Here they reflect on how well they live a “Christ-like life”. Why Do Catholics Go to Confession Anyway? This experience of confession of sins to a priest to receive the sign of God’s healing forgiveness is called by the Church the Sacrament of Penance or the Sacrament of Reconciliation. No Sacraments take place over the internet, and confession isn't an exception. Print . In the case of Confession, that institution occurred on Easter Sunday, when Christ first appeared to the apostles after his Resurrection. We may be hesitant to tell our sins to someone we also socialize with at church suppers. It also carried with it the promise of personal renewal. During Confession, the priest acts as both the sign and instrument of God’s merciful love for the sinner, and is used by God to administer and communicate absolution. Why Do I Have To Confess To A Priest? Non-Catholics, and even many Catholics, often ask whether they can confess their sins directly to God and whether God can forgive them without going through a priest. The Sacrament of Confession can seem not only a daunting practice for many Catholics but also a bizarre one – privately asking for forgiveness from God for your sins makes sense, but confessing them to a priest seems weird. This is especially the case when it comes to committing mortal sins, which cuts our relationship with God. He quoted 1 Tm 2:5 from the Bible to explain that Christ is the one true mediator between God and man. The Irish Catholic is Ireland’s biggest and best-selling religious newspaper. Lesser sins were considered to be forgiven through prayer, fasting, works of mercy, and participation in … In John 20, we read of Christ appearing to the disciples on Easter Sunday. Why not? My entire family is Catholic. Some claim that confessing to a priest is not biblical. And when he has said this, he breathed on them and said to them, ‘Receive the holy Spirit. Moreover, it was instituted by Christ as the proper form for the forgiveness of our sins. As it is, few go to Confession, but few do not receive Holy Communion at Mass. While the number of people practicing Confession has diminished significantly over the last few decades, it’s important to remember how vital it is in bringing vitality to the spiritual life. No, your willingness to go to the confessional, repeating the same confession week-to-week is a way of saying to God, "I hate doing this! Richert, Scott P. (2020, August 25). Although it has developed over time, the Sacrament of Confession isn’t some crazy invention of the Church, but finds its roots in the Bible. When we sin, we deprive ourselves of God’s grace. Catholics go to confession to confess their sins and ask for forgiveness, normally receiving penance from the priest. The Lord does want us to come to him when we fall into sin. However, there is no specific requirement that confession take place within a certain distance of a … My parents raised me as a Catholic. 1 decade ago. Learn Religions, Aug. 25, 2020, learnreligions.com/the-sacrament-of-confession-542139. For those whose sins you forgive, they are forgiven; for those whose sins you retain, they are retained” (John 20:22-23). A good rule of thumb is to go once per month. But it is also the subject of many common misunderstandings, both among non-Catholics and among Catholics themselves. If a non-Catholic is in situation of death, they can receive the Sacrament – if they are a baptized Christian. Why Do Catholics Practice Confession of Sins to a Priest? The Seven Sacraments of the Catholic Church, Everything You Need to Know About Easter in the Catholic Church, The Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick, Learn About Last Rites and How They're Performed. As the Father has sent me, so I send you’. Scott P. Richert is senior content network manager of Our Sunday Visitor. Unsubscribe. A remote confession would undermine this idea. The benefits of confessing to a priest rather than just practicing private Confession are also aplenty: it’s what the Bible and Church tradition teaches; Catholics receive sacramental graces which they wouldn’t receive in a private capacity; the priest can guide the confessor; and finally, Catholics are assured their sins are forgiven. Thank you. While Catholics are only required to go to Confession when they are aware that they have committed a mortal sin, the Church urges the faithful to take advantage of the sacrament often. He breathed on the … This is a sacrament given to us by Christ and is a healthy spiritual practice for believers. Three things are required of a penitent in order to receive the sacrament worthily: While these are the minimum requirements, here are steps to making a better confession. Catholics also believe that the sacraments are an outward sign of an inward grace. Penance expresses the proper attitude with which we should approach the sacrament—with sorrow for our sins, a desire to atone for them, and a firm resolve not to commit them again. Do you agree? Don’t we all desire to escape humbling experiences? Why Catholics Go To Confession. WordPress Download Manager - Best Download Management Plugin, Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window), Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window), Magnificat - Delivery to Ireland and Northern Ireland Only, The Irish Catholic Newspaper - Digital Edition, The Irish Catholic Newspaper - Delivery Abroad, The Irish Catholic Newspaper - Delivery to Ireland, US bishops welcome Biden’s repeal of travel ban, Senator Mullen calls for ‘National Voluntary Collection’ as part of mother and baby home redress, Govt ‘see reason’ over ‘sneaky tax on prayer’, WordPress Download Manager - Best Download Management Plugin. The sacrament of reconciliation was instituted to enable the forgiveness of sins committed after Baptism, so for those already located within the Body of Christ, and to make it possible for them to receive Holy Communion worthily. (See  The Precepts of the Church for more details.) So why do the catholics think they should go through a priest? In fact, most priests are overjoyed that people are coming to confession, and they are eager to offer absolution. The purpose of Confession is to reconcile man to God. Lv 7. Keep in mind many priests have heard thousands of confessions over the years. So why do Catholics confess to a priest? Ian Ker Fr. Pastor: Father Timothy Forget Phone: 402.329.4200. It’s not an easy question to answer in a few sentences as it draws upon complex topics about Church history, the meaning of sin, the power of the Sacraments, and the role of priests. And by doing so, we make it even easier to sin some more. But the question misses the point of the Sacrament of Confession. [ Placeholder content for popup link ] We are all born in original sin, meaning the status quo of even the cutest baby on earth before baptism has natural goodness but no supernatural goodness. Ian Ker is the leading expert on the life and works of John Henry Newman. Many people have only ever gone to Confession once or twice in their lives, and while it can seem like a scary prospect to confess all of your guilt and failings to someone else, Catholics can be assured by the fact that everyone is in the same boat and God is calling all of us to relationship with Him. However, the early Church fathers are clear that through the Sacrament of Confession – sometimes called Penance or Reconciliation – our fractured relationship with God is able to be restored. Box 397 Osmond, NE 68765. It also tells us that God gave men the authority on Earth to forgive sins. It firstly needs to be pointed out that Catholics can go straight to God and ask for forgiveness. Catholics believe that all of the sacraments were instituted by Jesus Christ himself. Part I: Why Do We Need Confession and What Is Mortal Sin? Why Do Catholics Go To Confession? I was told to be confirmed and I was told to go through it all. https://www.learnreligions.com/the-sacrament-of-confession-542139 (accessed January 22, 2021). If someone is not Catholic (thus they do not have recourse to the Sacrament), then they can be forgiven, with perfect contrition and confession of their sins to God. ST. MARY’S CATHOLIC SCHOOL. Catholics: Why do you go to confession? Why Do We As Catholics Go To Confession? By Fr. Whereas Confession stresses the action of the believer in the sacrament, Reconciliation stresses the action of God, who uses the sacrament to reconcile us to Himself by restoring sanctifying grace in our souls. He wants to bring us forgiveness so much that he gave the apostles the power to forgive sins. This is why Pope John 
Paull II said in 2002, 
“…the Church has insistently reiterated that ‘all the faithful who have reached the age of discretion are bound faithfully to confess their mortal sins at least once a year’”. Virtual connection is not a substitute for physical proximity. As baptised Christians, we have direct access to God through prayer, and have the ability to repent for any of our wrongdoings – especially venial sins. The benefits of confessing to a priest rather than just practicing private Confession are also aplenty: it’s what the Bible and Church tradition teaches; Catholics receive sacramental graces which they wouldn’t receive in a private capacity; the priest can guide the confessor; and finally, Catholics are assured their sins are forgiven. A Protestant Christian friend of mine wanted to know why Catholics confess sins to a priest rather than straight to God. I don't want to live this way, God, and only you can help me!" In John 20:21-23, Jesus breathed on the Apostles and said “Receive the Holy Spirit. Confession was essential to Catholic faith and a badge of Catholic identity. For Your Marriage. Still, God has a plan of a supernatural beatitude planned for that baby in heaven in both body and soul. The Sacrament of Confession is one of the seven sacraments recognized by the Catholic Church. The Church especially urges the faithful to receive the Sacrament of Confession frequently during Lent, to help them in their spiritual preparation for Easter. Correspondence To This Website Can Be Sent … The Catechism of the Catholic Church refers to the Sacrament of Confession as the Sacrament of Penance. St. Mary's Catholic School 302 East 5th Street P.O. While Catholics are only required to go to Confession when they are aware that they have committed a mortal sin, the Church urges the faithful to take advantage of the sacrament often. While Catholics are only required to go to Confession when they are aware that they have committed a mortal sin, the Church urges the faithful to take advantage of the sacrament often. A headline in the Catholic-sponsored Our Sunday Visitor answers, “If you can’t go to confession… I am protestant, I believe that I can ask God myself for forgiveness. Penances also tended to be performed before rather than after absolution, and they were much stricter than those of today (ten years’ penance for abortion, for example, was common in the early Church). Subscribe This sacrament reconciles us first with God: “The whole power of the sacrament of Penance consists in restoring us to God’s grace and joining us with Him in an intimate friendship” ( Catechism , #1468). Why do I need to go through a ‘middle man’?” This may come as a surprise to some, but the Church teaches that when you go to Confession, you are speaking directly to Jesus. Why do Catholics go to confession? So what should Roman Catholics do with their unconfessed sin? The Bible tells us to confess our sins to one another. Help With Questions On Parenting. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) teaches that "confession is a necessary requirement for complete forgiveness." In a special way, we might appeal to Mary, the Mother of Mercy, to lead us to her Son, to encourage us, as she did at Cana, to do whatever he tells us (cf. But my biggest question is about confession. For one thing, that’s how the Lord designed the sacrament. And non-Catholics sometimes ask to go to Confession. "During Lent, many parishes make a special effort to encourage Catholics to celebrate the Sacrament of Penance, also known as Reconciliation or, more popularly, Confession. Photo Credit: Josh Applegate. October 22, 2019. Confession is a Sacrament Which Gives Us Grace The Catholic Church teaches that a sacrament is an outward sign, instituted by Christ, to give grace. Answer Save. The sacrament, by its very nature, confers graces that help us to live a Christian life, which is why the Church requires us to receive it at least once per year. A good rule of thumb is to go once per month. A good rule of thumb is to go once Because it is God’s plan for people to face their sins, acknowledge the wrong they have done, and seek forgiveness from a priest, who represents God and has authority from Christ. Relevance. General Absolution helps with those who might be receiving while in a … I believe that my forgiveness is determined by God, not by the church. () By the mid-400s and the pontificate of Leo I, private confession under the seal of secrecy becomes the norm to safeguard the reputation of the penitent and to attract others to the sacrament. Why not go past the middle man and straight to God? Confession is one of the least understood of the sacraments of the Catholic Church. When we find it hard to go to confession, we do well to ask the Lord for the grace we need to approach this sacrament. Therefore, we go to confession because it is a sacrament given to us by Christ, and it has always been a practice of the Church. Common Questions About Going To Confession. What does it mean? Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained.’”. ST. MARY OF THE SEVEN DOLORS. 2:5). We are once more made one with God. What should I do if I find it hard to go to confession? After his Resurrection, Christ delegated the power of forgiving sins to the apostles so it could be passed on to their successors such as priests and bishops. Why Catholics Go to Confession. Jn 2:5). Confession is less frequently called the Sacrament of Conversion and the Sacrament of Forgiveness. It says in the Bible that the only way to the Father is through the Son (Jesus Christ). I don't want this in my life anymore! The Church has long taught that the confession of sins and absolution should happen in one place. Retrieved from https://www.learnreligions.com/the-sacrament-of-confession-542139. Confession is a gift, a means of grace, a way to God, and a way back to God. Confession to a priest is an essential part of the sacrament of Penance.” (CCC 1455-1456). Please explain what happens when you go into the confessional. Yet in most parishes, the lines for the confessionals In this case, the outward sign is the absolution, or forgiveness of sins, that the priest grants to the penitent (the person confessing his sins); the inward grace is the reconciliation of the penitent to God. tebone0315. Learn Religions. Therefore, we should not only be willing to receive the sacrament but should embrace it as a gift from a loving God. Richert, Scott P. "The Sacrament of Confession." They surely won’t be astonished by what we confess. It is recommended, though not required, to confess venial sins; this is often the reason why Catholics will go to confession on a weekly or monthly basis. Why do Catholics go to confession? Top Ten Reasons To Go To Confession. The fact of the matter is, I never had the choice to become Catholic. Jesus intended this power to be exercised not only by the Apostles, but also by their successors for the good of sinners. By using Learn Religions, you accept our, Other Names for the Sacrament of Confession. 14 Answers. January 11, 2017 K. Albert Little Patheos Explore the world's faith through different perspectives on religion and spirituality! Second, by confessing to a priest, the Catholic learns a lesson in humility which is conveniently avoided when one confesses only through private prayer. Speak Directly to God . Why do I have to go to a priest for confession instead of going straight to God? (The Church strongly recommends that, in preparation for fulfilling our Easter Duty to receive Communion, we go to Confession even if we are aware of venial sin only.). On the most basic level, of course, the answer is yes, and Catholics should make frequent acts of contrition, which are prayers in which we tell God that we are sorry for our sins and ask for His forgiveness. Ways To Strengthen Your Marriage. How To Go To Confession. Do Catholics not believe this? Form action Does the Catholic Church Still Believe in Purgatory? Learn Religions uses cookies to provide you with a great user experience. That is why the Sacrament of Confession is sometimes called the Sacrament of Reconciliation. St. Mary of the Seven Dolors 208 East 5th Street P.O. The newspaper, published weekly, provides a lively mix of news, analysis and informed commentary about the Church and social issues as they affect Ireland and the wider-world. [32] Such confessions take place in worthiness interviews prior to baptism into the church , [33] to being set apart for any church … This sacrament originated early in the church’s life, when it became clear that those who had been baptized were not immune to sin. It's embarrassing! Read more: What is sin? The most famous passage to highlight the practice is John 20:21-22: “Jesus said to them again, ‘Peace be with you. I just don't agree with telling your sins to a priest. Still, confession was not just something done in silence to God alone, but something done “in church,” as the Didache (A.D. 70) indicates. In reconciling us to God, it is a great source of grace, and Catholics are encouraged to take advantage of it often. He has written about Catholicism for outlets including Humanitas and Catholic Answers Magazine. Breathing on them, he said: “Receive the Holy Spirit. Favourite answer . Richert, Scott P. "The Sacrament of Confession." This sin is not taking me where I want to go! The only way out of this downward cycle is to acknowledge our sins, to repent of them, and to ask God’s forgiveness. Church Teaching On Divorce & Remarriage Box 427 Osmond, NE 68765 Phone: 402.748.3433. 9. Benefits of doing this the Catholic way First, the Catholic is seeking forgiveness the way Christ intended it to be sought. Why the need for a priest? Mortal Sin, Venial Sin, Confession, and Communion, The Sacrament of Baptism in the Catholic Church, Sacrament of Conversion and the Sacrament of Forgiveness, M.A., Political Theory, Catholic University of America, B.A., Political Theory, Michigan State University. (The Church … He is the author of several books, including Mere Catholicism. Therefore, we go to confession because it is a sacrament given to us by Christ, and it has always been a practice of the Church. The Sacrament of Confession. Need Help With Your Marriage? If you know Part I, you can skip to Part II. 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