Why Do Catholics Confess To Priests?

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“Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses”

[1 Timothy 6:12] 

Non-Catholics and Muslims condemn the Catholics for making confession to priests. They argue that confession should be made directly to God since only Him can forgive sins, so why a Catholic should confess to a priest? These people failed to realize that the Catholic Church is the owner of the Bible, thus Catholics know the Bible better than them. Why would we disclose our sins to God when He already knew our sins?

The confessions made to God as mentioned in the Old Testament was done by the leaders chosen by God. And it’s more on intercession or asking forgiveness from God for the confessors. The people came to the leaders and made confessions, after that, the leaders prayed to God for the forgiveness of the sins of the confessors. This is what the priests are doing in the Church, they receive confessions, and after that, they will plead to God for the forgiveness of the confessors. God won’t hear the pleading of a sinner, that’s why we need a Godly man to do the pleading for us sinners.

God commands us not to conceal our sins, thus telling of sins should not be made to God but to our Godly fellows. Confessing our sins to other people (Godly people) is part of our burden so as to earn forgiveness from above. If your wife has committed a marital unfaithfulness, and she just hide it from you because only God can forgive, is it okay for you? And if your playmate broke your nose accidentally, is it okay for you if he won’t ask forgiveness from you because you have no right to forgive? Evidently, each of one us is part of this forgiving and interceding circle. If I forgive your sin against me you will also be forgiven by God, likewise my sins against my other fellow will be forgiven by God as well. That’s why the apostle James commanded us to confess our sins to one another, and pray for one another (James 5:16). In this verse, the apostle James is talking in general. His commandment does not mean that we should tell our sins to anyone of us, but to the people who are Godly, like the priests who are leaders appointed by God Jesus. 

Confession of sins was already commanded by God and practiced by Israelites even before the arrival of the New Testament [Numbers 5:7]. John the baptist also administered confession [Mark 1:4-5]. Jesus gave authority to His disciples to forgive sins, He told them, “If you forgive anyone’s sins, they are forgiven. If you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven” (John 20:23). Take note that the apostles were appointed by Jesus to lead his church, so they were priests. Peter was the first head or pope of Christianity, and his priesthood along with other apostles were handed down to the Catholic priests of today. Therefore, if the priests won’t forgive you because you don’t want to confess your sins to them, your sins won’t be forgiven by God as well.

Biblical verses commanding us to confess our sins to one another;  

OLD TESTAMENT: 

1. [Numbers 5:7] and must confess the sin he has committed. He must pay full compensation, add a fifth to its value, and give all this to the one he has wronged

2. [Leviticus 5:5-6] when anyone becomes aware that they are guilty in any of these matters, they must confess in what way they have sinned. As a penalty for the sin they have committed, they must bring to the Lord a female lamb or goat from the flock as a sin offering; and the priest shall make atonement for them for their sin.

3. [Leviticus 16:21] “Then Aaron shall lay both of his hands on the head of the live goat, and confess over it all the iniquities of the sons of Israel and all their transgressions in regard to all their sins; and he shall lay them on the head of the goat and send it away into the wilderness by the hand of a man who stands in readiness.

4. [Leviticus 26:40] ‘If they confess their iniquity and the iniquity of their forefathers, in their unfaithfulness which they committed against Me, and also in their acting with hostility against Me—

5. [Psalm 32:5] I acknowledged my sin to You, And my iniquity I did not hide; I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the LORD”; And You forgave the guilt of my sin. 

6. [Psalm 38:18] For I confess my iniquity; I am full of anxiety because of my sin.

7. [Proverbs 28:13] Whoever conceals their sins does not prosper, but the one who confesses and renounces them finds mercy.

8. [Nehemiah 9:2] And the seed of the children of Israel separated themselves from every stranger: and they stood, and confessed their sins, and the iniquities of their fathers.

9. [Jeremiah 3:13] But yet acknowledge thy iniquity, that thou hast transgressed against the Lord thy God: and thou hast scattered thy ways to strangers under every green tree, and hast not heard my voice, saith the Lord.

10. [Jeremiah 14:20] We acknowledge our wickedness, O LORD, the guilt of our fathers; indeed, we have sinned against You.

11. [Joshua 7:19] And Joshua said unto Achan, My son, give, I pray thee, glory to the LORD God of Israel, and make confession unto him; and tell me now what thou hast done; hide it not from me.

12. [Hosea 5:15] Then I will return to My place until they admit their guilt and seek My face; in their affliction they will earnestly seek Me.”

13. [Ezra 10:11] Now make confession to the Lord, the God of your fathers, and do his will

NEW TESTAMENT: 

1. [Matthew 3:5-6] People went out to him from Jerusalem and all Judea and the whole region around the Jordan. Confessing their sins, they were baptized by him in the Jordan River.

2. [Matthew 16:19] I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven. Whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.”

3. [Matthew 18:18] Truly I tell you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.

4. [Mark 1:4-5] John the Baptist appeared in the wilderness, preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. People went out to him from all of Jerusalem and the countryside of Judea. Confessing their sins, they were baptized by him in the Jordan River.

5. [John 20:23] If you forgive anyone’s sins, they are forgiven. If you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.”

6. [Acts 19:18] Many of those who believed now came and openly confessed what they had done.

7. [Romans 10:9-11] . . . For with the heart man believes unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the scripture says, Whosoever believes on him shall not be ashamed. 

8. [2 Corinthians 2:10] When you forgive this man, I forgive him, too. And when I forgive whatever needs to be forgiven, I do so with Christ’s authority for your benefit

9. [1 Timothy 6:12] Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses.

10. [Hebrews 5:1] Every high priest is a man chosen to represent other people in their dealings with God. He presents their gifts to God and offers sacrifices for their sins 

11. [1 John 1:9] If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

12. [James 5:16] Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.

 

Author: Renz Pejana Silawan

The author is just a simple man, He was a carving and carpentry sub-contractor. But lately, he discovered that his true passion is writing. He studied at the University of San Jose-Recoletos, took up Bachelor of Science in Industrial Engineering. The fear of death knocked on his mind when he aquired 3 lumps on his neck in 2010. He realized that the most important thing to a man is eternal life. He found out that the Bible is consistent in its teaching and backed up by spiritual and physical evidences. Today, he is happy knowing that there is a God who will receive him in the afterlife. And he wants to share this discovery to all people who are willing to accept this good news.

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