Is confession to Jesus Christ as effectual as confession to a priest?

Essentially is confessing my sin to Jesus Christ personally as effectual in cleaning my soul from sin as going through a priest?

Sure, if you have a divine line to hear his instructions on how to effect the cleansing and acknowledgement that your sins have been forgiven. Barring that, he has given you another SOP. Follow that and you’d be fine.

That depends. Did Jesus tell us to confess sin directly to Him? Or did He tell us that forgiveness for sin comes through the ministry of the priesthood that He established? See John 20:23 for the answer… :wink:

Depends : Timothy 2:5 tells us we have a direct relationship with Christ and no mediator required

You’re telling Jesus through the priest your sins. He gave the power to forgive sins to the apostles and the apostles handed it down. So no.

Confession to a priest is confession to Jesus Christ following the instruction and church he gave us.

I guess that a Protestant will have to use this method to obtain forgiveness of his sins, since a priest will not be available to him.

Agreed; yet, what does this mean? A μεσίτης was an arbiter – that is, the person to whom one had recourse, such that the arbiter ensured that the terms of a covenant were upheld. So, what’s the covenant that Jesus is upholding? See 1 Tim 2:4 – God “wills everyone to be saved and to come to knowledge of the truth.” There’s what it means for Jesus to be ‘mediator’ – he’s our guarantee that we might be saved and might come to knowledge of the truth. How does Jesus make this guarantee? One of the ways is through the forgiveness of sins. And so, what means does Jesus give us for forgiveness? Through His priests, whom He gives the power to forgive sins in His name.

It’s a difficult question, isn’t it? How does one, who denies the efficacy of absolution (as affirmed by Jesus’ own words in Scripture), experience God’s forgiveness?

Perhaps, as it turns out, only by hoping for God’s mercy. :shrug:

Yes from a traditional point of view you are correct , from a biblical not so much

When administering the sacraments, the priest is acting in the person of Christ, so no, you are not telling Jesus through anyone, but you are talking to Jesus directly.

He said therefore to them again: Peace be to you. As the Father hath sent me, I also send you. [22] When he had said this, he breathed on them; and he said to them: Receive ye the Holy Ghost. [23] Whose sins you shall forgive, they are forgiven them; and whose sins you shall retain, they are retained.

John Chapter 20

While confessing sin to Jesus is a good practice and should be encouraged, for a Catholic we need the sacrament of confession to be forgiven of mortal sin. We can also use the sacrament to help us with venial sin as well. So the sacrament for a Catholic is more effectual than confessing to Jesus alone because it brings actual grace.


This is very true!! And I’m even beginning to discover it in my own life.

Care to expound on that, a bit? It’s a pretty thread-bare assertion, and without substantiation…

Since Jesus is omniscient, he hears every confession, including those said to a priest. So, when you confess to a priest you are not confessing to a priest only but also to Jesus.

If your contrition is perfect, then confessing your sin to Jesus only is just as effective as going through a priest. If, however, your contrition is imperfect, going through a priest is likely to be more effective than confessing to Jesus only because a priest is more likely to give you the benefit of the doubt concerning the quality of your contrition.

In Matthew 6 the Apostles ask Jesus how to pray. As we all know it starts out with “Our Father… foregive us our tresspasses”…

The Lords prayer goes directly to Our Father to ask for forgiveness.

So are you saying that saying the “Our Father” is effective as a confession of your sins? Since when did this became dogma?

Inasmuch as venial sin is forgiven through prayer, I’m willing to give a little leeway on this interpretation. If he means that praying the Lord’s Prayer absolves one from mortal sin, though, this idea is way off base.

Moreover, from the perspective of the prayer, it only asks God to forgive us “as we forgive those who trespass against us,” so, if a person is hanging their hat off the idea that praying this prayer is the solitary means by which their sins are forgiven… well, I hope they’re a very forgiving person with everyone they meet… :shrug:

May help…

And forgive us our trespasses . . .

2839 With bold confidence, we began praying to our Father. In begging him that his name be hallowed, we were in fact asking him that we ourselves might be always made more holy. But though we are clothed with the baptismal garment, we do not cease to sin, to turn away from God. Now, in this new petition, we return to him like the prodigal son and, like the tax collector, recognize that we are sinners before him.133 Our petition begins with a “confession” of our wretchedness and his mercy. Our hope is firm because, in his Son, "we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins."134 We find the efficacious and undoubted sign of his forgiveness in the sacraments of his Church.135

2840 Now - and this is daunting - this outpouring of mercy cannot penetrate our hearts as long as we have not forgiven those who have trespassed against us. Love, like the Body of Christ, is indivisible; we cannot love the God we cannot see if we do not love the brother or sister we do see.136 In refusing to forgive our brothers and sisters, our hearts are closed and their hardness makes them impervious to the Father’s merciful love; but in confessing our sins, our hearts are opened to his grace.

2841 This petition is so important that it is the only one to which the Lord returns and which he develops explicitly in the Sermon on the Mount.137 This crucial requirement of the covenant mystery is impossible for man. But "with God all things are possible."138

. . . as we forgive those who trespass against us

2842 This “as” is not unique in Jesus’ teaching: “You, therefore, must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect”; “Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful”; "A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another."139 It is impossible to keep the Lord’s commandment by imitating the divine model from outside; there has to be a vital participation, coming from the depths of the heart, in the holiness and the mercy and the love of our God. Only the Spirit by whom we live can make “ours” the same mind that was in Christ Jesus.140 Then the unity of forgiveness becomes possible and we find ourselves “forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave” us.141

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