Did Jesus give the power to forgive sins to all His disciples?

Last weeks gospel says in John 20:19-23 that the “'disciples” were there with Jesus when he breathed on them and gave them the power to forgive and retain sins.
A deacon in my church emphasized “disciples” versus “apostles” and said we are all disciples and have this power to forgive and retain sins. I felt this was deemphasizing the sacramnent of confession.
Is the word disciple and apostle interchangeable? and do we see these words used anwhere else in scripture where disciples are the apostles only?

Dear Peter,

The word “disciple” simply means follower. The apostles were certainly disciples. However, not all disciples were apostles. Luke 24:34 explicitly states: “There they found the Eleven assembled with their companions”. Actually, it was Ten because Thomas was absent as well as Judas. The accompanying companions were disciples who were not apostles. But the Church’s Sacred Traditon tells us that it was to the college of apostles alone that Jesus gave the power to forgive sins—including Thomas who was absent.

For more on this, see: %between%
*]Penance[/LIST] Fr. Vincent Serpa, O.P.

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