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Michael wrote:

Hi, guys —

I am 43 years old. I have been a Catholic my whole life, though I do not attend Church on a regular basis, mainly due to my line of work. (I work for an airline.) I am trying to allow myself some time to start attending Mass more frequently. I have attended several different churches with friends and other family members, but have always enjoyed the Catholic service more so than the others.

For the most part, I believe in everything the Catholic Church tells us to believe in, except for one thing: Confession. I have only been to Confession a total of 4 times in my life. It isn't because of embarrassment or anything like that. The main reason I don't go is because I have always believed that asking for my sins to be forgiven should be between myself and God. I don't believe we should have to use a priest as a "go between" so to speak. Some might argue, the priest is also there for guidance, but as an adult, I believe I am capable of self-guidance and knowing right from wrong. After all, I am asking forgiveness for the wrongs I've done.

I have often received criticism by fellow Catholics for this belief.

  • If God always hears our prayers, and if God will always forgive us if the request is sincere, then why, in my fellow Catholics opinions, is it such a terrible thing for me not to go to Confession?
  • Does it make me any less than a good, faithful Catholic, by asking God directly to forgive my sins as opposed to going to Confession and having them forgiven through
    a priest?

Thank you for your time.

Michael

  { If I can ask God to forgive my sins, why do I need to go to Confession? }

Mike replied:

Hi, Michael —

You said:
If God always hears our prayers, and if God will always forgive us if the request is sincere, then why, in my fellow Catholics opinions, is it such a terrible thing for me not to go to Confession?

Because Catholic Christians and most non-Catholic Christians believe Jesus Christ IS
[God-Incarnated | God made man for our salvation]. Catholics also obey what Our Lord states in the Scriptures ONLY to his disciples: in John 20:19-23:

On the evening of that day, the first day of the week, the doors being shut where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said to them, "Peace be with you." When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord.
Jesus said to them again, "Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me,
even so I send you."

And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and said to them,

    "Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained."

(John 20:19-23)

This is the biblical basis for the sacrament of Confession. Remember Michael, it may appear that we are confessing to a priest but we are really confessing to the Lord. Jesus is using the body of another man for his body to absolve the faithful in His Church of their sins.

Can you confess your venial sins privately to the Lord? Sure! as well as in Confession. Mortal sins, though require sacramental absolution.

It's an AND BOTH answer not an EITHER OR answer.

You said:
Does it make me any less than a good, faithful Catholic, by asking God directly to forgive my sins as opposed to going to Confession and having them forgiven through
a priest?

Jesus Our Lord instituted the sacraments for YOU Michael. To ignore such a great grace and required grace for those with mortal sin on their souls is to not be a faithful Catholic.

I refer to the sacraments of the Church as the dynamite in the Church.  The word sacrament comes from a word which means " to swear an oath".  In every sacrament of the Church, the Lord is swearing an oath to fulfil what that sacrament does. 

This is HIS divine desire; we should follow it.

Find out where Church services are in the airport, either going to or coming from work, and ask a priest to hear your Confession.  If needed, make an appointment to see what would be a good time to hook up with him on a regular basis.

Finally, if you haven't been to Mass in a while, you have to get to Confession, as missing Sunday Mass, without a good reason, is a mortal sin.  Think of attendance at Sunday Mass as the gasoline that every airplane needs to fly for that week.

Hope this helps,

Mike

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