Coptic Orthodox Diocese of the Southern United States
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Why does it matter if you confess to a priest instead of directly to God even when you feel remorse for your sins and confess to someone else? St. Moses the Strong never confessed to a priest, bishop, or anyone of that sort, but instead he confessed to an entire group of people. Explain why the priests and bishops act on behalf of God, and you cannot confess your sins straight to God.

Repentance is between you and God, but the Holy Mystery of Confession is to a priest as a minister of God. All the Holy Mysteries are administered by an ordained priest, or a higher ranking cleric when ordaining any of the Church orders, such as metropolitans, bishops, presbyters, and deacons. St. Moses the Strong was a disciple of St. Isidore and did indeed confess to him. Before St. Moses was baptized, he confessed publicly, because through his repentance and confessions and discipleship to his spiritual father, St. Isidore, St. Moses had reached the virtue of humility. St. Augustine of Hippo wrote his confessions in a book that is available for us to read even centuries later. Nonetheless, his spiritual father was St. Ambrose, the bishop of Milan, to whom St. Monica, the mother of St. Augustine frequently sought advice and prayers. The reason priests and bishops act on behalf of God is because that is how God established the Judeo-Christian faith to teach doctrine, spirituality, and civility. Chapters 1–5 in the Book of Leviticus outlines the function of the priest regarding how to absolve various sins committed by different people, rules, and exceptions to the rules. In the New Testament, the Lord Jesus Christ ordained His disciples and apostles as priests and gave them the authority to bind and loose sins. The major difference now is not the function of the priest, but the Sacrifice is Christ Jesus, who bears all our sins for which we repented and confessed: "Assuredly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven" (Matthew 18:18). Though we are all members of the body of Christ, each one of us has a specific role and function according to the gifts of the Holy Spirit (read 1 Corinthians 12). Thus, the Lord Jesus Christ continued the order of the priesthood from the Old Testament to the New Testament, even until now, and will preserve the doctrine and Holy Mysteries of His Church unto His Second Coming.

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