This is in response to a posting today from a fellow WordPress blogger who does not understand that we are to receive Christ’s forgiveness through a priest. The basis for the Catholic Church’s teaching stems from the often heard: “Do Catholics believe in the Bible?” “Yes, the entire Bible.”
John 20: 21-22: “Jesus said to them again, ‘Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I send you.’ And when he has said this, he breathed on them, and said to them, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.’”
James 5:16 “Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man has great power in its effects.”
Jesus continues to forgive sins through the priests who, with the Pope and bishops, exist because of apostolic succession. Our Savior knew that , while Church leaders would never be sinless, His Church would not teach error because of the guidance of the Holy Spirit. He did not scrap apostolic succession because Peter denied Him three times and Judas betrayed him. He said He would be with us always until His second coming.1 My prayer is that some day all Christians will avail themselves of the wonderful gift of the Sacrament of Reconciliation!
1 – “Go therefore make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, to the close of the age.” (Matthew 28:19-20) This and the other verses are taken from The Holy Bible, Revised Standard Version, Catholic edition, Ignatius Press, San Francisco, 1966.