To Non-Catholics: The Biblical Sacrement of Confession

Where do non-Catholics get the idea that one can only go directly to God and ask for forgiveness of sins? As Jesus states in John 20:21-23 (Jesus) said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the holy Spirit. Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained.” Jesus said this to sinful men (the apostles) that they have the power as granted to them through Christ to forgive sins in His name.

Thus sayeth the Catholic Church, in a doctrine used for centuries to control the masses. At least, until the Reformation.

It is Scripture that was quoted, not the Catholic Church. If you think the Catholic Church is wrong, please offer you interpretation of this Scripture.

Why do soany Catholics believe they may only ask forgiveness through a priest? Why can you not go directly to the heavenly father, the High Priest? I am married to a Catholic and attend a catholic church. This believes baffles me.

[quote=Andrew Larkoski]Where do non-Catholics get the idea that one can only go directly to God and ask for forgiveness of sins? As Jesus states in John 20:21-23 (Jesus) said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the holy Spirit. Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained.” Jesus said this to sinful men (the apostles) that they have the power as granted to them through Christ to forgive sins in His name.
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Andrew, We as christians recieve that same spirit the apostles recieved. I guess the OUR FATHER doesnt apply. And forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. :confused:

The power to forgive sins is a Divine Power that can be delegated to His disciples - but in no way does God give up His ultimate right to judgement.

In the Anglican Church, the priest (Catholics read minister) gives the congregation absolution following this biblical directive.

**Caution - Inflammatory Statements Follow: **

John 20:24 - But Thomas was not with them when Jesus came so he didn’t receive this power]

(Even when forgiven - Catholics don’t believe they are forgiven - See purgatory)

sap-

Because for hundreds of years, the Catholic Church used this as another way to control people and make them do what they said.

[quote=Spiri220]sap-

Because for hundreds of years, the Catholic Church used this as another way to control people and make them do what they said.
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**Did Jesus assimilate the church? The answer is yes and He did it just as Joseph did it to form the nation of Israel through forgiveness. Reconciliation is a tool to form our conscious and form the family of Christ. It is a conversion tool. The priest is like a track trainer, training us for the race of our life, a race to the finish line. **

[quote=Spiri220]sap-

Because for hundreds of years, the Catholic Church used this as another way to control people and make them do what they said.
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Link, or other form of legitimate documentation, please.

thanks!!

I believe at the root of it is the unwillingness to admit that anyone other than themselves is able to determine what truth is. In the case of the sacrament of confession, they might object by pointing out; how can a mere man forgive their sins. This is a misunderstanding of who the priest is while listening to the confession. The priest is “in the person of Christ”, acting on his behalf. But in order to know that, you must accept the word of the Church (authority) on this matter.

Let’s look at the scriptural justification again: John 20:21-23 (Jesus) said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, "Receive the holy Spirit. Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained."
Now, when was the last time God “breathed” upon Man? The creation of Adam, a pretty significant event. He doesn’t do that action lightly, it clearly signify’s a LOT.

Now, Christ has established a Church, headed by apostles who are in turn headed by one man (Peter). By the actions of the apostles in the NT, it is clear they pass on the authority (though NOT the title) of the apostles to chosen sucessors, via “the laying on of hands”. NOT to the Church members at large.

Now, look at the second part. “Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained.” This is NOT a call to blanket forgivness, especially to a mass of people. Jesus is COMMANDING the Apostles to make judgements dicernments if you will, about sins and sinners. How can they do that? By listening to sins, and dicerning if the person is truly SINCERE about realizing their offense and wanting forgiveness. He didn’t make the Apostles or their sucessors mind-readers. Granted, undergoing this off-time unpleasent activity is often (not always) proof enough that the sinner IS sincere.

I hope this helps

Why do Catholics do it? Because Christ told us to:) . We base it on the teachings of the apostles and Scripture. Or to let my fundamental roots show, we do it because the Bible tells us to!

God Bless

My question however comes from attending Catholic Church for 5 yrs now. I have been told that one can not go directly to the heavenly father for forgiveness. That if you do not go to confession your sins can not be forgiven. I can’t find in the Bible where it says you must go to someone besides God for forgiveness. I find the sacrament of confession to be very beneficial and is used in other churhes in a slightly different way. It is a beautiful sacrament,but I do not understand the belief that you may not go directly to your Heavenly Father. My husband question this during confirmation as a teenager and was sent to the Bishop and was never given an answer. He was however confirmed.

You are going to God for confession, you are just doing it in the way Jesus instructed the apostles. It is right there in the Bible. Christ showed us how He wants us to seek forgiveness from God. The sins are confessed directly to God, not the priest. It is Father (God) forgive me I have sinned. Not Father (Mel, Paul, Amancio) forgive me I have sinned.

But I think you mean why can’t I confess in my bedroom straight to God?

Exactly and that is an answer no one can give me or could give my husband years ago.

Again I am not saying confession to a priest is wrong, I just don’t see that I can’t confess in my bedroom. I believe that it is beneficial to do both at different times.

[quote=sapl31]Exactly and that is an answer no one can give me or could give my husband years ago.

Again I am not saying confession to a priest is wrong, I just don’t see that I can’t confess in my bedroom. I believe that it is beneficial to do both at different times.
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Our God is a loving and forgiving God. Ask and it shall be given unto you. The prodigal son comes to my mind. Look at all the sins committed by the prodigal son,but the father welcomed him back and forgave him. Our heavenly Father wants us to come to Him. :thumbsup:

sap131

Again I am not saying confession to a priest is wrong, I just don’t see that I can’t confess in my bedroom. I believe that it is beneficial to do both at different times.

Agreed. We should always be prepared to do both at different times. There is nothing in Catholic teaching that opposes your belief. Private confession is beneficial. How many of us in fact do get to the point of confessing privately. Confessing to a priest takes more thought and examination, more time and determination to get at our sins, number them, and confront Christ more personally in the presence of his priest.

Catharsis too. A priest can draw out of us the poison we might not be able to draw out of ourselves because we are reluctant to admit the degree of our corruption. He might also point to us the tools we need to perfect our conscience and our self discipline. People who think they can do that all by themselves might be underestimating the gift of sanctifying grace that confession is so helpful in bringing about.

“Receive the holy Spirit. Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained.”

One of the things I’ve learned here, is to re-examine this verse. I always thought this meant “Whose sins AGAINST YOU you forgive are forgiven, and whose sins AGAINST YOU are retained.”

Maybe I made that up huh? :hmmm:

I wouldn’t have problems confessing to a priest I don’t think…but I’d make sure and invite God right into the confessional so He could hear it too. :smiley:

[quote=sapl31]Exactly and that is an answer no one can give me or could give my husband years ago.

Again I am not saying confession to a priest is wrong, I just don’t see that I can’t confess in my bedroom. I believe that it is beneficial to do both at different times.
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Take a look at James 5:14-16

  • 14
    Is anyone among you sick? 6 He should summon the presbyters of the church, and they should pray over him and anoint (him) with oil in the name of the Lord,
    15
    and the prayer of faith will save the sick person, and the Lord will raise him up. If he has committed any sins, he will be forgiven. 7
    16
    Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The fervent prayer of a righteous person is very powerful.*

This does not talk about confessing your sins to God alone. Granted it also talks about the sacrament of the sick, but the forgiving of sins is mentioned twice. A presbyter was the equivalent of todays priest.

John

The Catholic Church discerns between imperfect and perfect contrition.

From the Catechism:

1452 When it arises from a love by which God is loved above all else, contrition is called “perfect” (contrition of charity). Such contrition remits venial sins; it also obtains forgiveness of mortal sins if it includes the firm resolution to have recourse to sacramental confession as soon as possible.

1453 The contrition called “imperfect” (or “attrition”) is also a gift of God, a prompting of the Holy Spirit. It is born of the consideration of sin’s ugliness or the fear of eternal damnation and the other penalties threatening the sinner (contrition of fear). Such a stirring of conscience can initiate an interior process which, under the prompting of grace, will be brought to completion by sacramental absolution. By itself however, imperfect contrition cannot obtain the forgiveness of grave sins, but it disposes one to obtain forgiveness in the sacrament of Penance.

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