Confessing to a Catholic Priest

As God, Jesus has the authoritiy to forgive sins. He shared this authority with the Apostles and this same authority and power continues to be handed down to Catholic priests and bishops today.

Sin damages a person’s relationship with God so reconciliation must begin with confession to God the Father along with sincere repentance.

God has established a way to heal broken relationships with Him where Jesus continues to forgive serious, mortal sin through his Catholic priests who act in the person of Christ in the Sacrament of Reconciliation.

As a sacrament instituted by Jesus, Reconciliation provides a tangible, audible sign of God’s grace and mercy when the priest declares that sin has been absolved.

Since sin affects both God and man, the priest also acts on behalf of the Church community in granting forgiveness.

God intended that sins be confessed:

Entrusted with the ministry of reconciliation:

Confessing on Jesus’ terms:

Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent Me, so I send you.” And when He had said this, He breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained.”

John 20: 21-23

Confession is always to God:

The same power, authority, and mission as Jesus:

A valuable gift rooted in Scripture:

Since Christ entrusted to his Apostles the ministry of reconciliation, bishops who are their successors, and priests, the bishops’ collaborators, continue to exercise this ministry. Indeed bishops and priests, by virtue of the sacrament of Holy Orders, have the power to forgive all sins “in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.”

Catechism of the Catholic Church 1461

Jesus’ forgiveness flowing through the priest:

Acting in Jesus’ name:

Just as at the altar where he celebrates the Eucharist and just as in each one of the sacraments, so the priest, as the minister of penance, acts “in persona Christi” The Christ whom he makes present and who accomplishes the mystery of the forgiveness of sins is the Christ who appears as the brother of man, the merciful high priest, faithful and compassionate, the shepherd intent on finding the lost sheep, the physician who heals and comforts, the one master who teaches the truth and reveals the ways of God, the judge of the living and the dead, who judges according to the truth and not according to appearances.

Pope John Paul II, Reconciliatio et Paenitentia, 2 December 1984

Reconciling with God and the community:

Assurance of God’s grace:

The Truth, Goodness, and Beauty of the Catholic Church

When sin abounds, grace abounds all the more:

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