Category: Catholic Articles

The First 9 Fridays And First 5 Saturdays  

The First 9 Fridays And First 5 Saturdays  


The first 9 Friday’s and First 5 Saturdays.

The Five First Saturdays:

The practice of the First 5 Saturdays was requested by Our Lady to Lucia on December 10, 1925. Lucia was then a Postulant Sister in the Dorothean Convent at Tuy, Spain. On this occasion, Our Lady appeared together with the Child Jesus, Who said to Lucia: “Have compassion on the Heart of your Most Holy Mother, covered with thorns, which ungrateful men place therein at every moment, while there is no one who makes an act of reparation to withdraw them for her”.
Our Lady asked for reparation to her Immaculate Heart.

Our Lady then addressed Lucia with these words: 

“Behold, my daughter, my Heart encircled with thorns, which ungrateful men pierce at every moment by their blasphemies and ingratitude. Give me consolation, you, at least; and make known on my behalf that I promise to assist at the hour of death, with the graces necessary for salvation, all who, on the First Saturday of five consecutive months, confess their sins, receive Holy Communion, recite five decades of the Rosary, and keep me company for 15 minutes meditating on the mysteries of the Rosary, with the purpose of making reparation to my Immaculate Heart”.

There are, therefore, five requirements to fulfill the conditions of Our Lady’s promise to obtain for us “at the hour of death the graces necessary for salvation”. On five consecutive First Saturdays, one should do the following:

Go to Confession;

Receive Holy Communion;

Say five decades of the Rosary

Meditate for 15 minutes on the mysteries of the Holy Rosary before a statue of Our Lady with the goal of keeping her company.

All the conditions above should be fulfilled with the intention of making reparation to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

On the occasion of the visit of the Christ Child to Sr. Lucia (February 16, 1926), she asked: “My Jesus, what about those who forget to make their intention?” He answered: “They can do so at their next confession, taking advantage of their first opportunity to go to Confession”. 

On February 15, 1926, the Child Jesus alone visited Sr. Lucia and asked if the devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary was being propagated. Sr. Lucia spoke of a difficulty some people have in confessing on the first Saturday, and asked if they might be allowed eight days in order to fulfill Our Lady’s requests. The Christ Child answered: “Yes, even more time still, as long as they receive Me in the state of grace and have the intention of making reparation to the Immaculate Heart of Mary”.

Therefore, one can fulfill the condition of going to Confession with an 8 day grace period before or after the First Saturday. Receiving Communion, saying the ‘terço’ of the Rosary, and meditating on its mysteries before a statue of Our Lady should all be done on the First Saturday.


The First 9 Fridays:
At the end of the 17th century, Our Lord appeared to St. Margaret Mary Alocoque (1647-1690) and asked her to spread devotion to His Most Sacred Heart.

Sacred Heart of Jesus.

In a letter written to her Mother Superior in May 1688, St. Margaret Mary set out what is called The Great Promise Our Lord made regarding the Nine First Fridays and what we must do to earn it:

On a Friday, during Holy Communion, Our Lord said these words to His unworthy slave: ‘I promise you in the excessive mercy of My Heart that Its all powerful love will grant to all those who receive Holy Communion on nine first Fridays of the month consecutively the grace of final repentance, and they will not die under My displeasure or without receiving the Sacraments, My Divine Heart making Itself their assured refuge at the last moment”.

The specific conditions to fulfill the Great Promises are, therefore, twofold:

1. They must be made on nine consecutive First Fridays of the month;

2. They must receive Holy Communion; this assumes that the person is in the state of grace.

The communicant should have the intention, at least implicitly, of making reparation to the Sacred Heart of Jesus for all the sinfulness and ingratitude of men.

Our Lord made many promises to St. Margaret Mary Alacoque regarding those who practice the First nine Fridays and have a deep devotion to the Sacred Heart. The Twelve Promises listed below, which we find in prayer books and devotional cards, includes the Great Promise (n. 12.).

1. I will give them all the graces necessary for their state of life.

2. I will establish peace in their families.

3. I will console them in all their troubles.

4. They shall find in My Heart an assured refuge during life and especially at the hour of their death.

5. I will pour abundant blessings on all their undertakings.

6. Sinners shall find in My Heart, the source of an infinite ocean of mercy.

7. Lukewarm souls shall become fervent.

8. Fervent souls shall speedily rise to great perfection.

9. I will bless the homes where an image of My Heart shall be exposed and honored.

10. I will give to devotees of My Heart, the power of touching the most hardened hearts.

11. Those who propagate this devotion shall have their names written in My Heart, never to be effaced.

12. The all-powerful love of My Heart will grant to all those who shall receive Communion on the First Friday of nine consecutive months the grace of final repentance; they shall not die under My displeasure, nor without receiving their Sacraments; My Heart shall be their assured refuge at that last hour.

St. Stephen, Martry of Christ, Pray For Us! 

The Finding Of The Relics Of St. Stephen, The First Martyr (415)

The Finding Of The Relics Of St. Stephen, The First Martyr (415)


The Finding of Saint Stephen’s Relics – (415).

After St. Stephen, the first martyr, had been stoned to death by the Jews for having incontestably proven that Christ, Whom they had crucified, was the true Messiah, some pious men, filled with deep sorrow, buried him with all due reverence. Foremost among these was Gamaliel, who had formerly been a teacher, and later a disciple of St. Paul. He arranged everything so that the body of St. Stephen was carried, during the night, by some Christians, from the spot in which it lay, to his country-seat, which was a few miles from Jerusalem. In the course of time and in consequence of the persecution of the Christians in Judasa, the location of his tomb was forgotten, until it pleased the Almighty to reveal it in the time of the Emperor Honorius. There lived, at that period, in the place where St. Stephen was buried, a priest of the church of Jerusalem, named Lucian.

This second festival in honor of the holy protomartyr Saint Stephen was instituted by the Church on the occasion of the discovery of his precious remains. His body had long lain concealed under the ruins of an old tomb in Caphargamala, a place twenty miles from Jerusalem, where there was a church served by a venerable priest named Lucian.

In the year 415, on the 3rd of December, the priest Lucian was sleeping on his cot in the baptistry, where he habitually retired in order to guard the sacred vessels of the church. Being half awake, he saw a tall, comely old man of venerable aspect, clothed in white and gold, who approached him and called him by his name three times, bidding him go to Jerusalem and tell Bishop John to come and open the tombs where his remains and those of certain other servants of Christ lay. This act would permit God to open the gates of His clemency to many souls, the visitor affirmed. Lucian asked his name, and he replied, “I am Gamaliel, who instructed Saint Paul in the Law”. Gamaliel then said they would also find the tomb of Saint Stephen, protomartyr, and of Nicodemus, who came to visit Jesus at night and who, when driven out of Jerusalem by the authorities, had been sheltered by himself in his country residence at the present site. This vision was twice repeated, and on the third visit, the priest was reproached for his delay. He was promised that the discovery would cause a current famine to cease.

After the third vision, Lucian went to Jerusalem and laid the whole affair before Bishop John, who directed him to go and search himself for these relics. And Gamaliel appeared again, this time to a holy monk of the same region, to indicate the exact site where the inhabitants of the village should dig. There indeed were found three coffins or chests with the respective names engraved on them; and without opening these, Lucian sent immediately to acquaint Bishop John with the discovery. The bishop was at the Council of Diospolis, and, taking with him the bishops of Sebastis and of Jericho, he journeyed to Caphargamala.

Upon the opening of Saint Stephen’s coffin the earth trembled, and there came from the coffin an agreeable scent. There was at that moment a vast multitude of people assembled at the burial place, among whom were many persons afflicted with various maladies; seventy-three recovered their health instantly. They kissed the holy relics, and then the chests were closed again. The bishop left the relics of Gamaliel and Nicodemus for the village, and consented to leave a small portion of Saint Stephen’s relics there; then, amid the singing of psalms and hymns, the rest of them were carried to the Church of Sion in Jerusalem. They were later transferred to a magnificent church built in his honor in that city, towards the end of the fifth century. The greater part of the relics are presently in Rome.

Miracles Of St. Stephen. 

In St. Austin we have an indisputable witness of this, as he lived at the time of the discovery. Among other things, he tells us, in the twenty-second book of the “City of God,” of many great miracles wrought, in his presence, by these relics, in the city of Hippo, of which he was bishop, as also in adjacent countries. A few of these we will here relate. ⬇️

A blind woman’s sight was immediately restored, by touching her eyes with a flower, which at her request had been laid on the relics of St. Stephen. Lucillus, a bishop, was cured of a dangerous fistula by devoutly carrying the sacred relics. Eucharius, a priest, arose again to life, when they placed upon his corpse a tunic which had rested on St. Stephen’s body. Two men suffering with gout were cured by the same. A lad who was killed by being run over by a carriage, was not only restored to life, but his broken limbs were healed. A nun who had died, returned to life and health when her habit was laid on her after it had touched the sacred relics. Eleusinus placed the corpse of his child upon the spot where the relics of the saint had rested, and immediately the child lived again. Upon the head of Martial, a hardened Jew, his brother in-law–a Christian–laid a flower, which had been on the altar near the relics, and the next day the Jew requested to be baptized. Two sisters, who were afflicted with epilepsy, were instantly cured by these relics. Many other miracles are narrated by St. Austin, and he concludes with these words: “If I alone were to relate what I know of the miraculous cures performed by St. Stephen at Calama and in its neighborhood, I should have to write many books, and yet not be able to collect all of them”.

What does a non-Catholic think or say on reading or hearing these and many other things which the holy Fathers have written of the sacred relics? He rejects all these histories, and accuses St. Austin and other great teachers of falsehood and superstition. But if he believes even one of these miracles, how can he, according to the doctrines of his religion, condemn the veneration of relics and the invocation of the saints?

Practical Considerations.

I. The many miracles which God wrought through the relics of St. Stephen, are a certain sign that the veneration of sacred relics and the invocation of the Saints are pleasing to Him and beneficial to us. If they had not been allowable, or not agreeable to the Almighty, He would not have wrought the miracles nor would He have bestowed such remarkable grace upon those who venerated the relics, or invoked the Saints. Be not misled, therefore by those who speak with contempt of sacred relics or reject and denounce the veneration and invocation of the Saints. Honor as was the ancient custom, the sacred relics, and reverence the Saints and implore their intercession, as friends of God, and our faithful advocates around His throne. The church has never adored Saints or relics. To those, therefore, who say to you, “The Catholics practice idolatry with the Saints and their relics,” give the same answer that Daniel gave to each of the wicked judges, to whom he said: “Well hast thou lied against thy own head”. “Imbecile!” writes St. Jerome to the heretic Vigilantius, “who has ever adored the holy martyrs? Who has taken man to be a God?” And elsewhere he says: “We honor the sacred relics because they are of those men who became martyrs for the sake of Him Whom we worship. We honor the servants, that the honor we bestow upon them may go to the Almighty, Who says: “They who receive you, receive me”‘. Well may non-Catholics be opposed to sacred relics, as they are a continual proof of the truth of our holy religion, such as they cannot bring forward for their’s; for never yet has any one died in their belief, at whose tomb miracles have been wrought by the power of the Almighty. Should not this alone be sufficient to open their eyes and bring them to the knowledge of the truth?

II. God revealed where the body of St. Stephen lay, and caused him to be greatly honored on earth; still greater will be the glory of this, sacred body, when at the resurrection, it will be again united to the soul. Your body will also be reunited to your soul, on the day of resurrection; for our faith teaches us, that we shall rise from the dead, and receive again the body which is now our’s on earth. The reason for this is, that our body, which now partakes of our good or evil deeds, must then receive either the punishment or recompense we deserve. Hence there will be a great difference between the bodies of the just and those of sinners. Among other gifts, the body of the just will receive great beauty. Its splendor will surpass the brightness of the stars, while the body of the sinner will be more hideous and repulsive than we can imagine. The soul of the just, united to the body, will rise to Heaven, where both will enjoy more bliss than the mind of man can conceive; while the soul of the sinner, with his body, after the judgment, will be precipitated into Hell and there suffer inexpressible pains and torments, for all eternity. How will your body fare? Although I have already answered this question, several months ago, I will do so again. If you use the members of your body to commit sin and offend God, rest assured that, with your soul, it will be banished into Hell, where it will suffer the most excruciating pain, as long as God remains God. If however, you use your body in the service of the Almighty, keep it unspotted by sin, patiently carry the crosses and trials God sends you to bear, it will, with your soul, be received into Heaven, where it will enjoy unspeakable happiness, as long as God remains God.

Hence if you love your body and desire for it eternal bliss, use it as long as you are on earth in the service of the Almighty, after the example of St. Stephen. Do not defile it with sin and vice. Bear patiently all it has to suffer, and do not use its members as instruments to offend Him Who has given them to you. Consecrate it entirely to God and His service, according to the admonition of St. Paul, who says: “I beseech you, therefore, brethren, by the mercy of God, that you present your bodies, a living sacrifice, wholly pleasing unto God, your reasonable service” (Rom. 22). Besides this, remember the advice which you have heard, and use it to your own benefit. If your body desires anything wrong, refuse it, otherwise it will have to suffer for it. If it encounters a difficulty in the service of God, if it has to suffer pains, use all the strength of your soul to make it suffer without complaint, as it will be greatly rewarded. Console yourself with the hope of your future resurrection, and reward, as the Machabees and other holy martyrs and confessors have done. Say with Job: “I know that my Redeemer liveth, and in the last day, I shall rise out of the earth and shall be clothed again with my skin, and in my flesh I shall see my God”.

Prayer from the Liturgical Year, 1909.

What a precious addition to thy history in the sacred Books is furnished us, O Protomartyr, by the story of thy invention! We now know who were those “God-fearing men, who buried Stephen and “made great mourning over him”. Gamaliel, the master of the Doctor of the Gentiles, had been, before his disciple, conquered by our Lord, inspired by Jesus to Whom in dying thou didst commend thy soul, he honoured after thy death the humble soldier of Christ with the same cares which had been lavished by Joseph of Arimathea, the noble counsellor, on the Man-God, and laid thy body in the new tomb prepared for himself. Soon, Nicodemus, Joseph’s companion in the pious work of the great Friday, hunted by the Jews in that persecution in which thou were the first victim, found refuge near thy sacred relics, and dying a holy death was laid to rest beside thee.

The respected name of Gamaliel prevailed over the angry synagogue, while the family of Annas and Caiphas kept in its hands the priestly power through the precarious favour of Rome, the grandson of Hillel left to his descendants pre-eminence in knowledge, and his eldest line remained for four centuries the depositories of the only moral authority then recognised by the dispersed Israelites. But more fortunate was he in having, by hearing the Apostles and thyself, O Stephen, passed from the science of shadows to the light of the realities, from the Law to the Gospel, from Moses to Him Whom Moses announced, more happy than the eldest born, was the beloved son Abibas, baptized with his father at the age of twenty, and who, passing away to God, filled the tomb next to thine with the sweet odour of heavenly purity. How touching was the last will of the illustrious father, when, his hour being come, he ordered the grave of Abibas to be opened for himself, that father and son might be seen to be twin brothers born together to the only true light!

The munificence of our Lord had placed thee in death, O Stephen, in worthy company. We give thanks to the noble person who showed thee hospitality for thy last rest, and we are grateful to him for having, at the appointed time, himself broken the silence kept concerning him by the delicate reserve of the Scriptures. Here again we see how the Man-God wills to share His own honours with His chosen ones. Thy sepulchre, like His, was glorious, and when it was opened, the earth shook, the bystanders believed that heaven had come down, the world was delivered from a desolating drought, and amid a thousand evils hope sprang up once more. Now that our West possesses thy body and Gamaliel has yielded to Laurence the right of hospitality, rise up once more, O Stephen, and together with the great Roman deacon deliver us from the new barbarians, by converting them, or wiping them off the face of the earth given by God to His Christ.

-St. Stephen, Martyr Of Christ, Pray For Us!

Why Do Catholics Confess Their Sins To A Priest Who Also Is A Sinner? 

Why Do Catholics Confess Their Sins To A Priest Who Also Is A Sinner? 


Many non-catholic protesters had criticized the Catholic Church for its teachings on Sacrament of Confession of which for them is unbiblical. They argued that we must not confess our sins to a priest who is also a sinner. Is confession not found in the Bible?

Virtually all Protestants deny that Christ gave His disciples the power to forgive sins. In order to discuss the sacrament of confession, we need to know John 20:19-23 well:

It was the evening of the FIRST DAY of the week… . He told them, “Peace be with you.” Jesus told them again, “Peace be with you. Just as the Father has sent me, so I am sending you”. When he had said this, He BREATHED on them and told them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you FORGIVE people’s SINS, they are forgiven. If you retain people’s sins, they are retained”. (Jn.20:19:23)

Notice that when Christ confers on the disciples the power to forgive sins, He does it on “Easter Sunday”. This is significant because of the connection of the Resurrection with spiritual life. Note also that He confers the power by “breathing” on them. The only other time that God ever “breathed” on anyone was when He breathed life into the first human being (Gen 2:7). John 20:19-23 is only the 2nd time in the Bible where God “breathed” to somebody, after Adam in the time of Creation.

Ask protestants to think about these powerful symbols and how they signify an awesome life-giving “breath” power given to the disciples, the authority to forgive and not to forgive. This means a priest has to hear the sins first, so that he can know whether to forgive them or hold them bound. Thus, we should confess our sins to the apostles or their successors (priests).

Protestants say that they confess their sins directly to God, while Catholics confess their sins only to priests. That’s wrong! Catholics always confess their sins to God. They do it directly as well as through His ministers (priest) because that is what God requires as clearly taught in Scripture. Catholic believes that only God can forgive sins, but you cannot limit God if He will give his authority to forgive to others. The problem of confessing sins directly to God is, how certain that you are forgiven? Who will confirm that you are really forgiven?

That is why we need priests to help us reconcile with God. In 2 Cor 5:17-20, St. Paul explains on how the Apostles are ambassadors of Christ’s work of reconciliation. What does this mean but that they share in the ministry of Christ and forgive sins in His name? Also know James 5:14-16. Note how Apostle James makes clear that the sins of the sick are forgiven in this sacrament.

“Is anyone ill among you? Let him bring in the PRIESTS (Presbyters) of the Church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. And a prayer of faith will save the infirm, and the Lord will alleviate him. And if he has SINS, these will be FORGIVEN him. Therefore, CONFESS YOUR SINS to one another, and pray for one another, so that you may be saved. For the unremitting prayer of a just person prevails over many things”. (James 5:14-16).

The above passage, showed that the presbyters (priests) must be called. They clearly had the authority that the ordinary Christians have not – the power to forgive sins. Otherwise, why didn’t James simply ask them to call fellow Christians to pray over them?

Finally, return to John 20:21: “As the Father has sent me, so I send you”. The Apostles are to continue the mission of Christ. Because Christ would soon ascend to Heaven. What was at the heart of that mission? To forgive sins. How? By letting people confess their sins.

Can A Sinner Priest Forgive Sins?

Who are we to oppose God’s mercy in using a sinner priest as an instrument for reconciliation? A sinner priest can forgive sins in the Bible. St. PAUL as priest forgave sins while he was also a sinner.⬇️

✔️St. Paul served as a priest (Rom.15:16).

✔️St. Paul was also a sinner (Rom.7:14).

✔️St. Paul had Forgiven sins (2 Cor.2:10).

In the Old Testament, only priests (sinner or not) have the authority to make offerings for the atonement of sins, so that it will be forgiven (Lev.4:26). In the same manner, Christ gave his authority to forgive to the apostles and his successors (Jn. 19:20-23).  The apostles had appointed successors (priest) in every city they visited, to continue their ministry (Titus 1:5, Act 14:23). The authority of forgiving sins does not depend on the worthiness of the priest.

Why Confession Is Necessary.

You might ask why we still need to confess our sins, if God already knew it (Ps.69:5). Simply, God knows our human nature. He provided for sacramental confession so that we could be certain of forgiveness, be given spiritual direction, and be helped in our tendency to self-deception and rationalization in matters of sin. Through confession, we are also humbled down when we utter our sins to a fellow human being.

Humans are sensible beings, we need our senses to be filled in order for us to satisfy our desire of being forgiven. When we hear the words of absolution from the priest, it makes us certain that we are forgiven, plus the spiritual advices given by the priest. When the priest confirmed that our sins are forgiven, our heart and mind will be at peace then.

In the Bible, when King David committed sins, he had confessed it to Prophet Nathan, 2 Sam.12:13 says:⏬

At this point, David told Nathan: “I have sinned against the LORD”. Nathan responded to David, “There’s one other thing: the LORD has FORGIVEN your sin”.

David already repented of his sins to God, but he still needed to confess it to Nathan (a prophet). It was Nathan then who confirmed that David was forgiven.

The Catholic Church teaches that sacramental confession requires three “acts” on the part of the penitent:⏬

✔️ Contrition (sorrow of the soul for the sins committed), 

✔️ Disclosure of the sins (the ‘confession’), & 

✔️ Satisfaction (the ‘penance’, i.e. doing something to make amends for the sins).

Protestant’s Argument.

Non-Catholics usually refer that power to forgive sins to the general body of believers when they quote Matthew 6:14-15 ⏬“If you forgive others their sins, your heavenly Father will forgive you. But if you do not forgive others, neither will your Father forgive your sins”.

However the above passage, clearly emphasized that believers have no power to retain ones sins, unlike in John 20:19-23 where the Apostles had given the power to forgive and to retain sins.

What Early Christians Believe.

Ancient writings from the Early Christians had attested that the ministry of confession was really continued as has been started by the Apostles.

🚩 The Didache (Written 70 AD) 🗞️

“Confess your sins in church, and do not go up to your prayer with an evil conscience. This is the way of life. . . , On the Lord’s Day gather together, break bread, and give thanks, after confessing your transgressions so that your sacrifice may be pure”. (Didache 4:14,14:1).

🚩 The Letter of Barnabas (74 AD).🗞️

“You shall judge righteously. You shall not make a schism, but you shall pacify those that contend by bringing them together. You shall confess your sins. You shall not go to prayer with an evil conscience. This is the way of light”. (Letter of Barnabas 19).

🚩Ignatius of Antioch (110 AD) .🗞️

“For as many as are of God and of Jesus Christ are also with the Bishop. And as many as shall, in the exercise of penance, return into the unity of the Church, these, too, shall belong to God, that they may live according to Jesus Christ”. (Letter to the Philadelphians 3).

🚩Hippolytus (written 215AD).🗞️

“The Bishop conducting the ordination of the new Bishop shall pray. . .’pour forth now that power which comes from you, from your Royal Spirit, which you gave to, ministering night and day to propitiate unceasingly before your face and to offer to you the gifts of your holy Church, and by the Spirit of the high priesthood to have the authority to forgive sins, in accord with your command'” (Apostolic Tradition 3).

🚩 Origen (248 AD). 🗞️

A filial method of forgiveness, albeit hard and laborious [is] the remission of sins through penance, when the sinner does not shrink from declaring his sin to a priest of the Lord and from seeking medicine, after the manner of him who say, “I said, to the Lord, I will accuse myself of my iniquity” (Homilies in Leviticus 2:4).

🚩 Cyprian (251 AD). 🗞️

The Apostle [Paul] likewise bears witness and says: “Whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord unworthily will be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord” [I Cor. 11:27]. But [the impenitent] spurn and despise all these warnings; before their sins are expiated, before they have made a confession of their crime, before their conscience has been purged in the ceremony and at the hand of the priest, they do violence to his body and blood, and with their hands and mouth they sin against the Lord more than when they denied him. (The Lapsed 15:1-3).

🚩John Chrysostom (written 387 AD).

Priests have received a power which God has given neither to angels nor to archangels. It was said to them:

“Whatsoever you shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatsoever you shall loose, shall be loosed”. Temporal rulers have indeed the power of binding: but they can only bind the body. Priests, in contrast, can bind with a bond which pertains to the soul itself and transcends the very heavens. Did [God] not give them all the powers of heaven?

“Whose sins you shall forgive,” he says, “they are forgiven them; whose sins you shall retain, they are retained”. The Father has given all judgment to the Son. 

And now I see the Son placing all this power in the hands of men [Matt. 10:40; John 20:21-23]. (The Priesthood 3:5).

The basic form of confession has not changed since the start of Christianity. A Catholic priest also has to confess his sins to another priest. And even a Pope needs to confess his sins to any priests or Bishop.

Clearly, Christ gave His disciples the power to forgive sins. This power was obviously intended to be passed on, since Christ knew people would still commit sin until the end of time. Early Church history confirms that Christians believed this power was passed on to the disciples’ successors. If early christians believed in confession, why then, do protestants don’t?
++++

WHY CATHOLICS CONFESS SINS TO A PRIEST WHO ALSO IS A SINNER? 

Many non-catholic protesters had criticized the Catholic Church for its teachings on Sacrament of Confession of which for them is unbiblical. They argued that we must not confessed our sins to a priest who is also a sinner. Is confession not found in the Bible? 

Virtually all Protestants deny that Christ gave His disciples the power to forgive sins. In order to discuss the sacrament of confession, we need to know John 20:19-23 well: ⏬

“It was the evening of the FIRST DAY of the week… . He told them, “Peace be with you.” Jesus told them again, “Peace be with you. Just as the Father has sent me, so I am sending you.” When he had said this, He BREATHED on them and told them, “Receive the Holy Spirit.  If you FORGIVE people’s SINS, they are forgiven. If you retain people’s sins, they are retained.” (Jn.20:19:23)

Notice that when Christ confers on the disciples the power to forgive sins, He does it on “Easter Sunday”. This is significant because of the connection of the Resurrection with spiritual life. Note also that He confers the power by “breathing” on them. The only other time that God ever “breathed” on anyone was when He breathed life into the first human being (Gen 2:7). John 20:19-23 is only the 2nd time in the Bible where God “breathed” to somebody, after Adam in the time of Creation. 

Ask protestants to think about these powerful symbols and how they signify an awesome life-giving “breath” power given to the disciples, the authority to forgive and not to forgive. This means a priest has to hear the sins first, so that he can know whether to forgive them or hold them bound. Thus, we should confess our sins to the apostles or their successors (priests).  

Protestants say that they confess their sins directly to God, while Catholics confess their sins only to priests. That’s wrong! Catholics always confess their sins to God. They do it directly as well as through His ministers (priest) because that is what God requires as clearly taught in Scripture. Catholic believes that only God can forgive sins, but you cannot limit God if He will give his authority to forgive to others. The problem of confessing sins directly to God is, how certain that you are forgiven? Who will confirm that you are really forgiven?

That is why we need priests to help us reconcile with God. In 2 Cor 5:17-20, St. Paul explains on how the  Apostles are ambassadors of Christ’s work of reconciliation. What does this mean but that they share in the ministry of Christ and forgive sins in His name? Also know James 5:14-16. Note how Apostle James makes clear that the sins of the sick are forgiven in this sacrament.

” Is anyone ill among you? Let him bring in the PRIESTS (Presbyters) of the Church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. And a prayer of faith will save the infirm, and the Lord will alleviate him. And if he has SINS, these will be FORGIVEN him. Therefore, CONFESS YOUR SINS to one another, and pray for one another, so that you may be saved. For the unremitting prayer of a just person prevails over many things.” (James 5:14-16)

The above passage, showed that the presbyters (priests) must be called. They clearly had the authority that the ordinary Christians have not – the power to forgive sins. Otherwise, why didn’t James simply ask them to call fellow Christians to pray over them? 

Finally, return to John 20:21: “As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” The Apostles are to continue the mission of Christ. Because Christ would soon ascend to Heaven. What was at the heart of that mission? To forgive sins. How? By letting people confess their sins. 

CAN A SINNER PRIEST FORGIVE SINS? 

Who are we to oppose God’s mercy in using a sinner priest as an instrument for reconciliation? A sinner priest can forgive sins in the Bible. St. PAUL as priest forgive sins while he was also a sinner. ⬇️

✔️St. Paul served as a priest (Rom.15:16). 
✔️St. Paul was also a sinner (Rom.7:14)
✔️St. Paul had Forgive sins (2 Cor.2:10) 

In the Old Testament, only priests (sinner or not) have the authority make offering for the atonement of sins, so that it will be forgiven (Lev.4:26). In the same manner, Christ gave his authority to forgive to the apostles and his successors (Jn. 19:20-23).  The apostles had appointed successors (priest) in every city they visited, to continue their ministry (Titus 1:5, Act 14:23). The authority of forgiving sins does not depend on the worthiness of the priest.  

WHY CONFESSION IS NECESSARY? 

You might ask why we still need to confess our sins, if God already knew our it (Ps.69:5). Simply, God knows our human nature. He provided for sacramental confession so that we could be certain of forgiveness, be given spiritual direction, and be helped in our tendency to self-deception and rationalization in matters of sin. Through confession we are also humbled down when we uttered our sins to a fellow human being. 

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Humans are sensible beings, we need that our senses be filled in order for us to satisfy our desire of being forgiven. When we hear the words of absolution from the priest, it makes us certain that we are forgiven, plus the spiritual advices given by the priest.  When the priest confirmed that our sins are forgiven, our heart and mind will be at peace then.  

In the Bible, when King David committed sins, he had confessed it to Prophet Nathan,  2 Sam.12:13 says:⏬

“At this point, David told Nathan, “I have sinned against the LORD.” Nathan responded to David, “There’s one other thing: the LORD has FORGIVEN your sin.”

David already repented his sins to God, but he still need to confessed it to Nathan (a prophet). It was Nathan then who confirmed that David was forgiven. 

The Catholic Church teaches that sacramental confession requires three “acts” on the part of the penitent:⏬
✔️ Contrition (sorrow of the soul for the sins committed), 

✔️ Disclosure of the sins (the ‘confession’), & 

✔️ Satisfaction (the ‘penance’, i.e. doing something to make amends for the sins). 

Protestant’s Argument

Non-Catholics usually refer that power to forgive sins to the general body of believers when they quote Matthew 6:14-15: ⏬

“If you forgive others their

sins, your heavenly Father will forgive you. But if you do not forgive others, neither will your Father forgive your sins.”

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However the above passage, clearly emphasized that believers have no power to retain ones sins, unlike in John 20:19-23 where the Apostles had given the power to forgive and to retain sins. 

WHAT EARLY CHRISTIANS BELIEVE? 

Ancient writings from the Early Christians had attested that the ministry of confession was really continued as has been started by the Apostles.

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🚩 The Didache (Written 70 AD) 🗞️

“Confess your sins in church, and do not go up to your prayer with an evil conscience. This is the way of life. . . , On the Lord’s Day gather together, break bread, and give thanks, after confessing your transgressions so that your sacrifice may be 

pure.” (Didache 4:14,14:1) 

🚩The Letter of Barnabas (74 AD) 🗞️

” You shall judge righteously. You shall not make a schism, but you shall pacify those that contend by bringing them together. You shall confess your sins. You shall not go to prayer with an evil conscience. This is the way of light (Letter of Barnabas 19)

🚩Ignatius of Antioch (110 AD) 🗞️

“For as many as are of God and of Jesus Christ are also with the bishop. And as many as shall, in the exercise of penance, return into the unity of the Church, these, too, shall belong to God, that they may live according to Jesus Christ.” (Letter to the Philadelphians 3)

🚩Hippolytus (written 215AD) 🗞️

” The bishop conducting the ordination of the new bishop shall pray. . . pour forth now that power which comes from you, from your Royal Spirit, which you gave to, ministering night and day to propitiate unceasingly before your face and to offer to you the gifts of your holy Church, and by the Spirit of the high priesthood to have the authority to forgive sins, in accord with your command (Apostolic Tradition 3). 

🚩 Origen (248 AD) 🗞️

A filial method of forgiveness, albeit hard and laborious [is] the remission of sins through penance, when the sinner does not shrink from declaring his sin to a priest of the Lord and from seeking medicine, after the manner of him who say, “I said, to the Lord, I will accuse myself of my iniquity” (Homilies in Leviticus 2:4). 

🚩 Cyprian (251 AD) 🗞️ 

“The Apostle [Paul] likewise bears witness and says: “Whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord unworthily will be 

guilty of the body and blood of the Lord “[I Cor. 11:27]. But [the impenitent] spurn and despise all these warnings; before their sins are expiated, before they have made a confession of their crime, before their conscience has been purged in the ceremony and at the hand of the priest, they do violence to his body and blood, and with their hands and mouth they sin against the Lord more than when they denied him.” (The Lapsed 15:1-3). 

🚩John Chrysostom (written 387 AD) 🗞️

Priests have received a power which God has given neither to angels nor to archangels. It was said to them: “Whatsoever you shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatsoever you shall loose, shall be loosed.” Temporal rulers have indeed the power of binding: but they can only bind the body. Priests, in contrast, can bind with a bond which pertains to the soul itself and transcends the very heavens. Did [God] not give them all the powers of heaven? “Whose sins you shall forgive,” he says, “they are forgiven them; whose sins you shall retain, they are retained.” The Father has given all judgment to the Son. 

And now I see the Son placing all this power in the hands of men [Matt. 10:40; John 20:21-23].  (The Priesthood 3:5) .

The basic form of confession has not changed since the start of Christianity. A Catholic priest also has to confess his sins to another priest. And even a Pope needs to confess his sins to any priests or bishops. 

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Clearly, Christ gave His disciples the power to 

forgive sin. This power was obviously intended to be passed on, since Christ knew people would still commit sin until the end of time. Early Church history confirms that Christians believed this power was passed on to the disciples’ successors. If early christians believed in confession why protestants don’t? 

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Saint Anne Foretold About The Birth Of Mary From An Angel By The Venerable Mary Agreda From The Mystical City Of God 

Saint Anne Foretold About The Birth Of Mary From An Angel By The Venerable Mary Agreda From The Mystical City Of God 

Saint Anne Foretold About the Birth of Mary from an Angel By The Venerable Mary Agreda from The Mystical City of God.

Ven. Mary of AgredaDied in 1665 and was later discovered incorrupt. She is credited with Authoring the “Mystical City of God” through Revelation from the Blessed Virgin Mary. Her body has been examined again in later years, including in 1909 and 1989 with no degradation to the body. Her body has remained incorrupt for over 340 years and is kept in a convent in Spain. 

THIS IS ONE OF HER MANY HEAVENLY VISIONS.

The thrice blessed Anne was exalted in prayer and divine contemplation and totally wrapped up in the mystery of the Incarnation, which, after having been previously filled with a most high understanding and a specially infused light, she solicited from the eternal Word. With the profoundest humility and lively faith she was praying for the hastening of the coming of the Redeemer of the human race in the following words: 

“Most high King and Lord of all creation, I, a most vile and despicable creature, and yet the work of thy hands, desire at the price of the life which Thou hast given me, to urge Thee to hasten in thy mercy the time of our salvation. O may thy infinite kindness incline towards our need! O that our eyes might look upon the Restorer and the Redeemer of men! Remember, O Lord, the mercies of old shown to thy people, wherein Thou hast promised thy Only begotten, and may this promise of infinite kindness unbend Thee! May it come now, that day so much longed for! Is it possible, that the Most High should descend from his holy heaven? Is it possible, that He is to have a terrestrial Mother? What woman shall She be, that is so fortunate and blessed? O who shall be so favored as to look upon Her? Who shall be worthy to be the servant of her servants? Blessed the race, that shall be able to see Her and prostrate themselves at her feet to reverence Her! How sweet shall be the sight of Her and her company! Blessed the eyes, that shall see Her and the ears, that shall listen to her words, and the family, from whom the Most High shall select his Mother! Execute, O Lord, this decree: fulfill thy divine benevolence!” 

“The humility, faith and the alms of Joachim and of thyself have come before the throne of the Most High and now He sends me, his angel, in order to give thee news full of joy for thy heart: His Majesty wishes, that thou be most fortunate and blessed. He chooses thee to be the mother of Her who is to conceive and bring forth the Only begotten of the Father. Thou shalt bring forth a Daughter, who by divine disposition shall be called MARY. She shall be blessed among women and full of the Holy Ghost. She shall be the cloud that shall drop the dew of heaven for the refreshment of mortals (III Kings 18, 44): and in He shall be the fulfilment of the prophecies of thy ancestors. She shall be the portal of life and salvation for the sons of Adam. Know also that I have announced to Joachim, that he shall have a Daughter who shall be blessed and fortunate: but the full knowledge of the mystery is not given him by the Lord, for he does not know, that She is to be the Mother of the messiah. Therefore, thou must guard this secret; and go now to the temple to give thanks to the Most High for having been so highly favored by his powerful right hand. In the Golden Gate, thou shalt meet Joachim, where thou wilt confer with him about this tiding. Thou art the one, who art especially blessed of the Lord and whom He wishes to visit and enrich with more singular blessings. In solitude, He will speak to thy heart and there give a beginning to the law of grace, since in thy womb He will give being to Her, who is to vest the Immortal with mortal flesh and human form. In this humanity, united with the Word, will be written, as with his own blood, the true law of Mercy”.

In order that the humble heart of the holy Anne might not faint away with admiration and joy at these tidings of the holy angel, she was strengthened by the holy Spirit and thus she heard it and received it with magnanimity and incomparable joy. Immediately arising she hastened to the temple of Jerusalem, and there found saint Joachim, as the angel had foretold to them both. Together they gave thanks to the Almighty for this wonderful blessing and offered special gifts and sacrifices. They were enlightened anew by the grace of the Holy Spirit, and, full of divine consolation, they returned to their home. Joyfully they conversed about the favors, which they had received from the Almighty, especially concerning each one’s message of the archangel Gabriel, whereby, on behalf of the Lord, they had been promised a Daughter who should be most blessed and fortunate.

On this occasion they also told each other, how the same angel, before their espousal, had commanded each to accept the other, in order that together they might serve God according to his divine will. This secret they had kept from each other for twenty years, without communicating it, until the same angel had promised them the issue of such a Daughter. Anew the made the vow to offer Her to the temple and that each year on this day they would come to the temple to offer special gifts, spend the day in praise and thanksgiving, and give many alms. This vow they fulfilled to the end of their lives, spending this day in great praise and exaltation of the Most High. The prudent matron Anne never disclosed the secret, that her Daughter was to be the Mother of the messiah, either to Joachim or to any other creature. Nor did that holy parent in the course of his life know any more than that She was to be a grand and mysterious woman. However, in the last moments of his life, the Almighty made the secret known to him…

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