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Jacque wrote:

Hi, guys —

I have some doubts about certain aspects of my Catholic faith. I really like the thought of the faith being passed down to me, but I don't entirely believe it.

My problem is believing in the sacrament of Confession. I think it is all a bunch of bologna because I can talk to God and admit my wrongs to Him instead of confessing to Father and receiving graces that Church doctrines promise.

  • I mean, aren't these just old Catholic Church founder's different views on what this confessing brings us?
  • Who's to say that it's not all Vatican crap?

I really don't know what to do!

  • Can you tell me something that I can read or verses I could lookup in the Bible?

I know that you must believe in the whole faith, and this is why I am so troubled!

Please help me profess my faith in a stronger manner!

Thank you,

Jacque

  { Can you resolve my doubts about confessing to a priest, rather than confessing directly to God? }

Eric replied:

Hi, Jacque —

Well it's right from the Bible. Try looking in our Knowledge base for "Confession".
Look at John 20:22-23:

22 And with that [Jesus] breathed on them and said, 'Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive anyone his sins, they are forgiven; 23 if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.'

John 20:22-23

This is important because this is only the second time that God breathed on man (the first was at Adam's creation in Genesis 2). What this says is that the Apostles — the first bishops, of whom priests are representatives — have the authority, in God's name, to forgive sins, and hold sins unforgiven. Also, in James 5:14-16, we see that the elders of the church (presbyteroi, where we get the word priest) can forgive sins, and that we should confess our sins out loud.

14 Is any among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord; 15 and the prayer of faith will save the sick man, and the Lord will raise him up; and if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. 16 Therefore confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man has great power in its effects.

James 5:14-16

You see, sin doesn't just affect us, even private sins; they affect the whole community. You can see this in the Old Testament where God punished the whole community for the sins of one or two. This is hard for individualistic Americans to understand. It's not just you and Jesus.

No one can have God as Father who does not have the Church as Mother.

(St. Cyprian [died 258 A.D.], De unit. 6: PL 4, 519).

I think I've written on this before so do a search of the Knowledge base.

You said:

  • Who's to say that it's not all Vatican crap?

Auricular confession — verbal confession to a priest — is very ancient. It wasn't something
made up by the Vatican. Extra-biblical evidence for its practice goes back to the first century; see <Confession>.

Finally, it's worth keeping in mind that we aren't obligated to confess every little sin through Confession. The sacrament of Confession is obligatory only for mortal sins (grave sins we did with full knowledge and consent).

Soon-to-be Blessed John Henry Cardinal Newman once said,

A thousand difficulties do not make a single doubt.

It is good for you to make the faith your own; it's a necessary stage of development. It is expected for young people to challenge their faith (I am assuming you are a young person).

The faith can take it. What's important is that you actually give the faith a chance, as you are doing, and study what you object to, giving it a fair shake. It is also important that you open your heart to Jesus, to following him, and to the Spirit of Truth, without regard to how painful or distasteful or inconvenient it might be. Be open to the truth, whatever it is.

If, on the Day of Judgment, you are proven wrong, but can say you followed the truth to the extent it presented itself to you, you will do well, but if, on the other hand, you know the truth but willingly and steadfastly reject it, or refuse to seek the truth . . . you will have a harder time on that Day.

Surrender yourself to the Truth, even if you're not sure what it is yet.

Eric

Mike replied:

Hi, Jacque —

In addition to what my colleague has said, I would recommend you check out my Scripture Passage page here:

On the right hand side you will see a link for: Sacrament of Confession/Reconciliation.

You can also search our knowledge base using any word or phrase you wish.

Mike

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