can a catholic go to church and only pray to Jesus Christ. Can he choose not to ask the saints or Mary to intercede for him but pray to Jesus directly or ask Jesus followers here on earth to pray for him. Also instead of going to confession and get forgiven by a priest, can he directly ask Jesus to forgive him. Can he choose not to join in a prayer to a saint or Mary at church. Does the catholic allow this?
Yes to the praying to part, no to the confession part.
While a lot of what your posted describes the Protestant mindset, I imagine that some Catholics agree (or have a hard time) with the issues that you’ve raised. Especially, if they’ve been poorly catechized.
I know one guy in my RCIA class had issues with praying to Saints and to Mary and we spent a while talking about it.
The Church does not require prayers to Mary or any other saint. She does say that Catholics must believe in the Communion of Saints, however.
As for confession, mortal/serious sins must be confessed to a priest if one is able. If one cannot a perfect act of contrition is acceptable. Our venial/less serious sins may be confessed directly to God, if desired, but Catholics are encouraged to confess these sins to receive the grace of the sacrament and to bring healing to the Church on earth.
Also as a possible first step toward obtaining a plenary indulgence for yourself or someone in Purgatory.
Why do you ask? Are you considering becoming Catholic? Are these your only hang-ups?
Can a son only talk to his father and ignore his mother and brothers?
Can a man swim across the ocean instead of taking a ship?
******A vital part of this: the intention to confess those sins as soon as possible, and subsequent follow-through!!!
You would ask others to pray for you, apparently because they are still here in the world. Bit you would not ask those who are in God’s presence to pray for you? You would not ask the person most blessed by God to pray for you? Why not?
I always thought of it like this, for example , a family and kids. The father being the head. Lets say I have a problem and need help. So I go around asking my brothers and sisters to help me out, to ask my father to help me. While I’m asking my brothers and sisters, my fathers looking at me and is asking , why isn’t he asking me directly if he knows I can help him. Doesn’t my son know I already know his problem and I’m just waiting for him to ask so I can help him?
A good analogy…
If a person acts as you describe above they are most definitely NOT praying properly. We should never pray to the saints to the exclusion of praying to the Father.
A better take on the analogy would be to say that you go around asking your brothers and sisters to go with you to your father for the help.
What father ever said that? It is pleasing to a father when his children help each other out. And sometimes your mother can get your father to grant favors which he would otherwise not be inclined to grant, only because he loves your mother so much, and will give you something for her sake, because it pleases her.
There is also the Father and the Holy Spirit. I don’t think they can really be separated from Jesus.
Let me flip that on you…
Let’s say you go to dad and he says no, because he doesn’t think you are ready. Dad is reluctant or doesn’t think the timing is right. So you go to mom. Mom is on “your side” and asks dad on your behalf. Your siblings hear your request and ask dad on your behalf too. When dad sees that everyone is asking on your behalf and believes you are worthy, he finally agrees.
Without the intercession of your Mother and/or siblings, dad would have stuck to his original plan.
This sometimes happens with Jesus. Just like during the wedding at Cana, He wasn’t ready to do a miracle, but at his mother’s request, He changed the water to wine.
When we ask God for things, we are often asking for a miracle. Sometimes The Lord isn’t ready to do a miracle, but change his plan based on the request of Mary and/or other Saints in Heaven.
Now, where does this dad analogy differ from praying to Mary and the Saints? God knows all. Unlike when you go behind dad’s back to ask mom or your siblings, you are NOT going behind God’s back when you ask Mary or the Saints to pray for you. This is because Mary and the Saints can only hear you because of God.
So a better analogy would be this: you are asking Dad for the car in the living room, in front of mom and your siblings. When dad says “no, it’s getting late and there are too many crazy drivers out on the road.” So you turn to mom and say, “Mom, you know I can be trusted. Could you please tell dad that he can trust me to be safe and has little to worry about? I promise to drive safely and be home by 9.” Then, your older siblings chime in saying “Dad, Naiveessence is a better driver than we are.” So dad looks at everyone, smiles and then says “Ok, you can have the car. Drive safe, I love you, and I know I can trust you.”
That’s what God does.
You didn’t go behind dad’s back because he was there. Just like you are not going behind God’s back because God is everywhere.
I hope this make sense.
May The Lord assist you on your journey of Faith.
We say the Nicene Creed at every Mass stating we believe in the Communion of Saints and the Eucharistic Prayers all have intercession of Saints, so no it’s not possible to “only” pray to Jesus because we pray to the Saints in every Mass.
Does one have to pray to Saints in one’s private devotional life? No.
Christ established the Sacrament of Reconciliation. We are not free to ignore it.
It’s not an either/or proposition.
As I am a convert, I can remember how I would “confess” only to Jesus Christ.
Most of the time, it was not complete contrition, it was more like this…
“O Lord I’m so sorry I committed that sin… It wasn’t 100% my fault though. If so and so wasn’t there, or if they hadn’t done this… bla bla” Excuses and excuses. Or I would have contrition, and not want to sin again, but somehow would fall into that again. Then I would worry about “backsliding” and not being fully saved.
As a Catholic, fully immersed in the sacraments, I can say that although confession is tough, it’s impossible for me to look a priest in the eye, knowing that he represents Christ, or is in persona Christi (in the person of Christ) and say that my sin wasn’t all my sin. As well, the incredible help I have received by some confessors has made me walk away from that sinful state, never to sin in that way again. That is GRACE. That is God’s Grace, active in the sacrament, and I am so thankful to God and grateful for his mercy in the sacrament of Reconciliation. And that’s only ONE of the Sacraments. It’s like a little baptism every time I go…
Remember that amazing feeling when you said the “Sinner’s Prayer” the first time and felt God’s grace moving through you, changing you, and loving you through that prayer? And how you were moved to read and love Scripture, and love God even more? It’s like that with every sacrament, if you open your heart to Jesus, who is there, present in every sacrament. Incredible.
Praying for you not to have fear, and open your heart to imaging what that kind of freedom looks like.
So you ever ask your friends to pray
To the first part of your question regarding our intercessory prayers my answer is no. When we are at mass we are to participate in mass. One of the prayers that is part of the mass is the Confeteor:
I confess to almighty God
and to you, my brothers and sisters,
that I have greatly sinned
in my thoughts and in my words,
in what I have done,
and in what I have failed to do;
through my fault, through my fault,
through my most grievous fault;
therefore I ask blessed Mary ever-Virgin,
all the Angels and Saints,
and you, my brothers and sisters,
to pray for me to the Lord our God.
The communion of saints is a big part of our Catholic beliefs. And as you can see asking for their intercession is part of our mass.
Also as far as the second part of your question regarding the confession of sins. It’s a false dichotomy. As catholics we must attend the sacrament of confession at least once a year if we are not in mortal sin AND as you see in the above confeteor prayer we confess that we have greatly sinned to God in our mass. Also we are encouraged to make a frequent private examination of conscience of our sins and pray an act of contrition privately on our own. I have always been encouraged even as a small child to make private acts of contrition after a nightly examination of conscience. Although at the time i became an adult I got out of this practice. Nowadays I’m trying to get back into this habit.
I frequently make a private confession of my sins twice a week to God privately in my home and pray an act of contrition AND I attend the sacrament of confession every 6 weeks. So as you see, as a Catholic, I read your question as a false dichotomy. I do both. I confess to God in private And I confess with my priest in the confessional.