"Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another, so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much." James 5:16

RP> it is good to confess your sins to another, and the Scripture you are referring to is in James 5 where we are exhorted to confess our sins to each other that we might be healed- not forgiven. Only Christ can ....... <<<

JJ> It is true as you say only God can forgive sins. I never said otherwise. And is not the forgiveness of sins "healing"...."spiritual healing"?<<

RP> Christ forgives us of sins, and we must go directly to Him.<<

JJ> Yes..but when we confess before (to) a priest... we are not confessing "to him"... but before him to God.<<

According to page 387 of the new Roman Catholic Catechism, the Roman Catholic is confessing to the RC priest who allegedly:

"...... by virtue of the sacrament of Holy Orders, acts in persona Christi Capitis. .......... Now the minister, by reason of the sacerdotal consecration which he has received, is truly made like to the high priest and possesses the authority to act in the power and place of the person of Christ himself (virtute ac persona ipsius Christi).

...... the [RC] priest of the new law acts in the person of Christ.

Through the ordained ministry, especially that of bishops and priest, the presence of Christ as head of the Church is made visible in the midst of the community of believers. In the beautiful expression of St.Ignatius of Antioch, the bishop is typos tou Patros: he is the living image of God the Father. ..........

PAGE 389 " Yet Catholic doctrine teaches that the degrees of priestly participation (episcopate and preysbyterate) and the degree of service (diaconate) are all three conferred by a sacramental act called "ordination," that is, by the sacrament of Holy Orders:

Let everyone revere the deacons as Jesus Christ, the bishop as the image of the Father, and the preysbyters as the senate of God and the assembly of the apostles. For without them one cannot speak of the Church. .............

In fact...by the imposition of hands and through the words of the consecration, the grace of the Holy Spirit is given, and a sacred character is impressed in such wise that bishops, in an eminent and visible manner, TAKE THE PLACE OF CHRIST HIMSELF, teacher, shepherd, and priest, and act as his representative (in Eius persona agant).

*END QUOTE* (from 1994 Edition Universal Roman Catholic Catechism)

The RC priest (not to mention bishop) is clearly being contended to have authority and power far above and beyond that of a mere "lay" person (compare again to James 5:16).