By this beautiful Sacrament God gives all sinful members of His Church, “a direct, human, and personal encounter with the mercy of God” as found in the Gospel. (CCC 1446)
In this encounter “God, the Father of mercies” pardons His faithful for post-baptism sins that they confessed to the bishop or his priests. (CCC 1448-1449).
In the liturgical actions of this sacrament, especially in the formula of absolution, Jesus Christ reaches out to us in the depth of our soul and mind to lift us to our feet, and restores us to be more perfectly what we are: His saints, the reconciled children of God. He does so “to set us free from the hands of our enemies, free to worship Him without fear, holy and righteous in His sight all the days of our life” (Luke 1.73).
Catholics must confess all known mortal sins to a priest. By doing this, we put ourselves in the state of grace necessary to receive the Holy Eucharist. Any venial, or minor sins we have committed are forgiven by receiving the Holy Eucharist.
Confessing sins to a priest is not as difficult as people think. Most people tell sensitive, delicate and confidential information to their doctor or lawyer, so why not a priest? The priest is bound by the most absolute secrecy and confidentiality known to humankind. Not even the Pope can get the priest to reveal what was said in the confessional.