while confessing, is the presence of a priest required?

Hi all,

I wondered about that question while reading a comment in in another thread…
forums.catholic.com/showthread.php?t=808749

Rinnie said …

to eliminate all confusion, I have a few questions,

Do Catholics believe, in confession, the presence of a priest is required to be completely forgiven of ones’ confessed sin/s?
yes or no

if yes, let me ask then

do Catholics believe, in their heart, they are confessing …

**only to the priest? **
or
to God through the priest?

this is important because…

imagine my friend, who is catholic, willingly committed a grave sin or two while away on vacation in the Bahamas.
his soul is no longer in a state of grace, yes?

those sin/s, need to be confessed, repented and forgiven
in order for his soul to be returned to a state of grace, yes?

I assume your answer is yes to both yes questions above.

If he, while on the sands of the seashore, looks up to heaven and prays to God
confessing and repenting his sin/s,

**Do you believe …
God will forgive him of his sin/s and restore his soul to a state of grace? **

If you believe God will forgive him,** then there is no need to confess the same sins again **in confession to a priest because there is no sin to confess.
God forgave him and restored his soul to a state of grace when he confessed on the shore…yes?

if no, then you believe…
**God will not forgive him of his sin/s and not restore his soul to a state of grace
until he goes to confession with a priest present, correct? **
thank you in advance,

God bless

Before addressing your very fine post and questions…We need to make something clear.

In answering the questions you pose…the the answers need to be of two types…that follow the common “yea but what if” pattern of human thinking.

The first type of answer will be for “normal circumstances” and the second will come in response to (or anticipation of) extra-ordinary circumstances.

Now - on to your questions in the next post.

Peace
James

Under normative circumstances - and for mortal sins - yes.

if yes, let me ask then

do Catholics believe, in their heart, they are confessing …

**only to the priest? **
or
to God through the priest?

To God through the Priest. This is in keeping with the authority God granted to the Apostles (and their successors) to bind or loose sin.

this is important because…

imagine my friend, who is catholic, willingly committed a grave sin or two while away on vacation in the Bahamas.
his soul is no longer in a state of grace, yes?

those sin/s, need to be confessed, repented and forgiven
in order for his soul to be returned to a state of grace, yes?

I assume your answer is yes to both yes questions above.

If he, while on the sands of the seashore, looks up to heaven and prays to God
confessing and repenting his sin/s,

**Do you believe …
God will forgive him of his sin/s and restore his soul to a state of grace? **

If you believe God will forgive him,** then there is no need to confess the same sins again **in confession to a priest because there is no sin to confess.
God forgave him and restored his soul to a state of grace when he confessed on the shore…yes?

if no, then you believe…
**God will not forgive him of his sin/s and not restore his soul to a state of grace
until he goes to confession with a priest present, correct? **
thank you in advance,

God bless

This is where we begin to get into the normative vs the non-normative situations.

Normative - the Catholic who willingly commits grave sin knows that confession is a requirement of contrition and absolution. If he asks forgiveness - but without the intent to confession - what does this say about the sincerity of his alleged repentance?
And if he is not truly sorry - as evidenced by his unwillingness to go to confession as he knows is required…then how can his sin be forgiven? The bottom line is that he is not truly repentant.

Non-normative situations that are often brought up is the idea of repenting, asking forgiveness intending to confess but then dying before being able to get to confession. In such extra-ordinary circumstances the intent to confess is seen as sufficient.

Hope this helps a bit.

Peace
James

The Sacrament of Reconciliation is a gift from God to man. It’s not a chain that binds God. But it is a gift precisely because it is a dramatic improvement over what was before the gift was given.

Take this imperfect analogy. You are hiking and accidentally tear a terrible wound on your arm via a protruding nail on a fence post. You bandage the wound to rush to the medical clinic. You interrogate the doctor:

You: “Do I really need stitches, and bandages and antiseptic?”

Doctor: “Absolutely, that’s a bad cut and the stiches will help close the wound, prevent more bleeding, speed the healing and reduce the chance of infection.”

You: “So I’d DIE without treatment?”

Doctor: “Not for sure, but there would sure be a much greater risk, not to mention worse scars and extended healing time.”

You: “So it isn’t absolutely necessary to get this treatment.”

Doctor: (exasperated): “Well you’d be a fool to refuse it!”

In the above, you are you and the doctor is God. God gave humanity the gift of Reconciliation via the ministry of the apostles and their successors. Don’t refuse a great gift. It’s bad manners and just plain unwise.

I’m not addressing your questions but something occurred to me last night as I was praying the rosary. At the 1st appearence of Christ to the apostles in the upper room Jesus says that “whose sins you forgive they are forgiven, whose sins you retain they are retained (John 20: 21-23).” I never got that before but after dying for our sins he immediately gives the apostles the ability to forgive sins (in the person of Christ of course.) How amazing and completely obvious is that?!! Our God is totally and completely awesome!

I understand about the hurt sin caused and confessing again to a priest

You said it was God’s choice whether to forgive or not if I confessed on the shore away from church. fair enough

I happen to believe He does forgive, Isn’t that why Jesus bled and died on the cross?

which leads to your question

there was a sacrifice to be made…

So now take seven bulls and seven rams and go to my servant Job and sacrifice a burnt offering

God wanted to see if He was sincere, that is old testament
Fast forward to new testament
God provided for us a sacrificial LAMB, the LAMB of GOD…Jesus Christ
We no longer have to sacrifice animals to be forgiven of our sin

Thank you Jesus…

This is a point I made in my reply above…The Sacrament of reconciliation, where go and confess is also a way to know if we are sincere…

Peace
James

Yes. AND it’s why he selected 12 apostles, breathed on them and give them the power to forgive sins or retain sins (presumably they needed some basis on which to decide which case to apply and confession developed).

It’s kind of important to read the entire bible and not just pick out the things you wish to be true while ignoring more inconvenient portions. He gave us this sacrament as a gift. It’s rude to reject a gift and demand something different more to our own liking, no?

happen to believe He(God) does forgive, Isn’t that why Jesus bled and died on the cross?

amen

thx for reminding me :slight_smile:

a lot of work prior to Jesus Christ

I can almost relate, for me I chose a close friend I can trust to hold me accountable, yes there humililty admitting that I am addicted to a habitual sin that keeps coming back time and time again. But thank God I can not remember the last time I sank in it. My partner asks me now and then how I am doing? I got to look him square in the eyes and tell him the truth.

always, there can not be anything short of being sincere for God to forgive

God provided for us a sacrificial LAMB, the LAMB of GOD…Jesus Christ
We no longer have to sacrifice animals to be forgiven of our sin
Thank you Jesus…

**ok… the priest may be the intercessor, but do you believe, like Jesus, he also can forgive your sin and restore your soul to a state of grace? **

another example of what we talked about above :thumbsup:

[quote=onHisteam] Hi all,

I wondered about that question while reading a comment in in another thread…
forums.catholic.com/showthread.php?t=808749

Rinnie said …

Quote:

Originally Posted by rinnie

Christ gave a Priest the power of the Holy Spirit to forgive mortal sin and cleanse is in his name.

to eliminate all confusion, I have a few questions,

Do Catholics believe, in confession, the presence of a priest is required to be completely forgiven of ones’ confessed sin/s?
yes or no

YES

if yes, let me ask then

do Catholics believe, in their heart, they are confessing …

only to the priest?
or
to God through the priest?

THE PRIEST IS ACTING IN PERSONA CHRISTI

this is important because…

imagine my friend, who is catholic, willingly committed a grave sin or two while away on vacation in the Bahamas.
his soul is no longer in a state of grace, yes?

CORRECT

those sin/s, need to be confessed, repented and forgiven
in order for his soul to be returned to a state of grace, yes?

CORRECT

I assume your answer is yes to both yes questions above.

If he, while on the sands of the seashore, looks up to heaven and prays to God
confessing and repenting his sin/s,

Do you believe …
God will forgive him of his sin/s and restore his soul to a state of grace?

IT IS UP TO GOD. CONFESSION IS THE NORMAL MEANS OF THE FORGIVENESS OF SINS BUT GOD IS NOT LIMITED TO THE SACRAMENTS. BUT TO BE SURE, GO TO CONFESSION.

If you believe God will forgive him, then there is no need to confess the same sins again in confession to a priest because there is no sin to confess.
God forgave him and restored his soul to a state of grace when he confessed on the shore… yes?

YOU CANNOT BE SURE

if no, then you believe…
God will not forgive him of his sin/s and not restore his soul to a state of grace
until he goes to confession with a priest present, correct?

CORRECT

thank you in advance,

God bless
[/quote]

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Why must I turn on a metal tap to get water into my house? What has metal to do with water? I will have water without metal! :smiley:

Oh, wait - I can’t get the water, if I don’t turn on the tap. Oh, well! :shrug:

When Jesus was on earth, He set up a system of Sacraments, through whom He dispenses His grace. Confession is the Sacrament (the “tap” if you will) through which the forgiveness of sins is provided. Priests are the administrators of the Sacraments (the “pipe” through which it flows).

Now - you’re probably about to point out to me that a person can take a bucket and go to the reservoir and get water without using a tap. This is true. It’s also true that nobody ever actually does that unless the tap has stopped working and the plumber is unable to fix it.

It’s also true that God can give grace even without the Sacraments, if the Sacraments are not available for some reason. But the normal everyday way that Jesus set up for you to have your sins forgiven is to go to Confession and confess your sins in the presence of a priest.

Yes, the priest can forgive sin and therefore restore my soul to a state of grace. I think this is what non-Catholics want to hear and Catholics are reluctant to say this knowing that it can easily be misconstrued. But, well, yes, he can forgive sin.

But he does not forgive sin by his own power or ability but by the authority that is conferred to him by Jesus, he being called to apostleship and the Holy Spirit being breathed on him; unless of course if we don’t believe Jesus when he said, “that the sin they forgive will be forgiven” (paraphrased).

It is true that Jesus said we are forgiven our sin if we confessed with our mouth and believe in our heart. It is a matter of how we do it. Thus the Sacrament of Reconciliation (Confession) is a process in how this is done. We know it is grace but this is a sign of outward grace. Similarly when Jesus healed the blind man, he used his spittle. We don’t know why he did that because he could just say the word. Similarly the lepers were asked to bath, though we know it was not the river water that healed the leprosy but the grace of God.

The priest is not even an intercessor during Confession; he is in persona Christi, in person of Christ sort of. Yet the penitent has to be sincere and repentant in order to be forgiven. Like when Jesus said, “Your faith heals you”, though not an excellent analogy, the forgiveness of sin depends on the sincerity of the repentant. In other word, forgivessness is conditional unlike God’s love which is not.

I was thinking when Jesus healed the blind man; he spit on the mud and smeared it on the blind man’s eyes. Yuck. How unsanitary and disgusting! And yet that was how it happened.

Similarly, it come to reason too that when we want our sin forgiven, we may need to go through the, yuck, unsanitary ritual. You know how difficult it is to tell your intimate sins and shortcomings to another person. I would rather in million ways just to tell Jesus my sin in the privacy of my prayer and that’s it. But it is not to be. I have to submit to the yuck, the unsanitary mud mixed in spittle being put over my eyes. I have no choice, beggar is not chooser.

Is it automatic? And if so, then why was Dismas (the “good” thief) forgiven, but not Gestas (the “bad” thief)?

God wanted to see if He was sincere, that is old testament

Doesn’t God need to know that we are sincere today?

Fast forward to new testament
God provided for us a sacrificial LAMB, the LAMB of GOD…Jesus Christ
We no longer have to sacrifice animals to be forgiven of our sin

True. Today, we have the Church and her Sacraments.

Thank you Jesus…

Amen! :slight_smile:

love the analogy, lets go with it :thumbsup:

ok

I am glad you see it as an option too :slight_smile:

but the option is there. You might want to hang out at the reservoir. I bet you will be surprised at the amount of people filling their buckets utilizing the main source.

Just might be all those non catholic “protestant” Christians and the like
Jesus can fill more buckets at the reservoir than He can from scattered taps.

Catholic Church is right down the street, I still prefer the reservoir

oh well, I prefer the abnormal way. Jesus is a lot bigger at the reservoir.

and if you believe my refusal to be normal and use the tap God will refuse to forgive my sins and deny me access to Heaven, well then, me and every other “protestant” Christians and the like is doomed.

When you are in heaven, send down some marshmallows.

I love toasted marshmallows

thank you for the explanation

You are welcome.:slight_smile: Hope it helps some. Others have been doing wonderful job on this.

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