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Shawn Hughes wrote:

Hi, guys —

I was talking with my Protestant friend today about salvation and Confession. He said the Catholic Church recognizes that all other Christian denominations believe in God, though all they have to do is be baptized and ultimately believe in Christ as our Savior.

  • That said, he asked me, Why do I go to Confession when I should just go to God like he does because if we are all going to the same place, why make the road more difficult than it is?

He mentioned mortal sin, and said, we, as Catholics, say it breaks us away form God and punishes us eternally us forever. He agreed with this if the sin was serious, like murder, etc; but if we are truly contrite, God will forgive us if we ask for forgiveness. More less, he is saying the Catholic Church teaches "we" as Catholics have to go to Confession when we commit a mortal sin, or at least once a year, whereas, he never has to go because he has faith in God.

  • What is a good way to respond to this?

Thanks!

Shawn

  { If all Christians are going to the same place, why complicate it with Confession? }

John replied:

Shawn,

The Church in effect teaches that people will be held responsible for what they know but at the same time, every man has an obligation to constantly seek the truth and allow the truth to form his conscience.

The Church doesn't teach that Protestants can be saved by their Protestantism nor can are they saved by their minimalistic, juridical, and forensic understanding of the Gospel. They are saved like everyone else by the grace and mercy of God — in and through the Person of Jesus Christ and His atoning sacrifice.

Catholics have the fullness of the faith and that includes both knowledge of and access to the Sacraments. So we will be held responsible for that knowledge along with the privilege of having had access to the Sacraments.

Nevertheless, your friend is on dangerous ground. Why? Because he knows more than your average Protestant. He obviously has studied or inquired enough to know that Catholics have this Sacrament called Confession. He also knows enough about Catholic teaching to know God holds open the doors of salvation to all according to their knowledge, hence, he knows enough to continue to seek the truth. He might not know everything in the exact words or language, but clearly the Holy Spirit has exposed your friend to more knowledge of the Catholic faith then the "average Joe". So, he's not exactly going to be able to claim complete ignorance of the law come judgment day.

Hope that helps.

God Bless,

John
Related Posting:
If I can ask God to forgive my sins, why do I need to go to Confession?

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