I have been reading over your site for the past 2 hours and I felt
compelled to write you. I am not Catholic, but I am a Christian. I am
not of any specific denomination - I simply believe in the Bible and the
teachings of Jesus Christ.
I am writing a paper on the Roman Catholic stance on abortion. I agree
with everything that you wrote, and I want to add that it is very
well-written and informative.
Now for questions, in a letter by Ravyn, you mentioned that baptism is
necessary for salvation. Okay, I was baptised only a few months ago, and
I attended classes to inform me of the Biblical basis of baptism. I was
led to many passages in which people were being baptised, etc. The
criminal on the cross next to Christ was not baptised, yet he was told by
Jesus that he shall inherit the kingdom of heaven. Also, Paul, in many
if not all of his apostilic letters, emphasized the importance of
salvation by grace alone, not through deeds, actions, ceremonies, etc.
Baptism is a public confession of my commitment to God - nothing more.
I have been saved for 5 years now and the Bible teaches that once I have
confessed my sins and asked the Holy Spirit into my heart that I will go
to heaven - I am saved...not ask and be baptised and you will be saved.
Another issue I wanted to address was the Catholic belief in the use of
priests as tools for confession. Again, the Bible preaches that we can
take everything to God - that through Jesus Christ we are made right with
God (not through the intervention of a priest). For example, if a woman
had an abortion and wanted to confess her sin and be forgiven, she
confesses directly to God, her Father, and His Son through prayer. The
Holy Spirit "groans" (Romans) our needs, our struggles to our Lord when
we cannot find the words to express our innermost pain. The Holy Spirit
does not groan to a priest. I would just like it if you could site me
some Bible verses that are foundations for the confessions of sins to
Thank you for your website. Your response to Reyna was beautiful; it is
so important that we exibit and explain Christ's love and compassion and
grace, especially in this day of abuse and hatred. He is not a mean,
regimental God - He is LOVE!
Thanks for the e-mail and the kind words. I'm very glad the articles on abortion were helpful. Could you send me your paper on abortion when you finish it?
Thank you also for the questions on baptism and confession. (By the way congratulations on your recent baptism.) I do not have ready answers, but would it be OK to post your letter and try an online response. You would be welcome to then add any further comments or questions. Not that we can resolve the issues since they have been around for a long time, but they are important to discuss and the points you make are very well taken. Also it's a little late & I do have services tomorrow, but wanted to get something back to you this evening.
Fr. Phil Bloom
Thank you for the quick reply! I am not extremely computer literate - but I will do my best to send my paper off to you when it's completed. I do not mind at all if you post my question, and your reply on your site. I am looking forward to your responses. In Christ, Steph
I've been pretty slow getting back to you. I did a little websurfing regarding your question. Catholic Answers has some good articles on The Necessity of Baptism and the biblical and patristic basis for Confession of Sins to a Priest
After you have had a chance to read them, please let me know what you think. I would be happy to post any comments or questions.
Fr. Phil Bloom
Addendum: (I wrote this for our parish bulletin to motivate participation in our Lenten Penance Service)
Sometimes people say, "I don't need to confess my sins to a priest. I can tell them directly to God." One reply is that God is last person you need to tell your sins to. He already knows them--even better than you do! The more appropriate question is: What does God want you to do about your sins? When we look in the Bible we find references not only to confessing our sins directly to God but to his representatives here on earth.
The founder of Protestantism, Martin Luther, knew this well. He practiced confession to a priest all of his life, even those long years after he formally broke with the Catholic Church. He never wanted the sacrament of Penance to vanish. He said:
"Secret and auricular confession....pleases me...God forbid that I should wish its abolition! I rejoice that it exists in the Church because it is the only means to restore peace to troubled consciences" (Apud Unleber, Martin Luther)
Though its form has changed slightly over the centuries the "secret and auricular confession" which Martin Luther refers to has always existed in the Catholic Church. Four hundred years before Luther, St. Bernard explained confession this way:
"Why should a person be ashamed to say what he was not ashamed to do? Why should a person be ashamed to confess to God what he cannot hide from his sight? If it is so difficult for you to confess to one sinful man (the priest), what will you do on Judgment Day when your conscience will be revealed to all?"
Besides the scheduled times for confession in Holy Family Parish, we will have special service on Thursday, April 2, at 6 p.m. Nine priests from the Archdiocese of Seattle will be hear to give everyone a chance to individually receive the Sacrament. Please plan on taking advantage of this great opportunity to experience God's love and renewal.