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Good post. Thank you.
“”But only God can forgive sins!” Well, that was the cry of the Pharisees when they saw Jesus forgive a man. But if you read Matthew’s gospel, you find out that Jesus did not forgive the sins in his divine capacity as God. He stated that the “Son of man” has authority on earth to forgive sins. And in Matthew 9:8, the crowd glorified God because, as the gospel-writer himself tells us, God had given such authority to men.
So men are instruments God uses to channel his own forgiveness. Jesus meant exactly what he said. His ministers have the power to forgive and retain sins, and my Protestant church was simply out of synch with the Bible on this point. Again, it made void the word of God by its human tradition of pretending this sacrament does not exist. In doing so, it warped the spiritual development of countless individuals.””
Interesting defense. So far as I know, the notion that the priest actually forgives sins in confession (as opposed to acting as a witness, etc with God doing the forgiving) is peculiar to the Latin Church. I don’t believe any of the particular churches in communion with Rome ascribe to it and I know Orthodoxy does not and never did. Do you know when this notion originally arose?