God the Father sent His only begotten Son to be made the perfect sacrifice for the forgiveness of our sins. Our Lord died on the cross so that we would have this grace, the grace of forgiveness of our sins, the grace of conversion of our hearts to Him. In His abundant love for us Jesus Christ, in His earthly life over 2000 years ago, gave to us the gift of the Sacrament of Confession. Christ says, “‘Peace be with you. As the Father has sent Me, even so I send you.’ And when He had said this, He breathed on them, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.’”(Jn. 20:21-23) In this moment Christ gave the Apostles, the first bishops of the Catholic Church, the power and responsibility to forgive people of their sins.
This power and responsibility has been handed down through the years to bishops and priests through the ordained Priesthood of Jesus Christ. It is through the priesthood that we have many of the sacraments (including the Holy Eucharist and Confession…etc.) that Christ Himself instituted as sources of grace. The Incarnate Son of God pours out His love and mercy through the sacrament of Confession. It is as if we tell our sins directly to Jesus Himself when we go to confession because it is Christ through the priest that He forgives us of our sins.