Why does the Church teach that we go to confession?
A lot of people were never truly taught why Catholics believe in confession, especially as a cradle Catholic. If you have friends who are of another religion, it can be difficult to explain the "why" behind it.
There are very beautiful reasons why we should be meeting Jesus in the confessional. In the book of James, we are told to confess our sins to one another but especially to priests who can administer the sacraments. As Catholics, we believe priestly authority comes from the apostles. In the gospel of Matthew, we hear that the apostles had the authority to bind and lose what is in heaven. And again in the gospel of John, that the apostles can forgive or retain sin. The early church did not question this.
In 251, St. Cyprien said, "With grief and simplicity confess this very thing to God's priests and make the conscientious a vowel. Put off from them the load of their minds and seek out salutatory medicine even for slight and moderate wounds." This shows us that until the protestant reformation, confessing your sins to a priest was the norm and was celebrated.
Looking into and gathering this understanding of what did Jesus say about confession? What does the Catechism teach us? It teaches that there really is no such thing as a private sin. There is a secret sin... there is no sin that is private because each sin affects our ability to serve the church and severs us from God. The sacrament exists not to bring shame to us but to invite us to tell the Lord I'm sorry for what I've done & to receive His graces.
What are words of advice you have for women who are hesitant or afraid to go to confession or who might have had a bad experience?
Confession is not this scary black box and go in to talk about how bad you are. That is NOT what confession. It is a time to meet with Jesus, ask Him for forgiveness and to help you do better.
Being comfortable with confession is like a muscle. The more that you embrace this sacrament and take advantage from this beautiful sacrament we have, the more graces that are going to flow from it to strength you & dissolve that fear of confession.
What do we know about Christ? He loves us perfectly. Perfect love casts out fear. This means we should go to confession when we are scared or afraid. If you are scared, pray to Jesus about it & tell Him how you feel. It's okay to tell the priest to tell the priest that you are nervous and you might need help getting through it. A good priest will hear that and be open to walking you through the sacrament.
Do you have any other advice or one specific piece of advice that youwant every young Catholic woman to know?
“Remembering that Jesus sees you as his beloved daughter. There is nothing that can take away the love that He has for you.” -Katlyn