Why Confess to a Priest? (Special Podcast Highlight)

Patrick Madrid is asked by Mary about the topic of confession and why Catholics go to a priest to have their sins forgiven. He provides an explanation based on biblical references.

Patrick begins by emphasizing that Jesus came to forgive sins and save people from sin through his death on the cross. The reason for going to confession is derived from Jesus’ own words in John chapter 20. After the resurrection, Jesus appears to the apostles and tells them that just as the Father sent him to forgive sins, he is now sending them. He breathes on them, gives them the Holy Spirit, and grants them the authority to forgive or retain sins.

Patrick also refers to St. Paul’s writings in 2 Corinthians 5:18-20, where Paul speaks of being reconciled to God and entrusted with the ministry of reconciliation. This ministry is seen as a special authority given to the apostles and their successors, not to all Christians in a general sense.

Additionally, he cites James chapter 5, where St. James instructs the sick to call for the priests of the church to pray over them, anoint them with oil, and forgive their sins. This connection between summoning priests and the forgiveness of sins is seen as evidence of the sacrament of confession.

Patrick refers to a story in Mark chapter 1, where a leper is healed by Jesus. After being healed, Jesus instructs the leper to go to the priest and offer the prescribed cleansing ritual as proof to the people. This highlights the communal aspect of confession, where sins not only rupture the relationship with God but also the relationship with the body of Christ. Confession is seen as a means of restoration both to the life of grace through absolution and to the community of believers.

Patrick Madrid is an acclaimed public speaker and has authored or edited 26 books, which have sold over a million copies worldwide, including foreign-language editions. He hosts The Patrick Madrid Show daily on Relevant Radio.