Confession: The Catholic Faith at a Glance

Sacrament of Confession

Question: Is the sacrament of confession really necessary? 

Answer: The sacrament of Confession is not only necessary for our spiritual life and for our journey to Heaven, it is a requirement (a precept, or law) of the Catholic Church. 

Without it, the soul grows dim, its power diminished, it’s connection to God’s grace weakened and cut off. The person becomes more susceptible to temptation to sin, and to its ravages in this life.  

Receiving the sacrament of Confession is one of the seven precepts (laws) of the Church.  A Catholic is required to go to confession at least once a year before Easter.  However it is generally strongly recommended to receive this sacrament more regularly than once a year, since we are sinners all year-round. A good practice might be to go to confession every month or two.

Did you know?…

Why do we confess to a priest, and not directly to God?

Simply put, because God wanted it this way.  Confessing to a priest is the model set by Jesus Christ.  It was the will of God that His mercy pass through His Son, who acts in the person of the priest.  (1 John 1:9; John 20:23).  While it is Jesus who forgives sins, the priest acts as his representative in the confessional. Jesus “receives” our confession, and grants his mercy through the priest.  By confessing to a priest we unburden ourselves of our human guilt in a real way, and we receive guidance, advice, and consolation. We then receive sacramental absolution, hearing, at the end of it, “I absolve you…your sins are forgiven”.  We have a human need to tell what we have done wrong, and a human need to hear that we are forgiven. And so the model of confessing to a priest is nourishing and liberating on a spiritual level, and on a human/psychological level.  God, who knows our human nature, since he created it, left us this sacramental model as a way to bring true healing to our whole human nature. 

There are only two human beings who ever lived who never needed to go to confession: The Blessed Mother, and our Blessed Lord.  Even the holiest of saints went to confession frequently. Some, like Pope St. John Paul II, went to confession every day.

The sacrament of Confession is available at Our Lady of Grace on Saturdays from 3:00 pm to 3:45 pm, or by appointment.