We constantly hear from Protestants: “I confess directly to God. He hears my confession. I don’t need to confess to a priest to have my sins forgiven.”
God may hear your direct confession, but does He accept it? Is your confession in line with what He commands in Scripture—or does your confession lack merit with God because you fail to adhere to His Words? Here’s what St Augustine had to say about confessing to a priest:
“Let no man say within himself: ‘I repent in secret to the Lord. God, who has power to pardon me, knows the inmost sentiments of my heart.’ Was there, then, no reason for saying ‘whatsoever you loose on earth, shall be loosed in heaven.’ [Mt. 18:18]. No reason why the keys were given to the Church of God?” (Lib.1 Hom. 49.)
God does not play games. He says what He means and means what He says.
It’s true that only God can forgive sins (on his own authority). But God has delegated that authority to priests in Matthew 18:18 as shown by St. Augustine above. When a priest with faculties to absolve sin (Novus Ordo priests ordained since 1969 do not have the faculties to absolve sin. They are not ordained in the true Catholic Church) says the words of absolution during confession, he forgives the penitent’s sins by the power and authority of Christ conferred to that priest through Holy Orders and by the power of God’s words in Matthew 18:18.
Does this not come right back to the teaching of the true Catholic Church?
“Outside The Catholic Church There Is No Salvation”