Jessie asked:

Why do Catholics believe they have to go to a priest for confession instead of through prayer?

Tim Staples replied:

"... Psalm 103 verses ... 1 through 3 actually tell us that it's God who forgives our sins. Isaiah 43:25 is another example. I am the Lord who forgives your sins. You would agree with me right that God forgives our sins correct?"

Jessie replied:

Yes sir.

Tim Staples replied:

"And we as Catholics believe that too but let me ask you another question. Is it possible do you think that God could, if he willed, establish a priesthood to be his instrument through which he would forgive people? In other words God forgives but could he do it through a priest?"

Jessie replied:

He definitely stated that the apostles could forgive sins right?

Tim Staples replied:

"... though God forgives sins God established a priesthood, and if you go to Leviticus 19 verses 20 through 22 for example, there are literally scores of verses we could look at in the Old Testament, it says and it's dealing here with a particular sin and it tells the sinner this is the sacrifice you take to the priest, you give the priest the priest offers it, and the bible says and the priest will make atonement for your sin before the Lord and your sin will be forgiven.

So that's what we see is that God forgives sins, but he established a priesthood in the New Testament. Jesus Christ is the God man who came to do a number of things. But one of them was to forgive sins. He forgave sins for example of the paralytic in Matthew chapter 9 verses 2 through 6 as well as Mark chapter 2. He certainly had the power to forgive sins. Well I would ask again does Jesus have the power to establish a priesthood through which he would forgive and the answer is yes. And I think Jesse you already got that 'cause in John 20 verses 21 through 23, Jesus after the resurrection came to the apostles, he breathed on them said receive the Holy Spirit. Who so ever sins you forgive are forgiven. Who so ever sins you retain they are retained. There just as in the Old Testament Jesus established, that is God established a priesthood that would be his instrument of forgiveness ... and that's why Paul would tell us in second Corinthians 5 verses 17 and 18 that God communicated to him as an apostle, Saint Paul says, the ministry of reconciliation. To reconcile sinners to God."

Source material:

Psalm 103
Bless the Lord, O my soul; and all that is within me, bless his holy name! 2 Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits, 3 who forgives all your iniquity who heals all your diseases,

Isaiah 43
24 You have not bought me sweet cane with money, or satisfied me with the fat of your sacrifices. But you have burdened me with your sins, you have wearied me with your iniquities. 25 “I, I am He who blots out your transgressions for my own sake, and I will not remember your sins.

Leviticus 19
20 “If a man lies carnally with a woman who is a slave, betrothed to another man and not yet ransomed or given her freedom, an inquiry shall be held. They shall not be put to death, because she was not free; 21 but he shall bring a guilt offering for himself to the Lord, to the door of the tent of meeting, a ram for a guilt offering. 22 And the priest shall make atonement for him with the ram of the guilt offering before the Lord for his sin which he has committed; and the sin which he has committed shall be forgiven him.

John 20 21 Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I send you.” 22 And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. 23 If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.”

2 Corinthians 5
17 Therefore, if any one is in Christ, he is a new creation;[a] the old has passed away, behold, the new has come. 18 All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation;


Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition (RSVCE)
The Revised Standard Version of the Bible: Catholic Edition, copyright © 1965, 1966 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. Catholic Answers, "Open Forum for Non-Catholics" (San Diego: Catholic Answers, 2014)

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Show air date: June 2, 2014

Name of show: Open Forum for Non-Catholics

Guest comments by: Tim Staples

Question appeared in show: 45:34

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