29. Confessing Sins to a Priest

Catholic Position

¶1493 One who desires to obtain reconciliation with God and with the
Church, must confess to a priest all the unconfessed grave sins he
remembers after having carefully examined his conscience. The
confession of venial faults, without being necessary in itself, is
nevertheless strongly recommended by the Church.

¶1456 Confession to a priest is an essential part of the sacrament of
Penance: “All mortal sins of which penitents after a diligent
self-examination are conscious must be recounted by them in confession,
even if they are most secret and have been committed against the last
two precepts of the Decalogue; for these sins sometimes wound the soul
more grievously and are more dangerous than those which are committed

When Christ’s faithful strive to confess all the sins that they can
remember, they undoubtedly place all of them before the divine mercy
for pardon. But those who fail to do so and knowingly withhold some,
place nothing before the divine goodness for remission through the
mediation of the priest, “for if the sick person is too ashamed to show
his wound to the doctor, the medicine cannot heal what it does not

¶1446 Christ instituted the sacrament of Penance for all sinful members
of his Church: above all for those who, since Baptism, have fallen into
grave sin, and have thus lost their baptismal grace and wounded
ecclesial communion. It is to them that the sacrament of Penance offers
a new possibility to convert and to recover the grace of justification.
The Fathers of the Church present this sacrament as “the second plank
[of salvation] after the shipwreck which is the loss of grace.”

¶1457 According to the Church’s command, “after having attained the age
of discretion, each of the faithful is bound by an obligation
faithfully to confess serious sins at least once a year.” Anyone who is
aware of having committed a mortal sin must not receive Holy Communion,
even if he experiences deep contrition, without having first received
sacramental absolution, unless he has a grave reason for receiving
Communion and there is no possibility of going to confession. Children
must go to the sacrament of Penance before receiving Holy Communion for
the first time.

Scripture Says

Psalm 32:5
5  I acknowledged my sin unto thee, and mine iniquity have I not
hid. I said, I will confess my transgressions unto the LORD; and thou
forgavest the iniquity of my sin.

1 John 1:9
9  If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

Psalm 51:2-3
2  Wash me throughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin.
3  For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me.

Hebrews 10:19
19 ¶  Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus,

Acts 8:18-22
18  And when Simon saw that through laying on of the apostles’ hands the Holy Ghost was given, he offered them money,
19  Saying, Give me also this power, that on whomsoever I lay hands, he may receive the Holy Ghost.
20  But Peter said unto him, Thy money perish with thee, because
thou hast thought that the gift of God may be purchased with money.
21  Thou hast neither part nor lot in this matter: for thy heart is not right in the sight of God.

Mark 2:7
7  Why doth this man thus speak blasphemies? who can forgive sins but God only?

1 Timothy 2:5
5  For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;


  • Will you confess your sins to a sinful man or to a holy God?
  • Will you wait until you enter a booth, or will you confess your sins to God now?