Catholics/Confessing To A Priest

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Question
So, I was Wondering why do Catholics confess their sins to Priests when they can Pray directly to God and He Can Forgive us for our sins, I don't see how a Priest can Do that if a Priest sins too because No one is Perfect Here on Earth (Not Trying To Be Rude) :/

Answer
There are several reasons for confessing sins to a priest, as far as the Church goes.  First, the priest "stands in" for Christ.  We believe he is designated by Christ to forgive sins (Christ told his apostles "Whose sins you forgive are forgiven".  And we believe our priests, through the bishops, inherit this power.  Second, when we sin, we not only offend God but we offend our neighbor.  Priests stand in for our neighbor, so by confessing our sins to a priest we beg forgiveness from our neighbor as well.  Third, if we are really serious about sin, we want to avoid it in the future.  Priests are (supposed to) help us by their advice to avoid sin.  Fourth, we believe that sacramental confession is assurance of forgiveness.  Martin Luther, who abolished confession, himself went to other ministers to have them assure him he was forgiven.  So in the matter of serious sin, the assurance of forgiveness is a great relief for the sinner.  That being said, we don't believe that God waits for the sinner to confess before forgiving him/her.  He is like the father in the story of the Prodigal son, always ready to forgive -- but the prodigal son had to return to the father to make that forgiveness real.  We Catholics believe that God forgives sins in many other ways as well.  The sacrament of penance is primarily for the sinner, not for God, and is how we reconcile ourselves to God and to the community.  In addition to Catholics, Orthodox churches have this sacrament.  It is also considered a deadly sin for a priest to reveal anything he learned in the confessional, and he would be suspended from his priestly functions if he violated this rule.  Priests have been executed because they did not reveal what they had heard. Hope this helps.  

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Donald Higby

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Most any question about Catholic teachings, the structure of the Church, issues related to Catholic teachings on sexuality and marriage; I also know a lot about biblical foundations for Catholic teaching, and apologetics. As a scientist and a deacon, I am conversant with the dialogue between science and religion.

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Deacon, 13 years; Religion minor, Catholic University of America. Self study.

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Deacon Digest

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Diaconal Formation, four years (college level courses) Catholic University of America, religion minor, philosophy minor. (AB)

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