Does this happen where you are?

I have a friend whose Priest hears Confessions directly after the morning Mass and asks before he concludes the Mass that will all those who are staying for Confession, will they please say their Act of Contrition in the line while waiting. He doesn’t ask for it in the Confessional and she is getting uncomfortable with this procedure.

My question is this:

How many folks are asked to repeat the Act of Contrition outside the Confessional?

Does this happen where you are and how do you deal with it?


I don’t believe their is anything wrong with this; it is similar to the structure of our “communal reconciliation service” we have during Advent or Lent. We all say an act of contrition together, then have individual confessions with the various priests who are present.

If there are a lot of people in line for confession, or Father has to be at another appointment following close behind, it just helps to make things a bit quicker.

I’ve never experienced that happening. I find that disturbing as I always thought the priest had to hear your Act of Contrition. I used to find it disturbing when a priest I used to go to for Confession would say the formula for absolution while I was saying the Act of Contrition. You may want to post this question in the Ask An Apologist section.

Hope this helps. God bless.

Yes, this sometimes happens in my parish. I have never seen anything wrong with it.

I have never heard of this, which is neither here or there,but it does not sound as though it is liturgically correct.

Our parish does it during Penance Services. It’s legitimate for the congregation to recite the Contrition aloud.

It hasn’t happened at our church that I am aware of. We say the Act of Contrition in front of Father before exiting the confessional.

I’m always surprised when I hear churches doing things so differently. I thought that one of the great features of the Catholic church was uniformity unlike the protestant church who each do their own thing. Personally, I don’t like it. But what do I know? I have a FB friend who left her parish because her home parish priest does not say either creed, EVER. Even at the weekend mass!

Jennifoo, it was always important to ask one’s self why we do things. I believe the simultaneous recitation and absolution is traditional Latin praxis. The priest is not giving the absolution, in theory, in the first place so it is not necessary that every word is intelligible to him anyway. We are confessing to God and the priest is serving as a mediator, as in all sacraments, so as long as the priest perceives sincerity he doesn’t need to hear each word.

This isn’t an accurate understanding of the sacrament. Remember, Jesus gave the power to forgive and to retain sins to the priest. The priest must be able to hear our sins and that we are contrite with a firm resolve to amend our lives to be able to absolve us. Otherwise, following your logic, you can end up with general absolutions, which are only permissible in emergency situations with the penitent resolving to confess individually at the next opportunity. Yes, God is ultimately forgiving us, but through the agency of the priest.

Saying the act of contrition is not an absolute requirement for valid confession. The priest must believe that the penitent is contrite, but that does not absolutely require an act of contrition. The very fact that the penitent came and confessed sins can indicate that he/she is contrite.

Yes, I have had this happen a few times, but it seems to be the exception and not the rule around here. The last time I remember was at our cathedral when one priest was faced with a very long line of penitents (myself among them).

I am Oriental. We consider general absolutions “valid” [if one is so compelled to use the term] in non-emergency situations. The traditional Syriac liturgy has around 9. By the way, general absolutions aren’t invoked with a magical mentality - it’s pretty straightforward that remission of sin is dependent upon personal penitence. But I suppose if one views it with liturgical legalism then if general absolutions were valid it would work like magic. Thank God that He does not operate like a mathematic formula.

Aside from my own personal confession of the efficacy of general absolution, you’re incorrect. The act of contrition is not required to be heard for a valid confession, as Joan M said. Unless you believe every Latin who received confession before the 60’s received an invalid absolution :p. Anyway, comprehension is not a contingency of loosing and binding - that would make a priest unable to give remission for forgotten sins.

My best guess the way she described it was illicit Sacrament but valid Confession. The priest in question is in a hurry and doesn’t like to take a long time in the morning for Confessions. I guess she’s lucky he hears them at all. And I told her already that his personal sin has no bearing on his ability to deliver a Sacrament to her if she follows her part of things as sincerely as she can.

I’ve gone to a bunch of different Confessors through the years and there is one I won’t even bother with at the parish where I am now. He deviates way too far in the Confessional and I don’t think he even believes anymore that the Sacrament does anything. He’s really a sad little man. I’ve prayed for him, but I cannot imagine being that lost. He actually tried selling me on some Protestant stuff in the box! Yikes. I thanked him and left and cried a little while after but let it go. Hardly anyone goes to him for Confession. Most know to avoid him.

I told her if she gets really uncomfortable with his ways that she can always get in the car and go elsewhere. I hope she takes her Confessions more seriously and does. It would do her good then she could focus on her Confessions and not what the priest is doing or not doing and get some real work done.

Thanks everyone for responding. It helps. I’ll let her know what you’ve said.


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