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Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Why do Catholics have to confess their sins to a priest?

“Love the Lord with all your heart, and with all your soul,
and with all your MIND”--Matt 22:37


Question:
  Why do Catholics have to confess their sins to a priest?  Can't you go directly to God?
Short answer:  because this is the ordinary way that God has set up the forgiveness of our 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." source

In Scripture the apostles (and therefore their successors, our bishops and priests) are given authority to bind and loose. The power to bind and loose includes administering and eliminating the temporal penalties due to sin. (The Jews understood this reference to "binding and loosing" as it was part of their rabbinic tradition.) Truly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.--Matt 18:18
And in the Gospel of John, Jesus breathes on his apostles and gives them this power to forgive sins.  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.-John 20:22. And how would they know a person's sins?  Because they were confessed to them!  I don't understand how non-Catholic Christians interpret this verse in John without seeing the Sacrament of Confession. 

Another reason to confess before a priest:  it demonstrates that our sin is not just a personal breach between God and myself, but also a sin against the Body of Christ.
"Sin is before all else an offense against God, a rupture of communion with him. At the same time it damages communion with the Church. For this reason conversion entails both God's forgiveness and reconciliation with the Church, which are expressed and accomplished liturgically by the sacrament of Penance and Reconciliation."-1440 Catechism of the Catholic Church

Finally, confessing before a priest gives us a chance to practice humility, and to experience the human need to receive CONCRETE EVIDENCE of a reality (i.e. hearing the confessor say, "I absolve you from your sins".  Psychologically, what could be better for our mental health than hearing those 6 words affirming what we may feel in our hearts and know in our heads!)

"Is the Catholic who confesses his sins to a priest any better off than the non-Catholic who confesses directly to God? Yes. First, he seeks forgiveness the way Christ intended. Second, by confessing to a priest, the Catholic learns a lesson in humility, which is avoided when one confesses only through private prayer. Third, the Catholic receives sacramental graces the non-Catholic doesn’t get; through the sacrament of penance sins are forgiven and graces are obtained. Fourth, the Catholic is assured that his sins are forgiven; he does not have to rely on a subjective "feeling." Lastly, the Catholic can also obtain sound advice on avoiding sin in the future.

During his lifetime Christ sent out his followers to do his work. Just before he left this world, he gave the apostles special authority, commissioning them to make God’s forgiveness present to all people, and the whole Christian world accepted this, until just a few centuries ago. If there is an "invention" here, it is not the sacrament of penance, but the notion that the sacramental forgiveness of sins is not to be found in the Bible or in early Christian history." source

Note:  Catholics are obligated to confess only mortal (serious) sins.
"Without being strictly necessary, confession of everyday faults (venial sins) is nevertheless strongly recommended by the Church. Indeed the regular confession of our venial sins helps us form our conscience, fight against evil tendencies, let ourselves be healed by Christ and progress in the life of the Spirit. By receiving more frequently through this sacrament the gift of the Father's mercy, we are spurred to be merciful as he is merciful" 1458 Catechism)

"According to the Church's command, "after having attained the age of discretion, each of the faithful is bound by an obligation faithfully to confess serious sins at least once a year." Anyone who is aware of having committed a mortal sin must not receive Holy Communion, even if he experiences deep contrition, without having first received sacramental absolution, unless he has a grave reason for receiving Communion and there is no possibility of going to confession." 1457 Catechism


Confession:  The "Oil Change for the Soul"


Examination of Conscience

 

"Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect" - 1 Peter 3:15

37 comments:

  1. The Bible says that only a man without sin can forgive sin All humans are born in sin, ( Adamic Sin) So a priest can't do it yet people go to him to forgive their sins, only Jesus and his Father, Jehovah can do that.

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    1. Please offer the Bible verse that says "that only a man without sin can forgive sin."

      That, Anonymous, is a man-made tradition that you have succumbed to. You heard a fallible pastor say it, who heard another fallible man say it...but no one read "only a man without sin can forgive sin" in a single page of the Bible.

      If it were true that only sinless people can forgive sins, why would Jesus command us to "forgive us our sins AS WE FORGIVE OTHERS"??

      So, yes, we, sinful people, are commanded to forgive sins.

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    2. Here are a few:

      (Ephesians 1:7) In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God's grace

      (Colossians 1:13-14) For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.

      Both of these verses tell us that Jesus and His blood grant us forgiveness (from Him) of our sins. It does not say anywhere in the Bible that we (humans) have the power to wash away sin.

      (1 John 1:9) If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.

      Again, it is Jesus who will forgive us our sins and purify us. We forgive others because we seek peace and forgiveness from the Lord.

      As it is written, "If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you. But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins." (Matthew 6:14-15)

      Your inference to John 20:23 is missing the bigger picture. Two verses before, Jesus tells them "Again Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” And with that he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit." Jesus is sending us to proclaim His word, and that is to forgive others as well. We are obligated to tell people the only way to be forgiven is through faith.

      The urgency of this is demonstrated when Jesus says: "I told you that you would die in your sins; if you do not believe that I am he, you will indeed die in your sins.” (John 8:24)

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    3. Thanks for your comments.

      Regarding this one: "Both of these verses tell us that Jesus and His blood grant us forgiveness (from Him) of our sins. It does not say anywhere in the Bible that we (humans) have the power to wash away sin"...

      are you of the position that if the Bible is silent on an issue we are to interpret this as it is forbidden?

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    4. No, I am saying we can not believe that the Bible says something that it does not.

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    5. That's fair.

      But I don't think that the Catholic Church has ever proclaimed something that the Bible says that it actually does not.

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    6. Your first point highlighted in yellow states, "He forgives sins through the priest...it is God's power, but He exercises that power through the ministry of the priest."

      This is incorrect according to His word and we have established that with the support of several verses in my previous comment. True forgiveness is found in Jesus and Jesus alone. Without believing that Jesus is who he claimed to be, we will die in our sins. [John 8:24]

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    7. Amen! Jesus is who our sins are forgiven through.

      But His forgiveness is given through His priests.

      There is nothing in the Bible that says that only sinless people can forgive sins.

      If this were true, you would never be able to forgive your children for any sins they may commit against you. Or forgive your spouse. Or your friends.

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    8. Regarding your comment here: "Your inference to John 20:23 is missing the bigger picture. Two verses before, Jesus tells them "Again Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” And with that he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit." Jesus is sending us to proclaim His word, and that is to forgive others as well. We are obligated to tell people the only way to be forgiven is through faith."

      I give this a hearty amen!

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    9. I am still hoping you will provide the verse that says that only a sinless person can forgive sins.

      Otherwise, friend, this comment: "The Bible says that only a man without sin can forgive sin" is a man-made tradition that you've been duped into believing.

      Also, could you offer the verse that says this: "We forgive others because we seek peace and forgiveness from the Lord."?
      Thanks.

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    10. Where in God's word does He tell us that forgiveness is given through priests?

      1. (In response to: a man without sin is the only one who can offer the forgiveness of sin) Let's get something straight. Forgiveness, which offers us eternal life is found in Jesus. It is not found or granted by any person on this planet. As Ephesians 1:7 (and numerous other verses) say: "In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God's grace"

      2. (In response to: forgiving because we seek forgiveness as well) Mark 11:25 says "But when you are praying, first forgive anyone you are holding a grudge against, so that your Father in heaven will forgive your sins, too."

      3. (In response to: never being able to forgive those who sin against us) We forgive our children, friends, spouse- everyone- because Jesus tells us to. We strive to be like Jesus. Ephesians 4:32 states "Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you."

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    11. Regarding your question: Where in God's word does He tell us that forgiveness is given through priests?

      You have been duped into a man-made tradition that believes that everything we believe must be found in the Bible.

      That is something that is NEVER stated in the Bible, and, as such, is a man-made tradition. You heard a man say it, who heard another man say it, who heard another man say it...but no one ever read, "Everything we believe about God can only be found in the Bible" in a single page of Scripture.

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    12. You wrote: "Let's get something straight. Forgiveness, which offers us eternal life is found in Jesus. It is not found or granted by any person on this planet. As Ephesians 1:7 (and numerous other verses) say: "In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God's grace"

      I respond: AMEN!

      Just like salvation is only found through Jesus.

      And yet we see that the great St. Paul declares that HE (Paul) saves. (If, by any means, I may provoke to emulation them who are my flesh, and may save some of them.—Romans 11:14)

      How can this be? How can a man claim that he saves some people?

      Because we know that when St. Paul states that HE saves, we know that it is only through his participation in the Salvific Lord Jesus Christ.

      Similarly, when a priest forgives, we know that this is only through his participation in the Forgiveness of our Lord Jesus Christ.


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    13. And please note: there still has been no verse offered that proclaims that only a sinless man can forgive sins.

      That is a man-made tradition.

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    14. You wrote: 2. (In response to: forgiving because we seek forgiveness as well) Mark 11:25 says "But when you are praying, first forgive anyone you are holding a grudge against, so that your Father in heaven will forgive your sins, too."

      I respond: AMEN!

      This clearly shows that sinful people MAY forgive sins.

      You wrote: "We forgive our children, friends, spouse- everyone- because Jesus tells us to. We strive to be like Jesus. Ephesians 4:32 states "Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you."

      I respond: this is very Catholic!!

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    15. You keep saying "And please note: there still has been no verse offered that proclaims that only a sinless man can forgive sins.

      That is a man-made tradition."

      but I do firmly believe that Jesus was sinless. As 2 Corinthians 5:21 says "For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ."

      Yes. Sinful people can forgive. We forgive as Jesus did because He is the one we want to be like. But our forgiveness does not bring eternal life to others.

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    16. You still have not answered my question. Where can we find truth in your statement that forgiveness is given through priests?

      The Bible is all we need.

      2 Timothy 3:16-17 tells us "All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work."

      In and of itself, this verse tells us that God's word is enough. It is the end-all.

      Regardless, many have come forth to make false statements that God has spoken to them and through them. Their goal is to lead true believers astray. God's word is the standard for discerning between truth and lie.

      Paul recognized this in the early church, stating: "For if someone comes to you and preaches a Jesus other than the Jesus we preached, or if you receive a different spirit from the Spirit you received, or a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it easily enough." (2 Corinthians 11:4)

      In Galations 1:9, he says again: "As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let them be under God’s curse!"

      Additional reference: 2 Peter 1:16-21

      Friend, Paul does not declare that He saves. In Romans 1:16 he admits that: "For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile."

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    17. Thanks for your comments, Tom.

      To answer your question: "Where can we find truth in your statement that forgiveness is given through priests?"

      We find it in Scripture, interpreted through the lens of the faith that gave us these Scriptures: the Catholic Church.

      For the Scripture verses, please see the article in my blog above.

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    18. Regarding your comment that the Bible is all we need--that, Tom is a man-made tradition.

      While all Scripture is inspired by God (Amen!) and useful for teaching, rebuking, training and righteousness (Amen!)...NOWHERE does the Bible state that Scripture is ALL you need.

      You simply believe that because you heard your (fallible) pastor preach it, but no one ever read "the Bible is all you need!" in a single page of Scripture.

      Now, everything that is in the Bible is indeed, inspired by God...but that does not assume that the Bible is all you need.

      Take this analogy: All people who live in my house are my family.
      This is a true statement.

      But that doesn't mean that my family is contained only in my house.

      I happen to have a daughter who is away in college. She, too, is family.

      So to presume that my family is ONLY that which lives in my house is to err.

      But that does not mean that this is false: all the people who live in my house are my family.

      All Scripture IS inspired by God. Scripture is the Word of God. But that doesn't mean that nothing else is.

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    19. Regarding your comment here: "Regardless, many have come forth to make false statements that God has spoken to them and through them. Their goal is to lead true believers astray"

      My response: Sadly, this is true.

      Regarding your comment here: "God's word is the standard for discerning between truth and lie."

      My response: Amen!

      But God's Word is not ONLY the written word. That is something the written word NEVER declares, and as such, it is a man made tradition you've been led astray by, Tom.

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    20. Regarding your comment here: "Friend, Paul does not declare that He saves. In Romans 1:16 he admits that: "For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile."

      My response: please re-read the verse I cited. St. Paul does indeed say that HE might save some people: "If, by any means, I may provoke to emulation them who are my flesh, and may save some of them.—Romans 11:14

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    21. Anonymous, what do you think about Matthew 9:1-8 "1* And getting into a boat he crossed over and came to his own city. 2* And behold, they brought to him a paralytic, lying on his bed; and when Jesus saw their faith he said to the paralytic, "Take heart, my son; your sins are forgiven." 3 And behold, some of the scribes said to themselves, "This man is blaspheming." 4 But Jesus, knowing * their thoughts, said, "Why do you think evil in your hearts? 5 For which is easier, to say, 'Your sins are forgiven,' or to say, 'Rise and walk? 6 But that you may know that the Son of man has authority on earth to forgive sins"--he then said to the paralytic--"Rise, take up your bed and go home." 7 And he rose and went home. 8 When the crowds saw it, they were afraid, and they glorified God, who had given such authority to men." (RSV-CE)?

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    22. Thanks for your comment, Bigg. That is, indeed, a great verse that supports the Church's teaching on the Sacrament of Reconciliation!

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  2. If Christ was without sin, why does he say forgive US our sins.

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    1. Because he was answering the question, "Lord, teach us to pray?" Us.

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  3. """You have been duped into a man-made tradition that believes that everything we believe must be found in the Bible."""

    So totally through a medium/mediator we reach god .No wonder this is a pagan belief and Hindu belief that the catholic church follows .Bible says there should not be a mediator.If i cannot pray to Jesus Christ for forgiveness rather i not respect him ,as if i beg to my mom to get something from father and in some cases other way around .but in the case of our lord jesus no one loved as that much and we are all too close to him to be forgiven ......I will take from here 8 people in the bible asked for forgiveness [Not through anybody else but to the god Almighty directly] who knows all this priest in the secret is great sinners or not ,in the old testment if a priest of higher order did any sin he will die and so at-least we can trust in that way ...think about a situation a priest sinning [many real time examples ] and the believers going to him and asking to convey jesus to be forgiven ,funny thing is that even he as a human being is not having any connection with the god ..

    Letz make it clear that the one who is holy in all sense ,letz pray to him direclty and on a reply on this i will start commenting from the bible ....

    I have seen a funny example above a child been forgiven by father ...So if a child rape a girl most likely chance of the human father is to forgive and for god to forgive he need to ask god and his father's will not be counted ....Who died for us int he cross to him we need to pray and ask ..No mediator

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    1. Thanks for your comments.

      Regarding your comment, "So totally through a medium/mediator we reach god ."

      My response: YES. Jesus is the mediator through which "we reach God."

      And Jesus came to us and established a Church, His Body, to be his representative on earth.

      You wrote, "Bible says there should not be a mediator."

      My response: That's not what the Bible says. The Bible rather clearly says that we have a Mediator. And He is Jesus.

      And that we should all pray for each other. St. Paul commands it!

      You wrote, "If i cannot pray to Jesus Christ for forgiveness..."

      My response: I think you are operating under the misapprehension that Catholics believe that cannot pray to Jesus for forgiveness.

      This is incorrect. Catholic pray all the time to Jesus for forgiveness! It is part of the Mass!

      Priest: May almighty God have mercy on us, forgive us our sins, and bring us to everlasting life. (1 John 1:9)
      People: Amen (1 Chr 16:36)
      All: Lord have mercy. (Tb 8:4) Christ have mercy. (1 Tim 1:2) Lord have mercy.



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  4. DR FREDERICK PASWETTOctober 24, 2014 at 6:53 AM

    james 5:16 so then, CONFESS YOUR SINS( DO NOT HIDE ) TO ONE ANOTHER( NOT SECRETLY TO GOD ALONE WHO ALREADY KNOWS EVEN BEFORE YOU CONFESS, WHICH IS EASY TO DO FOR ANYONE) AND PRAY (INTERCEED, MEDIATE, APPROACH GOD FOR SOMEONE ELSE AS DO THE SAINTS OR MOTHER MARY) SO THAT YOU WILL BE HEALED( MANY PSYCHIATRIC DISORDERS HAVE BEEN ATTRIBUTED TO KEEPING WITHIN ONESELF THE MISDEEDS ONE HAS COMMITTED, A HUSBAND WHO CHEATS HIS WIFE SHOULD CONFESS TO HER AND IF REQUIRED TO CHILDREN ALSO IF HE WANTS TO TRULY TRULY REPENT BECAUSE HE HAS CAUSED HARM TO HIS FAMILY, IF HE GOES TO GOD ONLY GOD WILL JUSTLY AND STRONGLY ASK HIM TO DO THAT. SIMILARLY IF WE HAVE CHEATED SOMEONE WE NEED TO RETURN THE STOLEN AND ASK THEIR FORGIVENESS. WHEN WE SIN WE CAUSE WOUNDS TO THE CHURCH AS A WHOLE. SO WE ARE JUSTLY AND HONOURABLY ASKED TO CONFESS TO THE CHURCH THROUGH A PRIEST . ONLY THE SINCERE TRULY REPENTED ONE CAN CONFESS NOT THE COWARD, HYPOCRITE, WHO INTENDS TO KEEP SINNING AND KEEP ASKING FORGIVENESS THINGKING THAT WE ARE ALLOWED TO KEEP ON SINNING AS CHRIST ALREADY PAID FOR OUR SINS... ) TO CONFESS ONE'S SIN IS A GREAT THING...MANY PROTESTANTS FRIENDS IN MY PLACE , SHILLONG, MEGHALAYA HAVE DISCOVERED THIS FACT AND MANY HAVE EVEN TAKEN A STEP FURTHER BY OPENLY CONFESSING THEIR SINS LIKE THE FIRST CHRISTIANS IN ACTS OF APOSTLES AND DURING THE TIME FO JOHN THE BAPTIST....THOSE WHO DISAGREE ARE THOSE WHO DONT WANT TO FULLY OBEY THE BIBLE AND WHO WANT TO TAKE ONLY THOSE THINGS WHICH ARE CONVENIENT TO THEM AND REJECT THE HARDER PARTS, LIKE ALLOWING DIVORCE WHEN JESUS TOLD TOO PLAINLY THAT EVEN THE MOST STUPID AND INSANE FELLOW WILL HAVE UNDERSTOOD.....

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    1. Thanks for your reply, Frederick.

      I do want to give the caveat: it is NOT CATHOLIC TEACHING that a person who commits adultery must confess to the injured party and possibly the children as well.

      That may cause further harm to the marriage.

      However, it is absolutely Catholic teaching that adultery must be confessed in the confessional.

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  5. DR FREDERICK PASWETTOctober 24, 2014 at 7:51 AM

    I agree fully .... but that implies indirectly confessing to the wife as she is part of the church and the priest represents the church.....
    whatever the reason is, but confession does bring healing, happiness in ones soul...its a more noble thing to do than secretly sinning and secretly confessing....its an absolute command of Christ who is the perfect psychiatrist....its fully biblical...its been taught and practised since time immemorial , during the earliest Christians......writings can be authenticated.....it was removed only and only with the NEW AGE TEACHINGS of Protestantism just like divorce, contraception, same sex marriage( of the church of England, the Presbyterian church of USA etc in recent years),symbolic presence of Jesus in the Lord's Supper which replaced the original Biblical Traditional Teachings as it is written" 2 Timothy 4:3 (1611 King James Bible)

    Viewing the 1611 King James Version. Click to switch to standard King James Version of 2 Timothy 4:3


    For the time wil come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but after their owne lusts shall they heape to themselues teachers, hauing itching eares:'
    This verse talks about how the time would come when people did not want to hear the word of truth found in the Bible. We can see that clearly today. They choose to listen to those who tell them what they want to hear to suit their desires.
    1 Timothy 1:10
    for the sexually immoral, for those practicing homosexuality, for slave traders and liars and perjurers--and for whatever else is contrary to the sound doctrine

    2 Timothy 1:13
    What you heard from me, keep as the pattern of sound teaching, with faith and love in Christ Jesus.

    Jude 1:18
    They said to you, "In the last times there will be scoffers who will follow their own ungodly desires."



    So its no surprise for us at the innumerable denominations which come out everyday to mislead and teach according to what suits them...Many make a great living and earning by misusing teachings about tithing... roaming in fancy cars and preaching only about health, wealth and prosperity and neglecting the cross...

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    1. No, Frederick. Sometimes confessing to one's wife only serves to relieve the guilt of the adulterer. It may be better for the adulterer, after confessing his sins to the priest, to keep his betrayal a secret from his wife.

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  6. DR FREDERICK PASWETTOctober 24, 2014 at 8:13 AM

    Jesus said that the son of man has the power to forgive sins on earth to the hypocrite Pharisees.....
    Son of man with reference to Jesus means reference to the humanity of Jesus not His divine nature though He is God indeed...
    Jesus forgave sins as a man on earth not as God....and He knew it was necessary that the same be transferred to the future generation through the apostles...how can He begin the work of forgiving sins on earth as a son of man and not think it necessary to make the same benefit available to us? think..think..think and read the bible properly with Gods help not to suit your fetish desires...Jesus is perfect planner...whatever He did , He did with a reason and a plan not just according to his whims and fancies...else I might be able to say " I wish I were there in those times so I caould confess to Jesus directly, personally in reality.....

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  7. Anonymous and other reformist of this thread.Duped is the misled followers of Martin Luther (man) and heretic. As always you selectively and conveniently pull bits and pieces from the Bible. How can you conveniently ignore the fact that our Lord Jesus Christ commands in Mathew 18:18 and in John 20:22-23? May the Lord bless you with the light of truth.

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  8. I am a fan of this website and I am a devout Catholic, but that being said, I do take some issue with this answer. Now, I fully endorse the Sacrament of Reconciliation. The priests are mediators between man and God. But at the same time, the way this question was answered bothers me. The question was why do Catholics *have to* confess to a priest. The answer you gave seems to imply that Catholics are forbidden from confessing directly to God. I don't feel obliged to believe that that is how God works. Imagine if you disobeyed your father in a way that caused a rift between you. I could never agree that I would need a third party, or a mediator in order to pass along my apology to my father. This ties in to what you said about how confessing to a priest teaches humility. If I understand you correctly, your logic is that we show humility by doing so because when we ask another to pray for us, we show that we are not worthy of asking for God's graces ourselves, similar to when the centurion told Christ that he was unworthy that He should enter under his roof. However, think about the analogy of apologizing to your father as I suggested before. Which one shows the greater humility: asking your mother or sibling to pass along your apology, or swallowing your pride, going straight to your father and saying to him, "I know I disobeyed you, and I know it was wrong. I am not worthy of your forgiveness, but I am sorry nonetheless"? I would answer that both forms show humility, but in different forms. The first shows the kind of humility we see in confession to a priest, that we are unworthy that God should enter under our roof, and we ask that someone pray for us on our behalf. The second form, confessing directly to God shows a different form of humility, the form we saw in the Penitent Thief. Rather than asking another to pray for him, the Penitent thief confessed directly to Jesus on the cross, asking him, "Remember me Lord, when you come into Your Kingdom." Remember, Jesus said in response to this direct confession, "This day, you will be with Me in Paradise." So, yes, the Sacrament of Reconciliation is valid. I do believe in confessing to a priest, but I do not and cannot believe that we as Catholics are forbidden from confessing directly to God. And note that I am not saying that we should choose one or the other, but we should not be excluded from direct dialogue with God. If we were, why even bother with reconciliatory prayers after the confession?

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    1. Thanks for your comments, Anonymous.

      You have read into my comment something that wasn't there. There is nothing which states we are forbidden from going before God directly to confess our sins.

      We can be forgiven in this way, without the benefit of the Sacrament, AS LONG AS WE HAVE PERFECT CONTRITION.

      The problem is, however, that it really, really, hard to have perfect contrition---that means, we are sorry for the sin for one reason only--because it offends Him. Not because we are afraid of the consequences. Not because we feel guilty. Not because we know we're not supposed to sin.

      So that's why we must confess our sins to a priest--because, unless we have perfect contrition, we can't be forgiven.

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    2. Thank you very much for your reply. I did some more research into perfect contrition and I'm questioning why that's not the main reason to go to confession in the first place. That is the reason I go to confession. Again, using the human father comparison, I know what it feels like to do something to hurt or offend my father and I know the rift it can cause. It sucks. It really, really sucks. I get the same feeling when the full gravity of my sin sinks in and I fully understand how I've hurt God. And I don't want there to be that rift between God and me. I think as a Church we should be encouraging people to try to reach perfect contrition and that it should be the reason for confessing sins in the first place. God is our Father, more than our human fathers. Anyway, thank you for your clarification. God bless.

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    3. Reasons to go to confession are many, and the Church does not micro-manage this, Anonymous. Perfect contrition may be the primary reason you go, but that's not necessarily why someone else may go.

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