I’m afraid that I wasn’t repentant enough to make my last few Confessions valid. Is there any way to know for sure? Thanks!
You can discuss it with your priest.
One needs at least imperfect contrition (and of course in regards to mortal sins you need the firm purpose of amendment of not sinning mortally …even if you fear you may…(venial sins one needs certainly contrition …there can be differing kinds of amendment there )
PM me if you like
Were you, at the very least, afraid of going to Hell, and did you, at the very least, want to avoid the sins you confessed?
Other than that, talk to your priest!
did you confess all mortal sins of which you were aware? did you make an act of contrition? that is a formal prayer or statement of sorrow for your sin? There is no such thing as “not enough contrition” and there does not need to be any emotional affect, simply the intent to express proper contrition to God. Did your priest absolve you? It is his actions that make the sacrament valid so unless you have proof positive he did something wrong your confession was valid. If you are troubled by these needlesss worries you need to have a conversation with your confessor. Nobody here can help you
Is wanting to make things right with God or to be freed from sin and get on with living a peaceful, sin-free life full of works of repentance enough?
And also, I hadn’t thought about this much before yesterday, but in the Byzantine Rite, does the priest have to lay his epitrachil on your head for the sacrament to be valid?
I have no idea what the form for confession is in your rite, but if you are obsessing about this the only one who can help you is your confessor. Yes what you describe is the definition of contrition. If you have been not fully instructed on the sacrament, ask your priest to complete your instruction. There is no spiritual benefit to carrying these doubts to strangers.
You can read the following and examine…
VII. The Acts of the Penitent
1450 "Penance requires . . . the sinner to endure all things willingly, be contrite of heart, confess with the lips, and practice complete humility and fruitful satisfaction."49
1451 Among the penitent’s acts contrition occupies first place. Contrition is "sorrow of the soul and detestation for the sin committed, together with the resolution not to sin again."50
1452 When it arises from a love by which God is loved above all else, contrition is called “perfect” (contrition of charity). Such contrition remits venial sins; it also obtains forgiveness of mortal sins if it includes the firm resolution to have recourse to sacramental confession as soon as possible.51
1453 The contrition called “imperfect” (or “attrition”) is also a gift of God, a prompting of the Holy Spirit. It is born of the consideration of sin’s ugliness or the fear of eternal damnation and the other penalties threatening the sinner (contrition of fear). Such a stirring of conscience can initiate an interior process which, under the prompting of grace, will be brought to completion by sacramental absolution. By itself however, imperfect contrition cannot obtain the forgiveness of grave sins, but it disposes one to obtain forgiveness in the sacrament of Penance.52
as for the it being placed on your head…I doubt such would effect validity …it would be similar to certain things ordinarily done in the Roman Rite which should be done…but if they are not they do not invalidate things…