His Truth Will Set You Free

Listen to what Jesus says; “Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (John 8:32)

Catholic Confession – A Manmade Obstacle

2 Comments

It just didn’t make sense to her. Why should Mary have to see a priest to confess her sins? As she explained it to me, this was a key reason Mary left the Catholic Church; she didn’t like the idea of a middleman. To Mary, the confession felt like an obstacle, hindering her from being close to God. Why couldn’t she just go directly go God?

Yet Jesus tells us to go directly to God. He told us to pray…

Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.” (Matthew 6:9-12)

And…

“But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.” (Matthew 6:6)

I think it all boils down to relationship. What kind of relationship does Jesus want to have with those who love Him, with those He calls “friend?” Jesus wants a relationship that is far more intimate than any we are familiar with. “Remain in me, and I will remain in you.” (John 15:4) If Jesus is in us, and we are in Him (ignoring for now what that means and how that might look); yet isn’t this clear that it describes an unusually close relationship?

“Come to me,” “follow me – these are the words Jesus frequently used. Throughout the gospels, Jesus clearly conveys that He wants our focus to be on Him. Praying to an intermediary is a distraction; it takes our focus off of Jesus. Does that sound right to you?

Think of it this way: if I wrong my best friend, how would they feel if I go to an intermediary to ask for forgiveness? “What? E.D. wouldn’t come directly to me? I thought we were better friends than that.” How do you think Jesus feels when those He suffered to save, avoid Him; when His loved ones go to an intermediary to ask His forgiveness? He DIED for our sins; shouldn’t we go directly to Him when wanting to repent of those sins?

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Author: CJ Penn

First, my writing isn't about me. Don’t want the attention, don’t want to feed my ravenous ego (yep, I’m just a typical pride-plagued human). But I love writing - it gets me out of bed when it's way too dark, just so I can do some writing before heading off to work. I write because I’m passionate about God, Jesus, His Spirit, and His truth. And, I feel the Holy Spirit gets shortchanged in the world we call Christianity. The truth is sometimes lacking too.

2 thoughts on “Catholic Confession – A Manmade Obstacle

  1. Hi E.D. I think you’re correct that prayer to an intermediary for forgiveness does not sound right. Please understand though that the catholic priest is not forgiving sins on behalf of, or in place of Christ, but he is acting “in persona Christi” i.e., “in the person of Christ”. This means that it really is Christ himself who is forgiving the sinner. (This is always one to explain and I’m not too good at it either!)

    We believe that Jesus very clearly gave the authority to do this when he said to Peter:
    “And I will give to thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven. And whatsoever thou shalt bind upon earth, it shall be bound also in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth, it shall be loosed also in heaven” (Matthew 16:19)

    And in instituting the Sacrament of Penance (also called the Sacrament of Reconciliation) he then gave even more specific instructions:
    “As the Father hath sent me, I also send you. When he had said this, he breathed on them; and he said to them: Receive ye the Holy Ghost. Whose sins you shall forgive, they are forgiven them; and whose sins you shall retain, they are retained’ (John 20:21-23)

    A lot of people seem to think that confession is the only way catholics believe they can be forgiven of their sins. Actually we have a thousand different versions of the Act of Contrition prayer that we say all the time. All venial sins are forgiven the moment they are repented. However if we have committed a mortal sin then our souls are no longer in the state of grace and we are obliged to confess these sins at the earliest opportunity.

    Thanks for bringing the subject up! It’s always enlightening for me to see the non-catholic perspective of various aspects of my faith. It also forces me to think about why I believe in what I believe in.

    God Bless!

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  2. rabbrady,
    I think you did a fine job explaining the Sacrament.

    “But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.” (Matthew 6:6)”

    The passage you quoted here E.D. doesn’t mention confession.

    We do need thoes quite times with God, in building our relationship with Him, but not exclusively. God calls us to community, we are incorperated into His Body. So our relationship with God, on one hand, is very personal, yet at the same time is very communial.

    As you quote from the Lords Prayer itself, “Our” Father….give “us” this day….forgive “us” “our” debts…Can we ask forgiveness on behalf of others?

    It’s not turning away from Jesus as you suggest in your post, it’s about being obedient to the will of the Father.

    I’m sorry that Mary wasn’t taught the truth about confession when she was a Catholic, and unfortunately, there are many more like her. But she , like the rest of us, must seek out the truth for herself.

    Maybe, Mary didn’t like confessing her sin to the Church, because she was embarassed and ashamed,as well we all should be. Should we not feel that way before God? Does she fear “man” more than God?

    Confession to a represenative of the Church also helps in our accountability for thoes “sins that so easily entangle us”.

    Blessings to all in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.
    Amen.

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