Why Do Catholics Confess To Priests?

Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much”

James 5:16

Non-Catholics and Muslims condemn the Catholics for making confession to priests. They argue that confession should be made directly to God since only Him can forgive sins, so why a Catholic should confess to a priest? These people failed to realize that the Catholics are the  owner of the Bible, thus Catholics know the Bible better than them. Why would we disclose our sins to God when He already knew our sins? God commands us not to conceal our sins, so telling of sins should not be made to God but to our fellow. Confessing our sins to Godly people is part of our burden so as to earn forgiveness from above. If your wife committed a marital unfaithfulness, and she just hide it from you because only God can forgive, is it okay for you? And if your neighbor had cut your face accidentally, is it okay for you if he won’t ask forgiveness from you because you have no right to forgive? Evidently, each of one us is part of this forgiving and interceding circle. If I forgive your sin against me, you will also be forgiven by God, and my sins against my other fellow will also be forgiven by God as well.  That’s why apostle James commanded us to confess our sins to one anther, and pray for one another (James 5:16).

Confession of sins was already commanded by God and practiced by Israelites even before the arrival of the New Testament [Numbers 5:7]. John the baptist also administered confession [Mark 1:4-5]. Jesus gave authority to His disciples to forgive sins, He told his apostles, “If you forgive anyone’s sins, they are forgiven. If you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven” (John 20:23). Take note that the apostles were appointed by Jesus to lead his church, so they were priests. Peter was the first head or pope of Christianity, and his priesthood along with other apostles were handed down to the Catholic priests of today. Therefore, if the priests won’t forgive you because you don’t want to confess your sins to them, your sins won’t be forgiven by God as well.

Biblical Verses Commanding Confession of Sins;  

  1. [Numbers 5:7] and must confess the sin he has committed. He must pay full compensation, add a fifth to its value, and give all this to the one he has wronged
  2. [Leviticus 5:5] If someone incurs guilt in one of these ways, he must confess the sin he has committed,
  3. [Leviticus 16:21] “Then Aaron shall lay both of his hands on the head of the live goat, and confess over it all the iniquities of the sons of Israel and all their transgressions in regard to all their sins; and he shall lay them on the head of the goat and send it away into the wilderness by the hand of a man who stands in readiness.
  4. [Leviticus 26:40] ‘If they confess their iniquity and the iniquity of their forefathers, in their unfaithfulness which they committed against Me, and also in their acting with hostility against Me—
  5. [Psalm 32:5] I acknowledged my sin to You, And my iniquity I did not hide; I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the LORD”; And You forgave the guilt of my sin. 
  6. [Psalm 38:18] For I confess my iniquity; I am full of anxiety because of my sin.
  7. [Proverbs 28:13] Whoever conceals their sins does not prosper, but the one who confesses and renounces them finds mercy.
  8. [Nehemiah 9:2] And the seed of the children of Israel separated themselves from every stranger: and they stood, and confessed their sins, and the iniquities of their fathers.
  9. [Jeremiah 3:13] But yet acknowledge thy iniquity, that thou hast transgressed against the Lord thy God: and thou hast scattered thy ways to strangers under every green tree, and hast not heard my voice, saith the Lord.
  10. [Jeremiah 14:20] We acknowledge our wickedness, O LORD, the guilt of our fathers; indeed, we have sinned against You.
  11. [Joshua 7:19] And Joshua said unto Achan, My son, give, I pray thee, glory to the LORD God of Israel, and make confession unto him; and tell me now what thou hast done; hide it not from me.
  12. [Hosea 5:15] Then I will return to My place until they admit their guilt and seek My face; in their affliction they will earnestly seek Me.”
  13. [Ezra 10:11] Now make confession to the Lord, the God of your fathers, and do his will
  14. [Matthew 3:6] And they were being baptized by him in the Jordan River, as they confessed their sins.
  15. [Matthew 16:19] I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven. Whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.”
  16. [Matthew 18:18] Truly I tell you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.
  17. [Mark 1:4-5] John the Baptist appeared in the wilderness, preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. People went out to him from all of Jerusalem and the countryside of Judea. Confessing their sins, they were baptized by him in the Jordan River.
  18. [John 20:23] If you forgive anyone’s sins, they are forgiven. If you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.”
  19. [Acts 19:18] Many of those who believed now came and openly confessed what they had done.
  20. [Romans 10:9-11] . . . For with the heart man believes unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the scripture says, Whosoever believes on him shall not be ashamed. 
  21. [1 Timothy 6:12] Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses.
  22. [1 John 1:9] If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
  23. [James 5:16] Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much. 
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