Short reply needed for 'I just confess directly to God'


#1

A friend of mine asked me what a ‘Reconciliation Service’ was (she is Protestant) so I explained it to her. When I was done, she replied, 'oh… we just confess our sins directly to God’. We were both running late so I basically said ‘well, if you’d like to talk more about why we do it this way I’d be glad to when we have more time’, and then we both had to leave.

I didn’t want to come back with a sarcastic reply but I do wish I had thought of something else to say that at least gave her some sort of explanation and didn’t leave me feeling as if I was on the defensive. What would you guys have said in this situation? It always seems hard to me to explain aspects of our faith quickly, in one or two sentences, but sometimes that is what’s needed when there isn’t time for a long discussion.

I’d appreciate any help you could give me. Thank you!


#2

Jesus to Peter: RECEIVE THE HOLY SPIRIT. WHOSE SINS YOU FORGIVE ARE FORGIVEN THEM, AND WHOSE SINS YOU RETAIN ARE RETAINED.

I used to use the same excuse. Turned out I didn’t want the humility I knew deep down that I needed.


#3

Check out this thread: forums.catholic.com/showthread.php?t=89443

Particularly my post, #8.


#4

As a protestant I can’t really answer you question because I too believe as your friend. I post on this thread to only ask if the need to confess to a priest is true then why was the temple vail torn when Jesus was crucified? What did that mean if it does mean we as believers have direct access to God? I’m not trying to argue but really want to know a Catholic explanation. Thanks.


#5

[quote=smelton] I’m not trying to argue but really want to know a Catholic explanation. Thanks.
[/quote]

catholic.com/library/Forgiveness_of_Sins.asp


#6

Short, Biblical, and to the point:

“Then he breathed on them and said: 'Recieve the Holy Spirit. If you forgive men’s sins, they are forgiven them; if you hold them bound, they are held bound.” (John 20: 22-23)

Plus

“Declare your sins to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The fervent prayer of a holy man is powerful indeed.” (James 5:16)

Equals

The Christ-instituted sacrament of Reconciliation. In John’s gospel account, Jesus gave his apostles the charge of forgiving men’s sins or holding them bound. Then, St. James gives further instruction regarding how we are to seek healing for our sins: confessing them to another person. Through the sacrament of Reconcilation, we seek the prayer of a “holy man” who has been ordained by God to fulfill the mission of reconciling and forgiving as Christ instructs.


#7

"Confession isnt necessary to confess ones sins to God, it is a 100% guarantee that you are forgiven though…"Fr. David Bernard.

God will forgive you if you ask him, but Jesus instituted the reconciliation that we may have guidance, truth, humility, and fogiveness shown to us.
2Cor5:11-21


#8

[quote=smelton]As a protestant I can’t really answer you question because I too believe as your friend. I post on this thread to only ask if the need to confess to a priest is true then why was the temple vail torn when Jesus was crucified? What did that mean if it does mean we as believers have direct access to God? I’m not trying to argue but really want to know a Catholic explanation. Thanks.
[/quote]

Why would Jesus give his Apostles the power to forgive sins if he did not mean for it to be used? What does the temple curtain have to do with Jesus givng this power? I think you are conflating different things here.

By His Incarnation Passion and Ressurection, Heaven was opened to man, perhaps this is what the curtain symbolizes. In any case, it is not a license to ignore Jesus’ clear intention in “Jesus to Peter: RECEIVE THE HOLY SPIRIT. WHOSE SINS YOU FORGIVE ARE FORGIVEN THEM, AND WHOSE SINS YOU RETAIN ARE RETAINED.”

You know, we agree that only God can forgive sins. Confession to a priest is the mechanism Jesus chose to apply that forgiveness. Reading the NT it becomes very obviuos that God uses his creation all the time to apply His healing and grace to man. It started with the (created) human flesh assumed by Jesus and appears again and again and again even to the point of using Peter’s shadow and Paul’s hanky. The priest is just another of God’s creations that He uses to bring Grace into our lives.


#9

Longer, Biblical, and explanatory:

Throughout history, God has made it abundantly clear that we are to confess our sins before others. We see in the Old Testament the confession of sins according the Old Law:

“The Lord said to Moses, ‘Tell the Israelites: If a man or woman commits a fault against his fellow man and wrongs him, thus breaking faith with the Lord, he shall confess the wrong he has done. . .” (Numbers 5:5-7)

We read in the Old Testament: “He who conceals his sins prospers not, but he who confesses and forsakes them obtains mercy.” (Proverbs 28:13)

Then, we read in the New Testament, the practices of the disciples of John the Baptist: “At that time Jerusalem, all Judea, and the whole region around the Jordan were going out to him. They were being baptized by him in the Jordan River as they confessed their sins.” (Matt. 3:5-6)

Before Christ, the Jews were subject the precepts of the Law. They were required to confess their sins before others that they may make sin offerings in reparation. The Jews observed days of atonement during which they came together with fasting and they confessed their sins and even those of their fore-fathers. Hiding one’s sins was considered harmful to one’s soul and to the community on the whole. This concept of confessing your sins to others was not new or objectionable or something weird to the early Church (especially the Jewish converts). The Old Testament idea of “confession” was not just a confession of a man before God alone. Instead, confession, in a general sense, was a communal act that placed a man at the mercy of God, humbled before others and subject to ritual reparation.

With the death and resurrection of Christ, we were given the forgiveness of sin for the salvation of our souls. Christ became our once and for all sacrifice which is the ultimate atonement for sins. No longer do we have to kill bulls or birds. . .The Lamb was slain for our sins. However, our forgiveness is still dependant upon our recognition of that sin, our confession of it, and our intention to amend our lives according to God’s will. The apostles, leading the early Church, taught this. This is why we read in Acts that those who had once been led astray, “who had become believers came forward and openly confessed their former deeds” (Acts. 19:18). It was not sufficient that they just confess before God. They were compelled to “come forward” and confess before others so that they would renounce their old ways and thus obey “the word of the Lord [to] continue to spread with influence and power” (Acts 19:20).

St. James is very clear in his instruction: “Hence, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be saved. For the fervent petition of a holy man is powerful indeed” (James 5:16). Here we see the workings of the early Church in matters of the healing ministry of confession and forgiveness. We are told to “confess your sins to one another” that we may receive healing. Once again, we see in Scripture that confession is not just a “me and God” thing.

We don’t confess our sins because we think we’re telling God something he doesn’t already know. He knows us better than we know ourselves. It is only by the working of His Spirit that we can even come to know our sins! We pray for forgiveness, according to Jesus’ instruction (Luke 11), because God uses our humble confession to change us. It is in asking that we receive forgiveness. Confessing our sins has such an amazing way of transforming our wills and conforming our hearts towards Christ. We aren’t telling God anything he doesn’t know. We confess and ask for forgiveness so that we are humbled as we recognize and verbalize our sins and see them as Christ sees them.

St. John, too, addresses this matter of confession as a “fellowship” issue. In the first chapter of 1 John, he tells us that “if we walk in light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another and the blood of his Son Jesus cleanses us from all sin. If we say, ‘We are free of the guilt of sin,’ we deceive ourselves; the truth is not to be found in us. But if we confess our sins, he who is just can be trusted to forgive our sins and cleanse us from every wrong” (1 John 1:7-9). Our lives as Christians are to be walked “in the light.” All our deeds are to be known that we would be humbled and honest as we seek together the forgiveness that is promised through Christ’s blood. We must confess our sins before others, not just to God.

This is precisely why we as Catholics, according to the instruction of our Lord and his holy Apostles, seek the healing grace of confession! God wants nothing more than our very hearts, souls and bodies. It is in confessing our sins openly and with a contrite heart that we “bow humbly under God’s mighty hand, so that in due time he may lift you high” (1 Peter 5:6).


#10

[quote=Mickey]catholic.com/library/Forgiveness_of_Sins.asp
[/quote]

I appreciate the response. I have come to understand the Catholic stance on confession, although I would disagree but that is not why I asked the question I did. What is the Catholic understanding of the Temple vail? I read what you put up but I didn’t find an explanation in there. Maybe I missed it.


#11

[quote=quasimodo]Why would Jesus give his Apostles the power to forgive sins if he did not mean for it to be used? What does the temple curtain have to do with Jesus givng this power? I think you are conflating different things here.

By His Incarnation Passion and Ressurection, Heaven was opened to man, perhaps this is what the curtain symbolizes. In any case, it is not a license to ignore Jesus’ clear intention in “Jesus to Peter: RECEIVE THE HOLY SPIRIT. WHOSE SINS YOU FORGIVE ARE FORGIVEN THEM, AND WHOSE SINS YOU RETAIN ARE RETAINED.”

You know, we agree that only God can forgive sins. Confession to a priest is the mechanism Jesus chose to apply that forgiveness. Reading the NT it becomes very obviuos that God uses his creation all the time to apply His healing and grace to man. It started with the (created) human flesh assumed by Jesus and appears again and again and again even to the point of using Peter’s shadow and Paul’s hanky. The priest is just another of God’s creations that He uses to bring Grace into our lives.
[/quote]

I would disagree that the temple didn’t have anything to do with this. Behind the temple vail was where the Priest would make those sacrifices. This is where God was encountered. Not anyone could go behind the curtian. That is why they tied a rope to the priest leg, in case he died he could be dragged out without anyone going behind the vail. The vail was a seperation between man and God. I’m of the understanding that when the vail was ripped when Christ was crucified was an indication of direct access to God.


#12

[quote=smelton]I appreciate the response. I have come to understand the Catholic stance on confession, although I would disagree but that is not why I asked the question I did. What is the Catholic understanding of the Temple vail? I read what you put up but I didn’t find an explanation in there. Maybe I missed it.
[/quote]

The temple veil was torn to signify the passing of the Old Covenant and the prevelence and superiority of the New Covenant in Christ. (“it is finished” meaning the New Convenant is now complete and available to all, and at that point the veil tears.) We can all now kneel in front of the altar and the presence of God in the Eucharist. It is now open to all…not just the high priest in the secluded room. The veil has nothing to do with confession as you are trying to conect it. In fact, one could say that since the torn viel signifies the establishment of the New covennant -and the Catholic church is the visible institution of the New Covenant- and confession is a sacrement given to all by Christ’s church, the torn veil actuallly points to confession as well as to the other screments.


#13

[quote=smelton]What is the Catholic understanding of the Temple vail?
[/quote]

The Catholic understanding of the Temple vail is exactly the same as the Jewish understanding.

The vail of the Temple was a sign of separation between God and his people.

Through the death and resurrection of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, we have be given the incredible gift of reparation. Of healing. Of forgiveness. What no Temple sacrifice could accomplish, Jesus accomplished for all mankind. Thus, his once and for all sacrifice allows us to approach God as never before. The vail is torn.

This access to our Lord, through Jesus Christ, is exactly what we experience in the sacrament of Confession. It is according to Christ’s instruction that we find healing through his Church. It is according to his Divine Providence that we have this amazing sacrament of healing and humility.


#14

[quote=smelton]I would disagree that the temple didn’t have anything to do with this. Behind the temple vail was where the Priest would make those sacrifices. This is where God was encountered. Not anyone could go behind the curtian. That is why they tied a rope to the priest leg, in case he died he could be dragged out without anyone going behind the vail. The vail was a seperation between man and God. I’m of the understanding that when the vail was ripped when Christ was crucified was an indication of direct access to God.
[/quote]

This avoids the question … why would Jesus clearly give the Apostles the power to forgive sins if He did not mean it to be used? I don’t see Him making empty gestures like that.


#15

your ideas about the veil sound pretty much right on to me…

we do have direct access to God, Jesus, Catholics believe that
fully…

we also believe the Church is a community, the body of Christ…
and when anyone sins, it not only hurts themself, it also hurts
the community… for one thing, confession is admitting that
sin hurts more than just ourselves…

confession is for us… not the Church… it assures us that God
have forgiven us… and believe me, it’s much more… reassuring…
to be told by the priest, ‘your sins are forgiven’…

the old adage “confession is good for the soul”, is true…
vocally confessing to our weaknesses, to someone who
is there to support us, is very helpful in dealing with guilt,
after we have been forgiven…

i go to God every day, and ask forgiveness… i go to the priest
less often… but, when i feel the need, i go… and i’m always
glad i did…

:slight_smile:


#16

[quote=smelton]I would disagree that the temple didn’t have anything to do with this. Behind the temple vail was where the Priest would make those sacrifices. This is where God was encountered. Not anyone could go behind the curtian. That is why they tied a rope to the priest leg, in case he died he could be dragged out without anyone going behind the vail. The vail was a seperation between man and God. I’m of the understanding that when the vail was ripped when Christ was crucified was an indication of direct access to God.
[/quote]

Sacrifices behind the vail? Which ones were made behind the vail?


#17

[quote=smelton] I’m of the understanding that when the vail was ripped when Christ was crucified was an indication of direct access to God.
[/quote]

I think your understanding of the vail is correct in a very basic sense. The Catholic Church does not object to this understanding in any way.

However, it is not the whole picture.

Our access to God, through Jesus Christ “the mediator between God and men. . .who gave himself as a ransom for all” (1 Tim. 2:5) is not confined to our understanding of it. By implication, I think, you are saying that because Christ won for you direct access to God that this makes all other means of knowing, loving, and accessing him dispensible. I think Scripture gives us a very different perspective.

Yes, we now have access to the Almighty, but the fact that we may offer spiritual sacrifices (1 Peter 2:5) to him directly does not eliminate the need for the “petitions, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgiving” (1 Tim. 2:1) that we are told to offer for each other. Our direct access to God does not mean that we have no need for Christian fellowship, charity, good counsel, and authoritative instruction.

Indeed, the Word of God tells us that he has made us “generous distributors of God’s manifold grace. . .[and we are to] put [our] gifts at the service of one another, each in the measure he has recieved” (1 Peter 4:10). So, while we may have direct access to God, he has made it abundantly clear that he touches us through others. This is the model of Confession, and all the Sacraments. They do not “earn” grace for us, but they do allow us to recieve God’s manifold grace through his ministers, his “distributors,” his servants.


#18

[quote=Elzee]A friend of mine asked me what a ‘Reconciliation Service’ was (she is Protestant) so I explained it to her. When I was done, she replied, 'oh… we just confess our sins directly to God’. We were both running late so I basically said ‘well, if you’d like to talk more about why we do it this way I’d be glad to when we have more time’, and then we both had to leave.

I didn’t want to come back with a sarcastic reply but I do wish I had thought of something else to say that at least gave her some sort of explanation and didn’t leave me feeling as if I was on the defensive. What would you guys have said in this situation? It always seems hard to me to explain aspects of our faith quickly, in one or two sentences, but sometimes that is what’s needed when there isn’t time for a long discussion.

I’d appreciate any help you could give me. Thank you!
[/quote]

I like to point out that our sins are not just between us and God, they also affect the entire body of Christ. This is a reason why we confess to the priest, as he is the representative of the church (small “c”, as in local collection of Christians), from which we also need to ask forgiveness.

Peace,
javelin


#19

[quote=smelton]The vail was a seperation between man and God. I’m of the understanding that when the vail was ripped when Christ was crucified was an indication of direct access to God.
[/quote]

Not that Cathoics disagree with this statement, but here is a perfect example of how your own “traditions” have formed your understanding of the Word of God. I wouldn’t hesitate to guess that you were told by someone (the passing of “tradition”) that the veil signified the separation between God and man (which is true), and (more importantly), that what that means is that we have direct access to God and Jesus and so do not need to confess our sins to anyone else, specifically a priest.

The conclusions that you have drawn are really just the “oral tradition” of others who have rejected the Catholic position and passed their doctrine on to you, either by word of mouth, or by their written works.

So, who is it that is following “traditions of men”?

Just something to think about…

Peace,
javelin


#20

[quote=JaneFrances]Longer, Biblical, and explanatory:

Throughout history, God has made it abundantly clear that we are to confess our sins before others. We see in the Old Testament the confession of sins according the Old Law:

“The Lord said to Moses, ‘Tell the Israelites: If a man or woman commits a fault against his fellow man and wrongs him, thus breaking faith with the Lord, he shall confess the wrong he has done. . .” (Numbers 5:5-7)

We read in the Old Testament: “He who conceals his sins prospers not, but he who confesses and forsakes them obtains mercy.” (Proverbs 28:13)

Then, we read in the New Testament, the practices of the disciples of John the Baptist: “At that time Jerusalem, all Judea, and the whole region around the Jordan were going out to him. They were being baptized by him in the Jordan River as they confessed their sins.” (Matt. 3:5-6)

Before Christ, the Jews were subject the precepts of the Law. They were required to confess their sins before others that they may make sin offerings in reparation. The Jews observed days of atonement during which they came together with fasting and they confessed their sins and even those of their fore-fathers. Hiding one’s sins was considered harmful to one’s soul and to the community on the whole. This concept of confessing your sins to others was not new or objectionable or something weird to the early Church (especially the Jewish converts). The Old Testament idea of “confession” was not just a confession of a man before God alone. Instead, confession, in a general sense, was a communal act that placed a man at the mercy of God, humbled before others and subject to ritual reparation.

With the death and resurrection of Christ, we were given the forgiveness of sin for the salvation of our souls. Christ became our once and for all sacrifice which is the ultimate atonement for sins. No longer do we have to kill bulls or birds. . .The Lamb was slain for our sins. However, our forgiveness is still dependant upon our recognition of that sin, our confession of it, and our intention to amend our lives according to God’s will. The apostles, leading the early Church, taught this. This is why we read in Acts that those who had once been led astray, “who had become believers came forward and openly confessed their former deeds” (Acts. 19:18). It was not sufficient that they just confess before God. They were compelled to “come forward” and confess before others so that they would renounce their old ways and thus obey “the word of the Lord [to] continue to spread with influence and power” (Acts 19:20).

St. James is very clear in his instruction: “Hence, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be saved. For the fervent petition of a holy man is powerful indeed” (James 5:16). Here we see the workings of the early Church in matters of the healing ministry of confession and forgiveness. We are told to “confess your sins to one another” that we may receive healing. Once again, we see in Scripture that confession is not just a “me and God” thing.

We don’t confess our sins because we think we’re telling God something he doesn’t already know. He knows us better than we know ourselves. It is only by the working of His Spirit that we can even come to know our sins! We pray for forgiveness, according to Jesus’ instruction (Luke 11), because God uses our humble confession to change us. It is in asking that we receive forgiveness. Confessing our sins has such an amazing way of transforming our wills and conforming our hearts towards Christ. We aren’t telling God anything he doesn’t know. We confess and ask for forgiveness so that we are humbled as we recognize and verbalize our sins and see them as Christ sees them.

St. John, too, addresses this matter of confession as a “fellowship” issue. In the first chapter of 1 John, he tells us that “if we walk in light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another and the blood of his Son Jesus cleanses us from all sin. If we say, ‘We are free of the guilt of sin,’ we deceive ourselves; the truth is not to be found in us. But if we confess our sins, he who is just can be trusted to forgive our sins and cleanse us from every wrong” (1 John 1:7-9). Our lives as Christians are to be walked “in the light.” All our deeds are to be known that we would be humbled and honest as we seek together the forgiveness that is promised through Christ’s blood. We must confess our sins before others, not just to God.

This is precisely why we as Catholics, according to the instruction of our Lord and his holy Apostles, seek the healing grace of confession! God wants nothing more than our very hearts, souls and bodies. It is in confessing our sins openly and with a contrite heart that we “bow humbly under God’s mighty hand, so that in due time he may lift you high” (1 Peter 5:6).
[/quote]

Bravo! Well said!! :clapping:

Peace,
javelin


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