Anonymous asked in Society & CultureReligion & Spirituality · 10 years ago

Why do Catholics ask a Priest for forgiveness instead of praying to God directly?



11 Answers

  • John S
    Lv 7
    10 years ago
    Favourite answer

    As a practicing Catholic.........

    Catholics ask God for forgiveness, not a Priest because it is by Christ's power that sins are forgiven NOT the Priests own power.

    Catholics call this "in persona christi" or "in the personhood of Christ"

    Non-Catholic christians have lost the sense of this word, though most still believe that someone can act "in the personhood of Christ" even if they don't understand it.

    In most non-Catholic Christian faiths, (AKA Protestant) the Pastor acts "in persona Christi" when he baptizes someone. He says: "I baptize you in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit"

    He says "in the name of" this is "in persona"

    Catholics Priest act "in persona" as well when they forgive sins. So it is God that forgives, he just chose to act THROUGH men.

    It takes NOTHING away from God to work through another, in fact it brings more honor to him. Just like the Pastor saying "in the name of" takes nothing away from God's power.. so also the Priest saying "you are forgiven in the name of..." takes nothing away from God, as well.

    Another reason Catholics utilize the Sacrament of Reconciliation is that it was instituted by Christ and who are we to change what the Son of God has commanded???? - honestly..who amongst us can change that?

    This website has a lot of good links to show all the Scriptures which support this idea:

    Lastly, The Catholic church understands that the problem of sin is twofold. Not JUST against God, but the bible says that sin ALSO separates us from the body of Christ.. the believers, the commnity.

    We can go to God for forgiveness.. but HOW do we rebuild our connection to the community of believers which our sin has harmed?

    Do we go to each person individually? Just the person we THINK we harmed? OR, do we go to a representative of the community.. a person who represents us all, and asks to be reunited?

    Since Jewish times.. the Priesthood has ALWAYS represented the community. That's what Priests are all about. Thus it makes sense to follow that model and seek out a representative of the religious community and ask to be reconciled.

    Non-Catholic Christians tend to ONLY think that sin affects God OR that by going to God..they are automatically reconciled to the community, without having to admit any wrong.

    But the bible makes it very clear that our sins affect more then just God and we should seek reconciliation to ALL those we harmed.

    Secondly it is clear that the bible says if we don't confess to one another.. forgiveness will be witheld from us. And lastly, it is very clear that Christ gave his apostles SPECIAL responsibility to hear men's sins and act as Christ's mechanism of delivering his healing forgiveness.

    If you talk to a Catholic.. Confession is one of the biggest things, Catholics struggle with. Most don't use it nearly as often as they should. It is a hard thing to do to bear one's soul and be honest and to seek forgiveness. It is easier to say "I'm sorry" because when we say "I'm Sorry" we retain control because we are the one's doing something. We are the sorry ones.

    It is MUCH harder to say: "Will you forgive me?" because in doing so.. the power is shifted to the person forgiving.

    Catholics practice humbleness when seeking reconciliation, which is probably WHY Christ instituted the Sacrament in the first place.. cause he knew us.

  • 10 years ago

    Here is a biblical reason

    It is the way we feel after Confession. We do not ask the priest for forgiveness We are asking God through that priest for forgiveness

  • 10 years ago

    Some people find it easier to focus when dealing with a person. Remember, you are speaking TO God THROUGH the Priest.

  • Daver
    Lv 7
    10 years ago

    The Holy Sacrament of Reconciliation IS "praying directly to God."

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  • ?
    Lv 7
    10 years ago

    As Catholic Christians we follow what Jesus and the bible commands.

    We confess to a priest because that is the way Jesus instituted the sacrament. It is at his command that we confess to one another. When we sin against the Father our sins also affect our Christian family. Confessing sins to a priest is something that was a universal practice and never debated in the Early Church.

    Jesus himself was able to heal not only the physically sick, but the spiritually sick as well. Christ had the power to forgive sins (see Matthew 9:1-8; Mark 2:5-12).

    He passed on that power to forgive sins in his name to his Apostles.

    "Amen, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. Again, I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything for which they are to pray, it shall be granted to them by my heavenly Father." (Matthew 18:18-19)

    "Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I sent you." And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, "Receive the Holy Spirit. Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained." (John 20:21-23)

    Jesus entrusted his Church with the power of forgiving sins through this most wonderful sacrament. The priest is simply the one who acts in persona Christi (in the person of Christ) in the confessional, but it is our Lord who forgives our sins. The priest grants absolution (sets us free from our sins) using the power Jesus entrusted to his Church. It is through Christ, however, that our sins are forgiven.

    We do give our confession to God, thru the priest. As stated above the priest is the one who acts in persona Christi(in the person of Christ)

    St. Paul tells us, "And all this is from God, who has reconciled us to himself through Christ and given us the ministry of reconciliation, namely, God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting their trespasses against them and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. So we are ambassadors for Christ, as if God were appealing through us." (2 Corinthians 5: 18-20)

    Does this mean that we shouldn’t speak and pray directly to God and express sorrow for our sins? Not at all! In fact for daily faults that is exactly what we should be doing. But for more serious offenses, for grave and mortal sins, we must repent and confess through the Sacrament of Reconciliation because that is what Christ commands us to do.

    Reconciliation (also known as Confession and Penance): Penance is a Sacrament in which the sins committed after Baptism are forgiven.

    Biblical references: Matt 9:2-8; Jn 20:22-23; 2 Cor 5:17-20; James 5:13-16;

    Matt 18:18; 1 Jn 5:16

    Catholic Christian †

  • 4 years ago

    Catholics DO ask God for forgiveness. The priest is there to hold us to blame. right here is an analogy. think of you're 7 yrs previous, and you destroy your mom's well-liked vase. you experience very in charge approximately it, yet you're too nerve-racking to fess up. at last, you are able to not stand it any further, so which you're saying you probably did it. To the wall, interior the privateness of your individual room. And what a alleviation! plenty extra constructive to have that off your chest, eh? different than your mom wasn't unquestionably there, and you at the instant are not truly being held to blame for breaking the vase. by way of fact God isn't bodily right here, there is not any actual way for Him to hold us to blame for our transgressions in any way it truly is important and instantaneous to us. interior the Catholic Church, that's what the priest is there for. Why can they try this? by way of fact Jesus stated they are in a position to. John 20:23 - "Whose sins you shall forgive, they are forgiven them: and whose sins you shall maintain, they are retained." This authority replaced into given to the Apostles, and Catholic clergymen are the direct successors of the Apostles (each and every Catholic priest can hint his ecclesiastical lineage back to between the Twelve). The priest does what Christ might do have been He bodily right here to pay attention our Confessions. we are saying that the priest acts in character Christi. this does not advise that the grace of forgiveness comes from the priest; such grace comes purely from God. The priest is entirely the vehicle for that grace. we don't confess our sins to a clergyman; we confess them to God interior the presence of a clergyman. we don't ask the priest for forgiveness; we ask the priest to formally bless us with the grace of forgiveness that comes purely from God. that's a great, yet extremely significant, difference. As to why we call them "father," we understand that the Gospel of Matthew warns against calling human beings "father" who seek for the identify for his or her very very own aggrandizement. notwithstanding, Paul back and back refers to himself as a non secular father, and he's not the sole Biblical chief who's named "father" in Scripture. For adult males who *truly are* our instructors and non secular leaders, the identify "father" is sensible, and that's of course not forbidden by capability of Scripture, so long by way of fact the identify *is deserved* and is not in any way at a loss for words with the identify "Father" that we provide purely to God.

  • 10 years ago

    Because Christ Himself instituted the Sacrament of Reconciliation and Penance (aka, Confession):

    John 20:23 Of whomever sins you remit, they are remitted to them. Of whomever sins you retain, they are retained.

    That spiritual authority has been handed down from the Apostles to the priests, who act as a conduit for God's love and mercy. We don't have to sit around and wonder if our prayers for forgiveness have been heard: we receive Absolution and know that it has come from God through the person of His priest.

    Satan can't torment us with guilt and all those "Are you really sure that God heard you?" lines that he likes to use. We can turn to him and say, "I was forgiven of that sin on such and such a day through sacramental Confession and Absolution. End of subject!"

    Unless you've ever been to Confession, you really can't understand the feeling of peace and purity that comes with being set free from your sins

    Source(s): Catholic convert
  • 10 years ago

    Catholics confess. They ask forgiveness to God, not the priest

    In the Bible

    Reconciliation (also known as Confession) = The means by which God forgives sins after baptism

    *Confess your sins to men (Leviticus 5:5-6 ("All scripture…": 2 Tim 3:16), (Law is a shadow: Hebrews 10:1), 1 John 1:9, James 5:16)

    * Can men forgive sins? Only God has the power to forgive sins but He exercises this power through men. (Mark 2:7, Matthew 9:1-8)

    *Instituted by Christ (John 20:21-23)

    Edit: You're quite welcome :) ♥

    Source(s): Pagan (who studied Catholicism for 19 years)
  • Kerry
    Lv 7
    10 years ago

    While I personally do not believe in seeking forgiveness from anyone else but Jesus Christ, the concept is akin to seeking forgivenss from an "advocate" with God the Father.

    Jesus Christ is our advocate with God.

    Source(s): Lifelong Mormon
  • 10 years ago

    Confession allows the priest to know all the dirty secrets of his congregation which gives him immense power in the local community.

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