Confession to a priest is depicted in movies or TV shows as something noteworthy, something around which a plot revolves. But what does confession actually do? What comes about in the soul of the person confessing and in the person’s relationship with God and others?
The primary effect of confession is reconciliation with God. The person is restored to friendship with God, a friendship which sin had disrupted in varying levels of hurtfulness. One’s conscience is restored to peace with God and others.
Confession also effects a restoration with the community at large. In some way, our sin damages others. Being sorry for sins and confessing them brings about in a mysterious way the sharing of spiritual goods among those we live with on planet Earth.
Finally, and perhaps most satisfyingly, confession places the sinner before God’s merciful judgment. This may not sound inviting at first glance. But by choosing to confess our sins, we show that we choose the pathway that leads to life. Through our confession, God sees that we choose eternal life.
I have obtained the information for this article from the Catechism of the Catholic Church, paragraphs 1468-1470. The catechism is easily found in an on-line search.