The Confession of sins to a priest.
Should a priest be doing God’s job? Is it undermining Christ, our Only redeemer to tell one’s sins to another man? Let’s go back to the Scriptures where Christ grants minor powers to his Apostles:
“Whose soever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them; and whose soever sins ye retain, they are retained.” –John 20:23
He says to his disciples that whose sins they remit, forgive in his name, are forgiven by him and whose sins they retain, withhold from him, are withheld from his forgiveness. Surely, one must repent in order to be forgiven. In order for an apology to be accepted, it has to be made. A majority of Christians will argue that asking Christ alone and directly is good repentance enough, for no middle-man is needed. There is nothing wrong with apologizing personally to the Lord, but for extra reassurance, he has instituted the confession of sins.
“And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation;
To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.
Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God.”
– 2 Cor 5: 18-20
Many worry this puts too much power in the hands of men. It does not; for any minister is but a servant of the Lord, only acting as an “ambassador, praying in Christ’s stead.” When Christ left the earth ascending into heaven, he left his earthly Pastors with
the duty to act in persona Christi “in the person of Christ”. They are not assuming the same level as Christ, rather he acts through them. A priest in the confessional, regardless of his own biases and flaws, is being instrument of Christ’s grace. Jesus in the Scriptures acknowledges the importance of confessing sins:
“Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed.
The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.”
–James 5: 16.
He encourages reconciliation before going to the place of worship:
“Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee; Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift.” – Matthew 5:24.
From this we have that there is nothing un-Biblical about confession of sins. There is nothing un-historical about it either. Public confession of sins was a practice left over from Judaism. The oldest Christians writing outside the New Testament mentions that when the people gather they confess their sins:
“Confess your sins in church, and do not go up to your prayer with an evil conscience. This is the way of life. . . . On the Lord’s Day gather together, break bread, and give thanks, after confessing your transgressions so that your sacrifice may be pure” (Didache 4:14, 14:1 [A.D. 70]).
Moreover, the oral admittance of faults teaches a lesson in humility, reveals one’s offenses before the Lord that they may not be repeated, and gives chance for Pastoral advice. If anything, the Catholic’s confession is more helpful. It dispels any questions that might be left after repenting to God personally and cultivates honesty