Q:

Why do people confess sins to priests?

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Quick Answer

According to the Holy Bible in James 5:16, God commands people to confess sins to one another. The Scripture does not say confess your sins to God. Catholics confess their sins to priests simply because they are following Jesus' command. Jesus forgives sins through the priests.

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Full Answer

The Holy Scripture also notes that the authority to forgive sins was given to men. The book of Matthew states that Jesus had the authority to forgive sins because he was sent by the Holy Father. But, as the book of John indicates, after the night of his resurrection, Jesus gathered his disciples and told them, "Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I send you." The same book points that Jesus also told them, "Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained." This is interpreted by theologians as a delegation of the authority to forgive sins.

According to the Pennsylvania Catholic Conference of Bishops, a catholic must meet three conditions to be forgiven: be truly repentant, be determined to avoid sin in the future and be willing to make reparations with the injured parties.

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