On August 30, 2010 in WCR I found an interesting question:
What do you think? Is it OK to say: “I am not a big sinner I can confess to God in prayer and conversation and that it is no longer necessary to actually confess to a priest in person. I can pray and talk to God, asking for forgiveness and strength.”
In the Gospel of St. John I read that Jesus after His resurrection when He revealed Himself to His Apostles: “said to them again, "Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you." And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, "Receive the holy Spirit. Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained.”
So, how the priest can forgive or retain the sins if they are not confessed?
Sometimes I hear some Catholics arguing: “You have to go and meet the sinner where he is”.
And so, I am reading in today’s Gospel the parable of the ‘prodigal son”
"A man had two sons, and the younger son said to his father,
'Father, give me the share of your estate that should come to me.'
So the father divided the property between them.
After a few days, the younger son collected all his belongings
and set off to a distant country where he squandered his inheritance on a life of dissipation.
When he had freely spent everything, a severe famine struck that country,
and he found himself in dire need. So he hired himself out to one of the local citizens who sent him to his farm to tend the swine. And he longed to eat his fill of the pods on which the swine fed, but nobody gave him any.
While he was still a long way off, his father caught sight of him,
and was filled with compassion. He ran to his son, embraced him and kissed him. His son said to him, 'Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you;
I no longer deserve to be called your son.'
But his father ordered his servants,
'Quickly bring the finest robe and put it on him;
put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet.
Take the fattened calf and slaughter it.
Then let us celebrate with a feast,
because this son of mine was dead, and has come to life again;
he was lost, and has been found.'
"Sin is before all else an offense against God, a rupture of communion with him. At the same time it damages communion with the Church. For this reason conversion entails both God's forgiveness and reconciliation with the Church, which are expressed and accomplished liturgically by the sacrament of Penance and Reconciliation. (Cf. Lumen Gentium 11.)" (CCC 1440)
Jesus came into the world to forgive sinners. And I am one of them. And, with the exception of the angels among us, so are you.