Why must Catholics confess their sins to a priest?

I find not such a requirement in the Bible. As such, I find that a man may confess and be absolved of his sins by speaking directly with God.

Are you a Catholic?

  1. Not every requirement is found in the Bible.
  2. The Bible is not a reference book by which we construct a mishmash of doctrines.
  3. The Church, the pillar and foundation of truth, compiled the Bible and is responsible for its interpretations.
  4. Jesus gave the apostles authority to forgive or retain Sins in John 20:21-23. In addition 1 John 1:9 is also considered to speak of The Sacrament.
  5. Of course, people can be forgiven without confession. They didn’t have it in the Old Testament, and many people don’t have access to it today. But Christ instituted it as a requirement so we could have a more intimate encounter and be forgiven in a more efficacious way, by having a sure means of forgiveness through Him.

It’s like saying “I don’t need anyone to baptize me, I can go directly to God and get baptized”.

Well Jesus did say to his Apostles,
When he had said this, he breathed on them; and he said to them:
Receive ye the Holy Ghost. Whose sins you shall forgive, they are
forgiven them; and whose sins you shall retain, they are retained.
– (John 20:22-23)
So Jesus gave his Apostles the authority in his stead on Earth to forgive and retain sins.
Now what some people do is white-out that verse from their minds and assume they can
just “speaking directly with God” (whatever that means). It did not die with the Apostles,
that job to forgive/retain sins, it was passed on up till today.

Have a look at the link which gives the Biblical reference previously mentioned and a good explanation.

whycatholicsdothat.com/why-do-catholics-confess-their-sins-to-a-priest/

.

Another explanation (which basically says the same) can be found at:

saintaquinas.com/confess_essay.html

Hope this helps.

:blessyou:

x2 on all of the above answers.

Catholics DO speak directly to God. The difference is that Cathoilcs utilize the ordinary means by which Christ chose to forgive us…confession to a Priest (Mt 9:2-8, Jn 20:22-23, 2Cor 5:17-20, James 5:13-16, Mt 18:18, cf. 1Jn 5:16).

As far as what YOU find based on what YOU believe to be a requirement because YOU don’t see it in Scripture: by what authortity do you presume to tell anyone how he should or should not confess his/her sins? Is there anything in Scripture that tells us NOT to confess our sins to one another? Or to NOT go to a Priest? Is there any verse in Scripture that says we should ONLY go straigh to God to confess our sins? (Chapters and verse please.)

Because Christ set it up that way. In the Old Testament, people confessed directly to God. Then, even with John the Baptist, the disciples, we began to see people confessing to each other. Christ once raised from the dead, breathed on the apostles and said to receive the Holy Spirit, that those whose sins they forgave would be forgiven.

Now, why would he have given them this gift if it were later to be rendered, unnecessary?

It seemed Christ had intended all along that we go through his Church for the sacraments rather than trying to “go it alone” without the Church and her representatives.

People went through Priests in the OT as well. :slight_smile: Here’s a short-ish article I wronte once on “Confession to a Priest, or going straight to God Alone?”

And HERE is another link with more Scritural support.

There are many things in the bible hat you will never notice until and unless you are actually looking for them. How do you know that you are absolved of sin, other than to assume? Jesus told those whom He forgave so that there was no doubt.

Jesus forgave sin only by way of a physical encounter with the sinner. And even King David, who had God’s ear, had to confess out loud to God’s authorized agent (Nathan), and hear the words of forgiveness from him.

Look at the following authority given by Jesus to His apostles

[/FONT]John20:23
Whose sins you shall forgive, they are forgiven them; and whose sins you shall retain, they are retained.

[LIST]
*]If God only wants a person to go to Him for the forgiveness of sins, Why would God then give such power to forgive or not forgive sins, to His priests? Jesus obviously wants this. And wants it used.
*]When God gave this authority to His priests, how do they exercise this authority? Did God also give with this power, the power to read other peoples minds? It’s obvious this authority presumes one confessing there sins to them.
*]Notice God didn’t put restrictions on the forgiveness of sins based on severity of sin. All sin can be forgiven this way by the validly ordained priest in apostolic succession
[/LIST]Do we have an example in scripture of this?

Jas 5: 14 Is any among you sick? Let him call for the **elders **of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord; 15 and the prayer of faith will save the sick man, and the Lord will raise him up; and if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven.c] 16 Therefore confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man has great power in its effects.

Notes:

[LIST]
*]Elder = πρεσβύτερος presbyteros : Definition among Christians, those who presided over the churches. The NT uses this term πρεσβύτερος presbyteros for bishop, priests, elders, and presbyters interchangeably
*]confess your sins to one another: The context is after one has called in the priest, then confess to a priest / bishop. Not confess to just any joe six pak in the room or a friend off the street.
[/LIST]If you’re thinking of a sinners prayer kind of resolution, that’s okay if sin is venial in nature.

[1 Jn 1:9:]
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.

If that was the be all to end all passage (in a Protestant sense), then Jesus wouldn’t have instituted the sacrament of reconciliation [Jn 20:21-23:] & [Jas 5:14…]. That would have only confused matters and send a confused message. Do we go to Jesus directly or do we go to the priests?

The answer is, scripture shows the priest has the power from Jesus to forgive ALL sins. So obviously, Jesus doesn’t do needless things.

Reading farther in 1 John however, John makes a distinction between sin, mortal and non mortal(venial) sin. He says he doesn’t suggest one pray’s about the mortal variety of sin for forgiveness. [1 John 5:16](“http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1 John+5:16&version=RSVCE”) :confused: hugh? Ya mean we can’t stop reading at 1 Jn 1:9 as protestants want Catholics to do??? :wink:

Keep in mind, The bible is a Catholic book. It was written in, by, for, and canonized by the Catholic Church. Our book should cause those outside the Catholic Church to immediately want to come into the Catholic Church where all these promises they read about are attained.

Bottomline, If one follows only what they like in the bible, and reject what they don’t like in the bible, it’s not the bible they follow but themself.

Perhaps it’s in the eye of the beholder, but I see “confession” in the book of Leviticus.

If you had a sin (x, y, or z) you had to take your spotless animal to the temple and really confess your sin to the priest, so that the ritual of sacrifice was to be performed correctly.

In modern Jewish thought, prayer is the substitute for animal sacrifice. “teshuvah” or repentence can be done anytime, in a moment of thought, even in the slight feeling of regret over sinning.

Well, there is this bit (public confession) in the OT:
Nehemiah 9:1-3

9 And in the four and twentieth day of the month the children of Israel came together with fasting and with sackcloth, and earth upon them.
2 And the seed of the children of Israel separated themselves from every stranger: and they stood, and confessed their sins, and the iniquities of their fathers.
3 And they rose up to stand: and they read in the book of the law of the Lord their God, four times in the day, and four times they confessed, and adored the Lord their God.

joebillington1. I see you have several posts on different sites and you haven’t followed up on any of them.

I am not accusing you of “bash and dash” but there are good questions that posters here have asked of you that if you answered, might possibly answer your own question (“Why must Catholics confess their sins to a priest?”).

What if I told you Catholics have no problem with confessing their sins directly to God?

For example, I too confess my sins directly to God in an “examination of conscience” followed by an act of contrition—this is something I do before I go to confession to a Priest and repeat my Confession and my Act of Contrition during my Confession as well.

So Catholics DO confess our sins to God, but then we are to obey God and confess our sins to a Priest too (you list yourself as “Catholic” so perhaps you already knew this). It is not an “either/or” paradigm but a “yes/and”.

WHY do you think James said to “Confess your sins to one another” in the context of the presbyters (“Priests” or “elders”)?

Anointing of the sick and Confession often go hand in hand when the sick person can Confess. Why? Fortunately the Bible tells us why. So that sins he has committed “will be forgiven”.

JAMES 5:14-16 14 Is any among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord; 15 and the prayer of faith will save the sick man, and the Lord will raise him up; and if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. 16 Therefore confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed.

(Bold and underline of James 5:14-16 mine)

[LIST]
*]Priests (“elders”)
[/LIST]
[LIST]
*]Anointing with oil
[/LIST]
[LIST]
*]Confession of sins
[/LIST]
[LIST]
*]Forgiveness of sins
[/LIST]

Do you “Confess your sins to one another” in ANY context joebillington1?

Also joebillington1. You said:

I find that a man may confess and be absolved of his sins by speaking directly with God

Would you please expound on this (what are you referring to? Bible verses?—if so which ones? Personal feelings? Some other source?).

I am not denying an act of contrition; I just want to know in more detail what you are alluding to here.

Thanks joebillington1. I think you have a good question. Other people have put in time and effort to answer you and I will make an effort to follow up on your responses also.

God bless.

Cathoholic

Hey! Where’s the OP???

I want to learn more about this new Billingtonite religion!

Among the many great resources that I have found that answer this issue one of my favorites is from John Martignoni on his 2-Minute Apologetics

Why do Catholics confess their sins to a priest, rather than going directly to God?

Well, the quick answer is because that’s the way God wants us to do it. In James 5:16, God, through Sacred Scripture, commands us to “confess our sins to one another.” Notice, Scripture does not say confess your sins straight to God and only to God…it says confess your sins to one another.

In Matthew, chapter 9, verse 6, Jesus tells us that He was given authority on earth to forgive sins. And then Scripture proceeds to tell us, in verse 8, that this authority was given to “men”…plural.

In John 20, verses 21-23, what is the 1st thing Jesus says to the gathered disciples on the night of His resurrection? “Jesus said to them, ‘Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I send you.’” How did the Father send Jesus? Well, we just saw in Mt 9 that the Father sent Jesus with the authority on earth to forgive sins. Now, Jesus sends out His disciples as the Father has sent Him…so, what authority must Jesus be sending His disciples out with? The authority on earth to forgive sins. And, just in case they didn’t get it, verses 22-23 say this, “And when He had said this, He breathed on them, and said to them, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.’”

Why would Jesus give the Apostles the power to forgive or to retain sins if He wasn’t expecting folks to confess their sins to them? And how could they forgive or retain sins if no one was confessing their sins to them?

The Bible tells us to confess our sins to one another. It also tells us that God gave men the authority on Earth to forgive sins. Jesus sends out His disciples with the authority on earth to forgive sins. When Catholics confess our sins to a priest, we are simply following the plan laid down by Jesus Christ. He forgives sins through the priest…it is God’s power, but He exercises that power through the ministry of the priest.

What strikes me is that we hear endless bleating about not having to confess to a priest and about Jesus being our one Mediator - then, in the same breath, those same folks appear to side-step Jesus and go directly to God. :shrug:

joebillington 1:

My question exactly. I have been given verses to read, others opinion and beliefs and can understand where they are coming from. However, I can not get an answer as to if Catholics believe that only Catholics get into heaven because they confess to a Priest and other religions do not find that necessary. Other religions state only Christ can forgive sins and he will have you enter into heaven if you truly confess and repent. I think they call that Free Grace, where "who believes in me will be forgiven and enter into the Kingdom. Apostles and/or Disciples were followers and teachers. They can forgive sins by the “authority” of Christ in ways of teachings not of hearing single confessions. This is from Calvin’s Commentary on the Bible. I may be wrong, but I find peace in this.

Admittedly the more I read/study the more confusing. I just do not believe that if a person is wholeheartedly sorry for their sins and truly repent becoming a good person, helping others, having no jealously or anger or hatred you are not allowed into heaven because the Catholics read into the Bible you have to talk to a Priest and get forgiveness. One person told me ONLY by talking to a Priest will you achieve humility and a true sense of forgiveness. Maybe for some people, but not for all. Priesthood should be there for those people just as other faiths have the Ministers or Reverends to help those that need that person to person contact.

The question remains: Do Catholics believe that only Catholics get into heaven because THEY confess to a Priest?

James does not make it clear that we are to confess to a Catholic Priest nor does he even make it clear who to confess to. Some say we are to confess to the one we have sinned against. Confessing to some person to whom we have not sinned and expecting forgiveness doesn’t make sense. Others will state we need to confess to God for he can only forgive sins since all sins are really against HIM.

I have read that the Apostils were granted the “power” to forgive sins, but not to hear them individually but to forgive sins through their teachings.

As I keep reading and researching it appears that any faith can interpret a lot of the Bible to their own faiths beliefs. Hence, many different faiths all of which are Christianity. As John states Jesus said “those who believe in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live”.

QUOTE=ahs;11539177]x2 on all of the above answers.

Catholics DO speak directly to God. The difference is that Cathoilcs utilize the ordinary means by which Christ chose to forgive us…confession to a Priest (Mt 9:2-8, Jn 20:22-23, 2Cor 5:17-20, James 5:13-16, Mt 18:18, cf. 1Jn 5:16).

As far as what YOU find based on what YOU believe to be a requirement because YOU don’t see it in Scripture: by what authortity do you presume to tell anyone how he should or should not confess his/her sins? Is there anything in Scripture that tells us NOT to confess our sins to one another? Or to NOT go to a Priest? Is there any verse in Scripture that says we should ONLY go straigh to God to confess our sins? (Chapters and verse please.)

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