Confessing to a Priest: Why It is Done
Christians who are Protestant sometimes do not understand why a Catholic Confession involves talking to a a priest. The answer to that quandary is supported in the book of James, specifically James 5:16, which states per the NIV (New International Version) translation, as follows:
Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.
As you can see from the directive, you are not told to confess your sins solely to God. Cleansing of sin takes place when you use the authority of Jesus, which is given to men.
Mathew 9:6-8 supports these two essential points in the following text:
6 But so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins . . .” Then he said to the paralytic, “Get up, take your mat and go home.” 7 And the man got up and went home. 8 When the crowd saw this, they were filled with awe; and they praised God, who had given such authority to men.
Therefore, the Bible clarifies the reason why confession must be made through a priest. The power of God is exercised through the Christian ministry of the Catholic priest.
So, if you are Catholic and have not confessed for some time, or you are a Protestant and want to better understand Catholic traditions and rituals, knowing the reason for confession and why it is done is essential to your spiritual growth.