sorry for sins

Sorry Seems To Be The Hardest Word

One of the most controversial aspects of Catholicism is the Sacrament of Penance. The majority of the people outside the church don’t understand it, but neither do many inside the church. Why do we have to tell a priest our sins? Can’t we just tell God directly?

According to Fr. Eamon Tobin at, the Church requires us to go to confession, because despite our best efforts and the grace of baptism, we continue to sin against God and each other. But the most important reason

why the Catholic Church asks her members to confess their sins to a priest is simply because the Church has always believed that sin, however private, is a community affair. Every sin, however small, wounds the Body of Christ, the members of the Church. . . . When any of its members sin, they all suffer. Moreover, because my sins wound the community and diminish its effectiveness, reconciliation must include the community and not just God. In the confessional, the priest is the representative of God and of the community. In the confessional, the priest represents the whole Christ, the Head (Jesus) and the members (the Church).

We would like to think that our sins go unnoticed or are unseen. We are like the child who steals a piece of candy from a store, sure that no one will ever notice. Or we become the rationalizing adolescent who thinks to herself, “Hey, it’s a big store – they have lots of money. They won’t miss one pair of earrings.”

What we must realize in order to mature in our faith life is that each of our sins – even if they go unnoticed, unseen, hidden away – still harm us and others. That girl who makes a habit of shoplifting becomes an untrustworthy friend and employee. A man addicted to porn in private ends up distancing himself from his wife and family. Imagine the wounds of the Body of Christ: not necessarily the grave wounds of the cross, but the millions and millions of tiny wounds we inflict upon the Body of Christ every day because of our sin.

Lent is the perfect time to got to confession, especially if you have not been in awhile. (Even if “awhile” is years. Or decades. It’s okay.) The Unites States Conference of Catholic Bishops have given us this guide to the sacrament and instructions on how to go to confession.

Remember that no matter what you are feeling, God is waiting for you with great joy. He wants the opportunity to unburden you. He longs to hear that you are sorry for misusing the gifts He’s given to you, and most of all, He wants to tell you, “You are forgiven. Go and sin no more.”