Why must we be forgiven by a priest?


I am a convert and I was just thinking, God has mercy on protestants and I believe they are forgiven of their sins by God, so why cant we go straight to God? In the early Church, first century no Christians went to confession. They confessed their sins before God and they were forgiven, and the Jews never confessed their sins to another man before Christ came. So why must we? I mean if I commit a sin, weather it me mortal or venial why cant I seek pardon from God himself?



You can. But, why are you a convert?

Did you go through RCIA?

Did they skip this part?:eek:


See catholic.com/library/Forgiveness_of_Sins.asp for starters.


That’s not true at all. Look at this link.



Hi Drew and Welcome

Item 1 Catholic confess to God, the Priest is working as Christ Persona.

Item 2 Why to Protestant confess at all, since God already knew about the sin? My guess is it is because scripture tells them to. Yet they ignore tradition (even theirs) and rewrite the rules to increase attendance. If you are looking at ways to ignore religious requirements, then the Protestant religions will always be more attractive.

Item 3 To whom was John the Baptist talking to? There were no Christians so who was being told to repent? I think it was Jews. And before John the Baptist what were those sin offers? The burnt offering placed on the altar.

Item 4 Early confessions were not in a little room with a Priest. They were confessed in the Church before your neighbors. Personally if the little room is scary the public approach is horrifying.

Item 5 Why confess at all, as God already knows your sin and can forgive without being asked? God tells us to confess and repent not for his benefit but for our own.

Hope that helps


To me this is the bottom line in truly understanding Confession. Confessing to a priest IS confessing to Christ.


If I correctly recall the history of the sacrament this was how grave sins were forgiven in the early Church. Confessed in front of the whole congregation with a pretty stringent public penance to follow. Obviously the presiding priest would say the words of forgiveness and announce the penance.


Jews, publicly declared their sin by going to the priest with the appropriate sin offering.The priest knew what the different animals and offerings signified. It wasn’t confession as we have it but it was an obvious precursor.


Confession “Old Testament”

Leviticus 4

27 " 'If a member of the community sins unintentionally and does what is forbidden in any of the LORD’s commands, he is guilty. 28 When he is made aware of the sin he committed, **he must bring as his offering for the sin he committed **a female goat without defect. 29 He is to lay his hand on the head of the sin offering and slaughter it at the place of the burnt offering. 30 Then the priest is to take some of the blood with his finger and put it on the horns of the altar of burnt offering and pour out the rest of the blood at the base of the altar. 31 He shall remove all the fat, just as the fat is removed from the fellowship offering, and **the priest shall burn it on the altar **as an aroma pleasing to the LORD. In this way **the priest will make atonement for him, and he will be forgiven. **

32 " 'If he brings a lamb as his sin offering, he is to bring a female without defect. 33 He is to lay his hand on its head and slaughter it for a sin offering at the place where the burnt offering is slaughtered. 34 Then **the priest **shall take some of the blood of the sin offering with his finger and put it on the horns of the altar of burnt offering and pour out the rest of the blood at the base of the altar. 35 He shall remove all the fat, just as the fat is removed from the lamb of the fellowship offering, and the priest shall burn it on the altar on top of the offerings made to the LORD by fire. In this way the priest will make atonement for him for the sin he has committed, and he will be forgiven.

Confession in the New Testament
John 20:21-24

21Again Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” 22And with that he breathed on them and said, "Receive the Holy Spirit. 23If you forgive anyone his sins, they are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven."

James 5:14-16:

14Is any man sick among you? Let him bring in the priests of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord.

15And the prayer of faith shall save the sick man: and the Lord shall raise him up: and if he be in sins, they shall be forgiven him.

16Confess therefore your sins one to another: and pray one for another, that you may be saved. For the continual prayer of a just man availeth much.


Why don’t you want to confess your sins to a priest? This is, after all, the real issue, isn’t it?


Well you are seeking pardon form God Himself.
The priest is acting a His representative.

Look at it this way. Humans are capable of almost infinite self-deception.
Like the molester who believes that he “loves” his children, the cheating wife who thinks that her affair brings a little zip back to her marriage, or the terrorist who thinks he is doing God’s will. Left on our own we can convince ourselves of almost anything.

Speaking to another human being is at least a reality check. If there are objective standards it is difficult to hold yourself to them; you need help.

Even secular psychology relies on talk therapy and group sessions as a way of discussing and modifying behaviors. So this isn’t just a Catholic thing (although we did it first). :wink:


The Jews did confess their sins to a priest, and then he offered the proper sacrifice.

Protestants may or may not be forgiven their sins. God has promised to forgive us through the Sacraments–so we can be sure they are forgiven that way. Anything else is pretty much conjecture. We can hope they are forgiven, but we cannot presume it to be true.

As for seeking it from God Himself, that is what you are doing in the Sacrament of Confession. He wants you to seek forgiveness that way. You can’t demand God to forgive you in some other way that He has not willed us to do.

It takes much more humility to confess to another human being.


Why did God send His only Son to live, suffer, and die for us when He could have simply saved mankind by a simple act of His will? Answer, because God communicates with man by visible signs (sacramentum).

Isaiah 7:14 “Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign. Behold a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and his name shall be called Emmanuel.Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign. Behold a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and his name shall be called Emmanuel.”

So we have a God who stoops to take on our flesh - to become visible to our humanity. Through His visible form, Christ directed the Apostles to forgive (or not forgive) the sins of man.

John 20:23 Whose sins you shall forgive, they are forgiven them; and whose sins you shall retain, they are retained.

If God did not intend for this visible, human communication of His forgiveness through His representatives on earth, Jesus’ words to the Apostles are bewildering non sequitor at best. Since we know there is nothing in Scripture which does not have final salvation as its purpose, this directive of Christ cannot be simply brushed off as pertaining ONLY to the Apostles. With succession of office, and the transmission of the Holy Spirit between bishop and ordained priest, we know that priests, like the Apostles, have the power to forgive sins in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

Thus, it is God’s will that man confess his sins to the priests He has designated to “forgive” or “retain”. That’s an awesome delegation of authority, no? He didn’t delegate it as an optional instruction.


The reason we must confess to a priest derives from the fact that Christ became incarnate, proclaimed the Kingdom of God, and established the Church. The Church is the beginning of the Kingdom of God which will reach its fulfillment only at the end of time. The Church is not just a means to get to God or get to heaven that will cease to exist with the world. The Church is our participation in the life of the Trinity, a participation that will only be perfect in heaven. To understand a personal relationship with God which ignores the Church is incorrect, and contradicts Christ’s mission. It is not the case that we need to be reconciled to God and reconciled to the Church. Because of the reality of the Church Christ has instituted and revealed, those two things are one and the same. Christ entrusted the ministry of this reconciliation in the life of the Trinity to the Apostles and their successors.

Exactly. One reason it is good to go to confession is because our sins harm ourselves, our judgment and ability to do good and live virtuously. A priest can help us to recognize our weaknesses, occasions of sin, and bad or not-so-bad habits that influence your ability to resist temptation. Thus Christ continues to be with and lead his people in the agent of the priest.


Jesus instituted the sacraments and intended for them to be the ‘ordinary’ means by which we receive grace. This does not prohibit God from dispensing Grace in extraordinary ways.

But to make the statement, “I’m not going to confession, I’ll just trust that God will forgive me like he does protestants” is somewhat akin to a shipwreck survivor on a life raft refusing rescue by a stout ship with a competent captain because “lots of shipwreck victims have made it to shore on life rafts before.” This may be true, but lots drowned too.

In other words, don’t refuse the ordinary means God has provided for you to grow in holiness just because you are aware of the existence of extraordinary means!


It seems to me that , God knows when we sin but what he needs to know is that we are sorry. Assuming we eventually are sorry we need to tell God about it and ask for forgiveness. God of course will forgive us if we are sincere. That is why I think confession to a priest is optional. God knows our feelings and thoughts, the priest does not.


God has told us how to “tell him about it” and how he will forgive us, the Sacrament of Penance. See previous posts for Scriptural references.


Yeah, but it’s SO much easier to ask GOD, who we cannot see or directly talk to face-to-face, who doesn’t give us verbal “feedback”, isn’t it?

Same thing with general absolution. We can be “private” and anonymous with our sin.


See my post #6 and consider how Jesus had men articulate needs. Speaking it is for US…not Him.

In Mark chapter 10, Jesus told the blind man, “What do you want me to do for you?” and the man had to say it.


I do go to confession on a regular basis. I was just wondering why protestants dont go to confession. I mean are their sins forgiven when they go to God with their confession? In my opinion a merciful and loving God would forgive them also. So what happens to the sins of the protestants when they seek forgiveness from God?

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