...is Jesus is the one forgiving.
Many folks I've talked to avoid the Sacrament of Reconciliation because
they think it's silly to confess their sins to a man who's even more
sinful than they are. First, I'm not sure how they know that... but I
guess that's beside the point.
You'd think that these same people would insist on only seeing doctors
in extremely healthy condition; but I've never met one who cares. They
know that all doctors can write an effective prescription regardless of
the doctor's personal health. So it is with the sacraments.
To a degree, we do go to Reconciliation to receive forgiveness from the
clergy, representing the rest of the community. However, the more
important part is that we receive forgiveness from Jesus Christ himself
working in and through the priest. The state of the priest's soul is
irrelevant; Jesus will heal us and restore our relationship to him
regardless of what priest we go to. Just like any doctor can write a
good prescription so too any priest can heal us by Jesus acting through
This is yet another reason Catholics confess sins to a priest.