« Last post by wgw on Today at 05:09:13 PM »
The OSB isn't contradicting that doctrine however. In confession you are confessing directly to God, to Christ, the Highest Priest, and the human Priest hearing your confession is a witness; and then in the person of Christ using the power to bind and lose, he absolves you. But by witnessing your confession a good confessor can make sure you confess everything and help you overcome spiritual problems. The church has a vast array of wisdom on how to overcome different spiritual diseases and the really talented comfessors who are mainly found in monasteries can apply these. Most parish priests are in the diaspora very busy and in my experience almost invariably absolve you with an encouraging word.
But in Ethiopia for example I think you would find at some churches that are centers of pilgrimage some blessed priests; there is a rock hewn church dedicated to St. Michael that has large vats that contain holy water, and the priests using bungee cords or other mechanisms lower those suffering from demons into these pools for curing, and I suspect it works. You can see this in the final segment of Episode 3 of Around the World in 80 Faiths on YouTube.
Now I know very little about the Ethiopian church by the way, and much more about the Egyptian Coptic church, but am by no means an expert (Antonious Nikolais and MinaSoliman and qawme of the top of my head are expert in that church at least compared to me), for me the Ethiopian Church remains enigmatic. But I do think there is some treasure there. And I think this is witnessed by the fact that the Ethiopians maintain their faith in spite of a great deal of poverty and temporal misery. So you probably should try to cross check the info I've given with your clergy at some point if this continues to bother you.
But speaking from a generic Orthodox perspective I think what the OSB is saying in no respect contradicts the priest acting in the person of Christ, but rather, that's how the two dots you refer to connect. If you're in the U.S. you could call one of the three or so Coptic monasteries which are not specifically Ethiopian but which do have, at least in the case of St. Anthonys, very nice monks who probably have the time to answer your question. St. Anthonys also gets a lot of Ethiopian pilgrims since the completion of the majestic Cathedral of St. Moses the Black, which is awe inspiring.