Skip to comments.Why do I have to confess my sins to a priest?
Posted on 03/27/2009 1:53:10 PM PDT by NYer
Of all the objections to the sacrament of reconciliation, the one most often voiced, particularly by Protestants, and sometimes by Catholics is: “I don’t need to go to confession to a priest! The priest is just another human being! All that I need to do is to confess my sins directly to God, and that is enough!”
This objection is flawed on a number of counts:
• Jesus commissioned forgiveness through his apostles. Jesus asked believers to approach God for forgiveness through the apostles who were commissioned to act as his agents.
Jesus told Peter, “Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven” (Matthew 16:19).
After the resurrection, Jesus breathed on his disciples and said, “Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them and whose sins you retain are retained” (John 20:22-23). Priests alone carry out this apostolic role (Canon 965; CCC 1461 and 1462).
This is consistent with our Jewish heritage. When it came to atonement for sins in the Jewish tradition, God instructed Moses to have the people bring a holocaust to the temple, usually an unblemished bullock or lamb.
The sinner was to lay his hands on the head of the animal, symbolically transferring his sins to the animal, and then to slaughter it, to have the animal die in place of the sinner.
The sinner then handed the animal to the priest who offered it on the altar (Leviticus 1:1-5). The priest served as a go-between for the sinner to mediate God’s pardon and peace.
• Catholic sacraments are mediated. The sacraments celebrate the most profound moments of our lives: birth (baptism), the transition to adulthood (confirmation), lifetime commitment (marriage and holy orders), and the end of life (anointing).
Two other sacraments strengthen us for the journey through life: Eucharist, our spiritual sustenance; and penance, the forgiveness of sins.
We need to be fed at least weekly, and because we sin so often, we need to be forgiven regularly. The sacraments are not self-administered. Rather, the priest is the mediator, the linkage or conduit between God and the people, a rich channel of God’s grace.
• A personal encounter with Christ. The priest is not just “another human being,” but one who acts in persona Christi, in the person of Christ. With faith, we believe that when the penitent speaks to the priest, the penitent speaks to Christ, and when the priest speaks, the priest speaks on behalf of Christ. When the priest says, “I absolve you,” it is Christ who absolves (Mark 2:10).
• A community representative. Our sins offend not only God, but the community as well. It is not only impractical to admit our sins to others, but often also ill-advised, because of scandal or grave consequences. When we admit our sins to a priest, we reconcile with the community, and the priest, on behalf of those we have offended, says, “You are forgiven.”
• The personal touch. When we confess our sins to a priest, we are able to receive individualized counsel — advice that fits our unique circumstances — and we can be given a penance that is “medicinal,” specifically tailored to help us in the spiritual healing process (Canon 981).
Does a Catholic believe the Blood of Christ only gets you one foot in after you get called home?
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Obama Says A Baby Is A Punishment
The Precious Blood makes it possible. Christ died to open the gates of Heaven. It's up to us to get through them and that's done partially through confessing sins and doing penance - and that includes time in Purgatory, if necessary.
I’m afraid I’d get into the booth and the priest would ask me for a date. :-)
Ask Martin Luther.
You don't believe in Hell, either?
It is true that the works are done in this life; they form the basis of our judgement “in the day of the Lord”, that is after we die (Compare Rm 2:6, Mt 25:31-46). Our works are not necessarily “made manifest” other than after we die. Further, following the trial of fire man is said to be saved, that means eternal salvation in the afterlife.
Yours is a very innatural reading of the passage; perhaps even “ridiculous”.
Someone MAKES them do so?
Are they held at gunpoint?
I think they allow authority where none should be.
Obedience. Next hard question?
You don't believe in Hell, either?
Why would you say that?
The Blood of Christ forgives my sin, by faith in Him.
Christ shed his blood for all people, but not all people believe it.
God's a gentleman, he doesn't put a gun to your head and make you have faith in him.
His conscience was getting to him. He felt the need to confess, something he had not done since his Confirmation.
Since he didn't know who the soft touches were among the parish priests he relied on his good friends (me and my brother, good Irish Catholics both) to steer him toward the right confessional. Big mistake.
We had just acquired a priest who was the strictest old-world Mick for a couple of hundred miles in any direction and whose naturally sour temperment was worsened by almost daily attacks of colitis....it was like sending a lamb to the slaughter.
We all went to church to give Gino our support. The whole crew was there, including the Protestant and Jewish guys. Gino got on line, sweating bullets. We gave him our deepest heart-felt assurances that the priest would probably just chuckle, ask for a couple of details and let him off with a half dozen Hail Marys.
Gino parted the curtain and went in. Sixty seconds later the high-pitched "YOU DID WHAT!!!" shook the church to its timbers.
Gino erupted out of the confessional like out of a cannon, sprinted up the aisle and out the door...never to return.
He ended up marrying the other Fabiani sister.
That's because I read the entire chapter for the underlining theme and meaning with the Greek to get the full understanding.
But to each his own
Oh yes, your are an evil bastard.
But I FIRMLY believe that GOD has a sense of humor, that's why he keeps us Irish Catholics around.
HE loves the laughs.
I'm afraid that your feeble attempt at wit and humor fell far short on both counts. It only served to prove that horses asses out number horses.
A few years ago a particular actor who was trying to start a career as a director was committed to shooting the film. He had directed two previous films. A Canadian production company commited to financing the shoot outside Toronto.
There was one hitch. The actor had shot six episodes of a new, edgy series for TV. If the series took off then the actor/director was committed to nineteen more episodes. Nobody thought that America would embrace the show.
The wife and I watched the first episode with candles lit in petition that it would truly suck.
By the second commercial we were hooked, and so was America. Damn Jack Bauer.
Story telling is THE most human traits there is.
I believe it happened right after fire was discovered, I mean what else do you do at a campfire but BS.
I was not required to confess my sins to a priest in order to be confirmed, and at no time since I have been a full-fledged member of the Church has our priest gotten up and stated that we are required to do this. He does these communal penance services during Advent and Lent, and gives anyone who comes to this service a General Absolution. This is canonically valid according to him. I would be interested to hear what goes on in other parishes and dioceses.
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