I was talking with a friend today. This guy possibly graduated from high school, definitely not intellectual, but IMHO quite honest and sincere. He is a family man with 4 kids, I think he just turned 40. He seems to be leading a very good life.
However, he told me today that while he believes in the Catholic church he does not think confession is necessary.
I talked with him at length about it, but I don’t think I did a great job defending this sacrament, so I am hoping you guys can help with with some pointers for next time.
He said he can talk directly to God and ask forgiveness for his sins.
I told him that 1) despite the fact that we do the same sins over and over again, we are called to be perfect, and confession gives us graces to fight the particular sins we do. I told him that when I go to confession I can resist the temptation of the particular sins I do for at least 2 months. I also pointed out that it is essential that we clean our souls in confession despite our constant failings, just as we keep on cleaning our house, despite the fact it constantly gets dirty.
2) I said confession keeps us humble and aware of our sins. I mentioned here the Good Theif who was penitent, and humble and only asked to be remembered, but Christ offered him far more than just remembering him.
3) confession allows the priest to advise us - and that the priest may have experience with our problems, or have divine inspiration as to how to help us with our problems.
4) confession is the only method Jesus left to the apostles that we can use to get His forgiveness for mortal sin. There may be other ways, and He may forgive us from sins, but He did not talk about them and so there is no guarantee.
5) confession makes our conscience hyper-aware of all sin.
I just have this niggling feeling I blew it, and missed something essential.
Can anyone help me?