Question:

I was born into a Catholic faith but a non-church going family. I have now and "always" had a problem with the Catholic faith saying that we cannot get absolution unless we have confessed our sins to a priest. I have not been to confession in over 40 years. I do pray almost daily, asking for forgiveness and guidance. I confess my sins to Jesus and God in silent prayer with sincere regret and sorrow and truly try to amend my ways by sinning no more. Is not this enough to receive absolution?

Over a decade ago I did commit the mortal sin of adultery several times. All involved alcohol. I'll forever have guilty feelings for and beg whole heartily for forgiveness and absolution. I did not confess to my husband since I see no reason to hurt this wonderfully good man to ease my own conscience. It would devastate him and cause great pain. I have lost my way and now have found my marriage. It now is a good one. We are happy together. I make a sincere practice to make amends to my husband each and every day. Am I not doing the right things to be in God's good grace, even if my faith is Catholic? Is confession to a priest really necessary to be a good Christian deserving of eternal life with God?

Thank you for your response. The only answer I get from the Catholic faith is that the confession to a priest is necessary and I must follow the true faith or I am doomed. I just do not feel that this is correct.


Answer:

As you know, I am not Catholic and I do not teach Catholicism. I teach the Christian faith as taught in the New Testament. Paul states, "I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called, with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love, endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all" (Ephesians 4:1-6). There is only one way that God accepts as pleasing to Him and that is the way He taught. "I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel, which is not another; but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed. For do I now persuade men, or God? Or do I seek to please men? For if I still pleased men, I would not be a bondservant of Christ" (Galatians 1:6-10). The way that God accepts is not up to you or me, we cannot tell God what He ought to find acceptable. So in one sense, you were told correctly that you must follow the one true faith to please God, but Catholicism isn't that way.

In regards to confession to a priest, there is no separate priesthood in Christ's church, let alone a requirement that sins are forgiven by confession to a priest. In the church every Christian is a priest, able to bring prayers directly to God. See Do we have to do penance? for details.

I would like to invite you to look into your Bible and learn what God wants you to do for yourself. Here is an article to get you started: We Are Simply Christians Without Being Members of Any Denomination, You Can be Too!