John Smith was the only Protestant to move into a large Catholic neighborhood. On the first Friday of Lent, John was outside grilling a big juicy steak on his grill. Meanwhile, all of his neighbors were eating cold tuna fish for supper. This went on each Friday of Lent. On the last Friday of Lent, the neighborhood men got together and decided that something had to be done about John as he was tempting them to eat meat each Friday of Lent, and they couldn’t take it anymore. So they decided to try and convert John to Catholicism. The went over and talked to him and were so happy that he decided to join all of his neighbors and become a Catholic. They took him to church, and the priest sprinkled some water over him, and said, “You were born a Baptist, you were raised a Baptist, and now you are a Catholic.” The men were so relieved – at last, their biggest Lenten temptation was resolved. Then the next year’s Lenten season rolled around. The first Friday of Lent came, and just at supper time, when the neighborhood was setting down to their tuna fish dinner, came the wafting smell of steak cooking on a grill. The neighborhood men could not believe their noses! They called each other up and decided to meet over in John’s yard to see if he had forgotten it was the first Friday of Lent? The group arrived just in time to see John standing over his grill with a small pitcher of water. He was sprinkling some water over his steak on the grill, saying, “You were born a cow, you were raised a cow, and now you are a fish.”
If I may use an analogy. Catholicism teaches that God has placed the salvation of all souls in the hands of the Pope. The Roman Pontiff in turn, has passed out this exclusive right of salvation to churches (franchises) where priests (franchisees) distribute it to the faithful (customers) from the altar (counter) thru the mass (food, i.e., wine/wafers) after hearing their confession (requests). However, there are certain things that cannot be granted at the local level, but which must go farther up the chain, some even to the head office and the man himself. These number nine in total, and automatically result in being excommunicated (barred) from being given salvation, and can only be reversed by making a personal visit to a bishop or the pope.
● Apostasy – total repudiation of the Christian faith
● Heresy – denial of a distinct Catholic doctrine
● Schism – refusal to submit to the pope’s order
● Defame – improper disposal of wine and wafers
● Assault – physically attacking the pope
● Insubordinate – appoint priest or bishop by self
● Immoral – fornication, adultery, homosexuality
● Divulge – make public a private confession
● Abortion – the person and the provider
Pope Francis announced this past week that forgiveness for one of the nine (abortion) can now be done at the lower level (priest) instead of having to go farther up (bishop). This is due to a more promiscuous younger Catholic generation and the growing backlog of abortion confessions being sent from priests to bishops.
The Bible says in I Tim. 2:5 – …there is one mediator between God and men, the man Jesus Christ, (not the priest, bishop, or pope). So yes, confession is good for the soul, just as long as that confession is made to the Saviour. Only He, and He alone, can forgive sin.