Absolution version


I was just wondering and have gotten a couple different answers. The priest at my parish when giving me absolution will use the form By Christ’s authority I absolve you from your sins In the name of the Father the Son and the Holy Spirit. Does anyone know if this is a valid form or if the only form is God The Father of Mercies version. Thanks


That’s valid.


All he has to say is “I absolve you.” The other words are not necessary for validity.


There are 2 forms of absolution in the Roman Rite.

The Ordinary Form is “God the Father of mercies…”

The Extraordinary From is


  1. As a priest is about to absolve a penitent (after having enjoined a salutary penance on him and the latter accepting it) he begins by saying:

May almighty God have mercy on you, forgive you your sins, and lead you to everlasting life. R.: Amen.

  1. Next he raises the right hand toward the penitent and says:

May the almighty and merciful Lord grant you pardon, absolution, + and remission of your sins. R.: Amen.

Form for Absolution

May our Lord Jesus Christ absolve you. And I by His authority release you from every bond of excommunication (suspension) and interdict, in so far as I am empowered and you have need. And now I absolve you from your sins; in the name of the Father, and of the Son, + and of the Holy Spirit. R.: Amen.

  1. If the penitent is a layman the word suspension is omitted. A bishop in absolving makes the threefold sign of the cross.

Prayer of Indulgence

May the passion of our Lord Jesus Christ, the merits of the blessed Virgin Mary and the saints, and all the good you do and the suffering you endure, gain for you the remission of your sins, increase of grace, and the reward of everlasting life. R.: Amen.

  1. For a good reason it suffices to say the form “May our Lord,” etc., and the other prayers given above may be omitted.

  2. In case of urgent necessity such as danger of death, the priest may use the short form:

I absolve you from all censures and from your sins; in the name of the Father, and of the Son, + and of the Holy Spirit. R.: Amen.

Only those 2 forms constitute a valid absolution in the Roman Rite (along with the shortened versions of each form).

Anything else, is at best questionable.


Thank you all, I guess for me just growing up hearing the ordinary form all the time was just something I was used too. I guess also valid wasn’t the right word to use I was thinking appropriate to use that as an absolution. Fr. so if what read what you put right the form my priest uses is a bit questionable. What should I do in that case? Sorry if that question goes off the topic a little bit.


The essential form is “I absolve you” for validity. The addition of the words that were not part of the rite is illicit, but it doesn’t affect validity.

That said, those priests who like to say their own thing should just knock it off, to avoid causing penitents such as yourself such anxiety.


Your are very right. It drives me bonkers.


Every Catholic has a right to valid and licit Sacraments.

If a priest does not use either of the forms required by the Church, either the Ordinary or Extraordinary, one has a right to ask that the priest follow the proper form. If he still does not, see what the Holy See has to say about that here:
vatican.va/roman_curia/congregations/ccdds/documents/rc_con_ccdds_doc_20040423_redemptionis-sacramentum_en.html#Chapter VIII

It might be that the priest is using the Extraordinary Form. Note that the short form (not the emergency form) can be used for any good reason.

If you aren’t sure what he’s doing, ask him. Something like “I don’t recognize those words, was that the Extraordinary Form?” in a non-challenging, non-confrontational way, would be appropriate.


What if the priest slipped up and said “may God absolve you” instead of “I absolve you”?

If you know him personally, can you just ask him to repeat the formula the right way the next time you see him, or would you have to re-confess all those same sins over again first?

I mean, if he already knows the sins you confessed last time, can you just remind him of them in a general way, confess any new sins you may have committed, and then receive absolution?

Would that be valid?


That’s probably invalid. What I personally do is find another confessor and tell him what happened, and follow that confessor’s advice. Usually a brief repeat of the previous confession is asked for. I never go back to confessors who do not use the proper form of absolution.


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