WHY is it important to go to confession? Isn’t it enough to repent and ask for forgiveness on one’s own, and sort things out with God alone? Jesus said to his apostles: “Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, become instruments of the mercy of God. They act in persona Christi. We are social beings. If you are not capable of talking to your brother about your mistakes, you can be sure that you can’t talk about them with God, either, and therefore you end up confessing into the mirror, to yourself. Forgiveness has a social implication; my sin wounds mankind, my brothers and sisters, and society as a whole. Confessing to a priest is a way of putting my life into the hands and heart of someone else, someone who in that moment acts in the name of Jesus. It’s a way to be real and authentic: we face the facts by looking at another person and not in the mirror. They re not there to be judged. It is an encounter with mercy.
– Pope Francis, The Name of God Is Mercy