“Luther was a Catholic priest before he started the Reformation. He well knew what confession does for us, and before he died he said that by doing away with confession he reckoned he’d kicked away the bottom rung in the ladder of salvation. He knew that this sacrament saves souls who would otherwise be lost. How so?
Well, it’s all very fine for those wonderful people whose repentance is so vehement that they never fall into sin again. It’s all very well for them, but what about the rest of us? What about the ordinary people who fall again and again? What about the chronic sinner? And that’s us.
We know that God didn’t come into this world just for the good and holy people. He told us himself that he came for sinners.
When I used to work for overseas students, mostly Muslims or Buddhists or plain agnostics, I would sometimes tell them that if they were good and holy people, if they prayed a lot and kept to the strict moral law and gave alms to the poor and so on, then, whatever their religion, they might well get to heaven. But if they were just plain ordinary sinners then they ought to become Catholics. I’d say this with a smile and I always got away with it; they’d smile too. But I think they realised that I was not altogether joking.”
– Fr Hugh S. Thwaites