I don’t understand why Catholics must go to confession. Why can’t we just pray and confess our sins privately in prayer rather than in front of a priest? If God is all forgiving won’t he forgive us in prayer?
The Lord makes the rules. It was His idea to give His Apostles the power and directive to forgive sins in His name. Practically speaking, it is more difficult and more gratifying to confess one’s sins in this way and He knew it. See:
Fr. Vincent Serpa, O.P.