I agree with you :) Our theology is different but on this we do agree. One of the biggest appeals Catholicism had for me was that it drew me closer to Christ.
I do not need an intermediary between Him and me.
I understand that some may see intermediaries (i.e. confession to God of my sins via a priest) as obstacles. For me it's a blessing. It puts a human face on the compassion and forgiveness of Christ. It also helps to get an objective assessment from someone duty-bound to minister the mercy of Christ to me. That might mean assuring me that I haven't trespassed as badly as I think I have. Or it might mean I'm trivializing something I shouldn't. I don't find these obstacles. I find them blessings that make me appreciate God's goodness, mercy, and also his justice in ways that I am too blind to grasp on my own.
That said, I don't disrespect my nonCatholic brethren who see things differently. Peace be with you.
“I find them blessings that make me appreciate God’s goodness, mercy, and also his justice in ways that I am too blind to grasp on my own.”
Thank you for your kind comments. I do understand what you are saying. My wife comes from a family of Catholics, and she has a first cousin who is a Priest. He is well known to me and we are good friends. His mother and my wife’s mother were ‘missionaries’ for Jesus and for the Gospel, sharing it wide and far. Both understood that God was much bigger than the ‘Church’.
I had opportunity to speak in a Catholic Church at my father-in-law’s funeral. I shared from my heart, and shared for the whole family regarding his life and his last days on this earth (he lived with us for the last 8 or 10 months of his life). It was an opportunity for me to share the Gospel through his life.
I lived in Northern Ireland for three years in the late ‘70’s (78 - 81) and there, when travelling in the Republic of Ireland I would often choose a Catholic Church to attend for Sunday services. One evening I had a Church of Ireland priest and a Roman Catholic priest in my home for dinner. It was a blessed evening. I was there when John-Paul II made his first visit to Ireland.
Again, I appreciate your response, and I understand. I hope you also understand me and what I wrote.
In James 5:16, we are told "Therefore, make it your habit to confess your sins to one another and to pray for one another, so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.". I don't think it is saying ONLY do so with a priest - since there is NO mention of one - but that the benefit you spoke of - that of coming clean and getting counseling - is available to all Christians through their ministers as well as one another. Though I don't think a pastor has any power to forgive sins as a stand-in for God (only God can forgive sins), we can go directly to the throne of grace through Christ and know that God is faithful to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. The added benefit of being honest with our faith family about our failings is the accountability it gives us with each other and the privilege to pray for one another for spiritual and physical healing makes us more closely connected and answerable for our brothers and sisters in the Lord. This is something our Heavenly Father desires for us to have as a blessing and channel for growth. We are ALL ministers to each other.