The confessing of sins should be a part of a Catholic lifestyle in order to refresh one’s relationship with God. Confession is one of the Seven Sacraments taught in the Catholic Church and is encouraged to be practiced frequently. There are various perspectives on the Sacrament of Reconciliation on whether or not confession before a priest is necessary considering the opportunity to confess one’s sins to God through prayer. However, those that believe that a priest should be present are not only driven by the words of the Holy Scriptures, but the overall emotional and spiritual impacts left on them.
The Bible includes many verses that explain why it is important to confess one’s sins. The Catholic Church took the confessing of sins to the next level when the Sacrament of Reconciliation was created. The Catholic Church created this sacrament to give Catholics the opportunity to go to a higher power within the church and confess their wrongdoings, and receive a penance. Once the sins have been confessed, the sinner is believed to receive God’s grace and mercy through the priest.
Branching off of the factual conception that supports the idea of confession with the participation of a priest comes the emotional and spiritual aspects that are accompanied with the process of confession. The environment of the church is very welcoming and joyous as well as understanding and open to all things, making confession much more at ease. It is understood that confession through prayer is, and can be acceptable yet the some of the perks of Catholicism is evident through the one on one conversation with God with the help of a priest. For the Catholic Church proclaims that the sacrament of confession is Christ’s gift to us other than the church’s advertisement. With this gift, one who goes into confession with full honesty is guaranteed an overwhelming experience along with the cleansing of their sins.
Although confessing one’s sins is crucial in maintaining a strong relationship with God, some may view a direct confession with the Lord as more powerful, rather than reconciling to a priest. This way, ones confessions are private, and it provides an intimate setting to receive forgiveness. Some may not feel comfortable sharing sins they have committed with a priest. Traditionally, Catholic Reconciliation is to be done in front of a priest; however, many Christian denominations believe that confession is meant to be kept between God and an individual. In addition, confession between God and a person can be done more frequently, at any time or place. Although a priest to guide you through reconciliation may be helpful, for some it is best to create a sacred bond of confession between God and themselves.
Whatever one does, whether it is confessing before a priest or directly to God through prayer, God called on all sinners to confess their sins in one way or another. Although the Catholic Church provides evidence from the Bible that suggests that God wanted sinners to confess to a priest, there are many passages that simply say that confessing sins is necessary, yet it does not specify to whom the sins must be confessed to. The purpose of confession is to acknowledge that one has given into temptation, but also has the desire to repent. When one confesses their sin directly to God, or to a priest, the benefits are really no different. Once the sins have been recognised and have been told to God or a priest, the sinner receives immediate grace from God and the relationship with Him will continue to flourish.
(The views expressed by the author in the article are his/her own.)