto thee also Aaron thy brother with his sons, from among the children of Israel, that they may minister to me in the priest’ s office: Aaron, Nadab, and Abiu, Eleazar, and Ithamar.

Leviticus 5:16
And he shall make good the damage itself which he hath done,[RESTITUTION] and shall add the fifth part besides, delivering it to the priest, who shall pray for him, offering the ram, and it shall be forgiven him.

Leviticus 5:18
He shall offer of the flocks a ram without blemish to the priest, according to the measure and estimation of the sin:** and the priest shall pray for him, because he did it ignorantly: and it shall be forgiven him,

Luke.5 :17 to 26 “ When Jesus perceived their questionings, he answered them, “Why do you question in your hearts? Which is easier, to say, Your sins are forgiven you,' or to say,Rise and walk’? But that you may know that the Son of man has authority on earth to forgive sins” – he said to the man who was paralyzed – “I say to you, rise, take up your bed and go home.” And immediately he rose before them, and took up that on which he lay, and went home, glorifying God. And amazement seized them all, and they glorified God and were filled with awe, saying, “We have seen strange things today.”


Mt 10: 1-2 " And having called his twelve disciples together, he gave them power over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all manner of diseases, and all manner of infirmities. And the names of the twelve apostles are these: The first, Simon who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother,

1 John 1: 8 -9 “If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just, and will forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.”

1 John 1; 5: 16 “If any one sees his brother committing what is not a mortal sin, he will ask, and God * will give him life for those whose sin is not mortal. There is sin which is mortal; I do not say that one is to pray for that. All wrongdoing is sin, but there is sin which is not mortal.”

**John 20: 21-23 **“Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with YOU. As the Father has sent me, EVEN SO I SEND YOU.” And when he had said this, he breathed ON THEM and said TO THEM, "Receive the Holy Spirit. IF YOU forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven IF YOU retain the sins of any, they are retained."

Mt 16:19 "And I will give to YOU the keys of the kingdom of heaven. And whatsoever YOU shalt bind upon earth, it shall be bound also in heaven: and whatsoever YOUshalt loose upon earth, it shall be loosed also in heaven"

So it is crearly taught Bu JESUS that the NORM for sin-forgiveness is Sacramrntal Confession:thumbsup:

WHY do we suppose that is?

NOTE that in granting this Godly Authority to His Church, the TWICE JESUS proclaims: [MY] PEACE BE WITH YOU"

  1. Because Sacramental Confession is the “known forgiveness of our sins”, as opposed to our hoping or simply presuming God actually has agreed that we can do it ourselves, by commanding HIM to do it OUR way:o; hence we CAN be at peace:)

  2. Because it IS difficult, Christ intends this sacrament to be a deterrent to US sinning in the future

  3. The “SEAL” of Confession is so grave that even threatened with DEATH, a priest may not disclose what is shared in the confessional

  4. There IS a great risk is presuming that one need not do it GOD:S way. Amen



What about this is troubling or fearful to you?

You are reading the words but not listening to the answers. As someone said in your post about Baptism. We are bound by God’s sacraments he is not. Jesus gave us the sacrament of confession as a means for us to seek forgiveness of sins. We are bound by that. If you want to go directly to God and he chooses to forgive your sins, He has that right, however as someone else said…did God actually say to you your sins are forgiven?

I struggled with this at times as well. What ended up making sense to me was the verse where Jesus instituted the sacrament of confession.

John 20:23 If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.”

I read that verse 100 times and never realized the second half of that verse. Well how on earth can a Priest retain a sin if you can just step out of the confessional and override him by taking that sin directly to God.

God knows are hearts. Don’t you think you would be more repentant of a sin you have to tell someone about than a sin you can keep hidden?

God Bless

When you approach the sacrament of reconciliation you confess to Christ himself through his priest “In persona Christi”. It doesn’t get more intimate than that in this life.

Yes! And that is the way the Lord works, using others as His instruments to bring Himself to us.

And, it is so good to hear the words of the priest, speaking for our Lord Jesus Christ, absolving us of our sins!

Of course I can confess directly to the Lord! And we do that at every Mass as well as in our prayer life.

And then make use of the Sacrament of Reconciliation where I will receive graces. A good way to practice humility as well!

You should confess directly to God & are forgiven…but as a Catholic, you must confess mortal sins to a priest in Confession before you receive Communion…unless you were dying.

The answers don’t contradict one another. It is because those trying to explain are doing the best they can to articulate an answer to you. Officially worded articulation is in the Catechism of the Catholic Church. :slight_smile:

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