This post was taken from another thread where it was getting off topic.
Don’t you think they might be at least a reliable historical reference?
Oh, I don’t! Sins were confessed publicly since prior to the time of John the Baptist (this was also an Essene practice)
5 And there went out to him all the country of Judea, and all the people of Jerusalem; and they were baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins.
18 Many also of those who were now believers came, confessing and divulging their practices.
We know this was the Apostolic Teaching because this is the practice handed down to us. There have been many changes in form, and format. I am sure the Apostles never envisioned the confessional!
I know that the practice was changed from public to private when they realized that not everyone involved in the sin was ready to confess at the same time. To avoid adding public scandal to private, public confession was not required. But, you are right, this was a later development.
Origen, a prolific theologian in the third-century Church, wrote:
The layman who falls into sin cannot by himself wash away his fault. He must have recourse to the levite; he needs the priest. At times, he applies to one even greater: he needs the pontiff’s help, that he may obtain the forgiveness of sins (Hom. in Numeros 10, 1).
St. Cyprian, bishop of Carthage, also writing in the third century, said:
I entreat you, brethren, that each one should confess his own sin while he who has sinned is still in this world, while his confession may be received, while his satisfaction and absolution given the priest are still pleasing to the Lord (De lapsis 28, 29).
In the fourth century, St. Ambrose, bishop of Milan, wrote:
Sins are forgiven through the Holy Ghost. Certainly, but men lend him their ministry. . . . They forgive sin, not in their own name, but in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost (De Spiritu Sancto iii, 137).
As to the power and control thing, I think you are imposing a worldly (secular) mind set of power. The only reason the priest would retain a sin is if the penitent lied (as did Ananias and Sapphira in Acts) or refused to stop sinning.
You have been wrongly informed about these matters, but I don’t think that is the topic of the thread either. How is the sinful behavior of ruthless, greedy clergymen claiming (falsely) that they are Catholic related to OSAS? I never claimed they were saved! Better a millstone be hung about their neck…
Well, we read it differently!
Confession of sins prior to Eucharist has been practiced at least since the Didache was written, around the year 100.
THE SABBATH ASSEMBLY
- Every day, gather together, eat a meal, and give thanks after having first confessed your sins, that your sacrifice may be pure.