Can you confess in Latin?

Can you confess in the roman catholic church in Latin?
Can all priests speak it?

If this is true then where can I find proper Latin confession formula?

I am sorry if this was already asked.

One does not confess one’s sins in Latin, as there are very few, including priests, who have sufficient fluency in Latin to actually list sins and offer direction–nor was this ever the Church’s practice.

If, OTOH, you mean that the priest uses the Latin formula for the blessing and absolution while in the confessional, then yes, that can and does occur in parishes where the Extraordinary Form of the Mass is regularly celebrated. This would be mainly FSSP and ICRSS parishes.

“Absolve me, Pater…”

Yes one could but why anyone would I have no idea. I guess perhaps if one was a native speaker of English confessing to a priest who only knew Japanese, then confessing in Latin might be preferable. Such may have been the norm many years ago but it’s unlikely many penitents nor priests are capable of this today.

I’d say it was for a little while in the Roman Empire.

There are no official words that the penitent says in any language, though there are traditional words that vary geographically, and general requirements (the penitent has to convey contrition and purpose of amendment, mention type and number of mortal sins, etc).

AFAIK, the closest thing to a “formula” for the penitent is the formerly prescribed Confiteor which was supposed to be said before listing one’s sins. The old Roman Ritual (Part V, Chap. I, Para. 16) states:

The penitent says the “Confiteor,” either in Latin or in the vernacular, or at least the following words: “I confess to almighty God and to you, father.” Next he confesses his sins in detail, being aided whenever necessary by the priest. …]

I don’t know how widely this was observed before Vatican II, and I don’t think it is observed much if at all today. And there’s a good chance that if you start reciting the Confiteor in Latin, the priest will have no idea what you’re doing. Even if he knows Latin, most priests just want you to get to the point, especially if there’s a line.

Does anyone know how you would translate “I illegally downloaded a movie from a pirate file-sharing website” into Latin? Asking for a friend.

It’s possible but when translated back to English it would likely come out differently; maybe something along the lines of “Without paying, I watched a film through an Internet source.”

I think that could be a stretch - but have you thought of Klingon?

No it’s entirely possible but would likely come out back to English as something more along the lines of “Without paying, I viewed a film though an Internet source.”

Is there a Latin word for Internet??

I should think so as the Vatican maintains a website in Latin. :shrug:

If you and the Priest speak and understand Latin. Sure.


Why do you ask?


It doesn’t have every document in Latin, though. I couldn’t find Latin versions of the document from the Pontifical Council for Social Communications on the internet, nor John Paull II’s message for World Communications Day that mentions the internet.

No. I don’t speak Latin.

Humor aside, if you found a priest who spoke Latin well enough to be conversational in it, then of course one could confess in Latin. Or in Polish or Russian or Welsh or Irish Gaelic or any number of other languages.

If one wanted to utilize Latin just to make everything more formal, then I would suggest they leave those ideas aside. Confession isn’t the time to be engaging in the novel for a lark.

There may be times when using Latin, if you know it sufficiently, could be useful. Apparently, many priests use Latin when in Rome to talk to priests of other nationalities if they have no other mutual language. So I’m use using Latin as a common language for confession does happen.

true. Latin is the language of the Church and is to be preserved and respected, but
I would also set aside the notion that prayers or words uttered in Latin are somehow holier or carry more weight.
God speaks all languages, He invented them, in fact. :wink:

I guess this could happen in a tiny number of situations where priest and penitent speak different languages as their first language, but have Latin in common, and for whatever reason there isn’t time to get a priest who speaks the penitent’s native language.

This will obviously almost never come up, as very few people speak Latin fluently. But yeah, in theory, you could confess in Latin or Greek or Hindi or Chinese or whatever.

My very first confession happened to be with a priest who spoke little English. It’s possible he may have known Latin, but I didn’t. What we did was go down the 10 commandments. Worked out pretty well, even tho I was more familiar with the Protestant numbering.

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