Why must I go to Confession? Can’t I go directly to God?
There are three main reasons why we ought to go to Confession for the forgiveness of our sins. The first is because it has been set up this way since the very early years of our children in the faith. The Jewish people have been giving sin offerings for the atonement of their sins through the priest for centuries. Jesus taught this same idea of the forgiveness of sins through those He appointed and gave such necessary authority that the Jewish people never had.
Secondly, both John and James mention the need to confess our sins to each other. These men tell us to confess our sins to each other but more specifically James says that certain men have this power to forgive the sins of others (James 5:14-15). We find in the Gospel of Matthew, chapter 9, verse 6 Jesus forgiving the sins of a paralytic man and saying: “your sins are forgiven” and Matthew goes on to say in verse 8 that these powers are given to men (plural).
Thirdly, we know that Jesus has the authority on earth to forgive sins (Matt 9:6) and that Jesus sends His apostles with the words: “As the Father sent me, even so I now send you.” (John 20:21). Therefore it is clear that Scripture teaches us that Jesus gave His apostles the authority to forgive sins. These have been given this same authority as well as the authority to pass this authority on to their successors all the way through history to our bishops and priests of today.
To recap, true sacramental forgiveness of sins is a fulfillment of the sacrificial system of the forgiveness of sins of the Jewish people. It is also the power of God working through men (bishops and priests) and is instituted by Jesus Himself and passed on through apostolic succession to the bishops and priests of today.
If you were dying of cancer and you prayed everyday for God to heal you, God could easily heal you instantly. But before that happens you will no doubt constantly visit the doctor to help you. Now say you are healed by the doctors help. It is not the doctor that healed you, it was God. The doctor was just the intermediary for God. God used the doctor to perform His miracle. This is the same way that God uses a priest to administer the sacrament of confession to us. Sin is like a cancer and we need to go to the doctor (priest) to be healed.
So why go to confession? Because Jesus Christ set it up this way. Yes, if you ask forgiveness with a repentant heart, you will be forgiven but this only for venial sins. If you’ve completely cut yourself off from His communion by performing mortal sin then you must go to confession so as to reconcile yourself to Him and His Church.
If Jesus truly set it up this way then who are we to assume we that we don’t need to go? Don’t delay in going to Confession.
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Prepared by a St.Denis parishioner