Top Ten Questions Catholics Are Asked
Question 5: Why Do You Confess Your Sins To A Priest?
*Jesus Christ gave His disciples-and by extension, priests-the power not only to "loose" sins (that is, forgive in God's name), but also to "bind" (that is, impose penances): "Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven" (Mt 18:18-See also Mt 16:19). "If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained" (Jn 20:23). The priest serves as the representative of God and of His mercy. Confession gives new courage, confidence, and a fresh start. One learns humility by this practice, receives additional grace in order to avoid sin, and attains a certainty of forgiveness that is superior to mere feelings. Confession is also indicated in Matthew (3:5-6), Acts (19:18), and 1 John (1:9).
*Answers by Dave Armstrong