Religion, churches, and denominational practices have made many people skeptical of going to places of worship. With all of the traditions, rituals, and doctrines associated with many denominations within a faith practice, one can’t help but wonder what is the truth. Perhaps that is why so many people use the term ‘spiritual’ to describe themselves instead of religious.
While growing up in my early years, I was introduced to Catholicism. From an early age, I was very involved in the Catholic church, so much so that I contemplated becoming a priest. When people asked me back then why I didn’t do it, the answer I gave them was because I couldn’t see myself living a life unable to get married. Because marriage is such a sacred institution, I found myself giving up on becoming a Catholic priest.
As I got older and more mature in my faith, I also questioned the need to go to a Catholic priest for confession to have my sins absolved. Isn’t that between an individual and God? How could a human being perform such a sacred act?
Without trying to bash or demean the Catholic faith, I’m concerned that too many people are confused about who is able to forgive sins. In addition to that, I’m also worried that the Catholic church isn’t in any position to tell someone who is forgiven and who is not.
Case in point — It was announced last week that Pope Frances has ordered Roman Catholic priests to bestow a full pardon on women who have had an abortion, as well as those in the medical profession who have performed such a procedure. Let me say right here that I am not issuing an opinion about whether I’m for or against abortion; I’m simply raising the concern that those who wish to confess what they believe was wrong and a sin don’t have to go to a priest to receive full pardon, or should I say, absolution. What’s even more troubling is that the Pope has granted this order to take place next year as part of a special Holy Year of Mercy.
Here are some serious questions for us to consider:
1. Why is there a timeline as to when a sin can be forgiven?
2. Does the Bible give a Catholic priest authority to do so?
3. How is one sin greater than another sin?
My theological training has taught me that only God is able to forgive one’s sins. My theological training has also taught me that any religion that seeks to confine an individual by its rules and doctrines instead of teaching them to embrace their identity that is shaped in divinity will always keep that individual from experiencing their zenith moment with the Creator.
In case you’re not familiar with it, the Catholic church views abortion as a serious sin, and it can lead to a person being excommunicated from the church. Think about it for a moment. How can the Catholic church excommunicate someone from the life of the church for abortion, but yet keep many priests around in churches who have been found guilty of being a pedophile? Something is inherently wrong and crooked with this.
In my opinion, whenever a person seeks God’s forgiveness, they are able to do it on their own. All a person has to do is look at 1 John 1:9 which states, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and purify us from all righteousness.” Please note — it did not say that you have to go to a priest. Neither did it say that one must wait for instructions from the pope. It simply said “CONFESS.”
Again I’m not here to argue or debate on the issue of abortion; I just want to set the record straight to those who are Catholic and believe in some of the false doctrine.
Dr. Sinclair Grey III is an activist, speaker, writer, author, life coach, and host of The Sinclair Grey Show heard on Mondays at 2pm on WAEC Love 860am (iHeart Radio and Tune In). Contact him at email@example.com or on Twitter @drsinclairgrey