I attended mass and received reconciliation but I am not sure it was a Priest

Hi, I have a question that I would like your help with:
I attended a couples retreat a few weeks ago, and there was a Priest that participated on the presentations, he was probably on his late 70’s. The retreat was organized by a Catholic organization.

During those two days I noticed some “deviations” from what I am used to see over the years, and I want to know if what I noticed as deviations are valid or not.
I want to clarify that the Priest was very friendly and his comments were very valuable, if I have to guess, I think he was a Priest or he still is but he is not allowed to offer sacraments like Communion or Reconciliation.
So here is what I noticed:
a) Reconciliation
During the Reconciliation he asked me if the person that had received reconciliation before me was my wife, I think that was odd, I’ve heard that once you finish your confession, the priest is forced to forget about the conversations that took place. I don’t necessarily think this was a deviation, it was more of a lack of prudence.
However I noticed that he was not wearing a stole and I think Priests are required to wear them during sacraments.
b) Mass.
During Mass I noticed his pulpit robe had regular sleeves (contrary to long sleeves that merge into the body garment, I’ve heard that robes with regular sleeves are used by deacons, not by Priests).

He was wearing his stole during mass, and his clothing was completely white which struck me as odd again since it was ordinary time (green).
In addition, he mentioned he belonged to an order, but his robe seemed like a Priest that has been ordained from a diocesan seminary, instead of having the symbolic hood like the ones used by Carmelites for instance.

At the end of the mass he took his stole, fold it and put it on a chair, where I’ve seen that Priests kiss the stole after they put it in.

Anyway, I think that there might be valid reasons to believe that the sacraments I received were not valid, since I received Eucharist after that I am not sure if I did wrong or not or I have to confess again.

Thanks

If he was from an order but giving a retreat off-site, he may have used the vestments made available to him at the place the retreat was held.

As for the colour of the stole during Mass, was it a Sunday Mass or a weekday Mass?

If it was a weekday, it could have been an optional memorial, memorial or feast that called for white, or a votive Mass that called for white. From the GIRM:

  1. As to the color of sacred vestments, the traditional usage is to be retained: namely,

White is used in the Offices and Masses during the Easter and Christmas seasons; also on celebrations of the Lord other than of his Passion, of the Blessed Virgin Mary, of the Holy Angels, and of Saints who were not Martyrs; on the Solemnities of All Saints (November 1) and of the Nativity of St. John the Baptist (June 24); and on the Feasts of St. John the Evangelist (December 27), of the Chair of St. Peter (February 22), and of the Conversion of St. Paul (January 25).

Red is used on Palm Sunday of the Lord’s Passion and on Good Friday, on Pentecost Sunday, on celebrations of the Lord’s Passion, on the feasts of the Apostles and Evangelists, and on celebrations of Martyr Saints.

Green is used in the Offices and Masses of Ordinary Time.

Violet or purple is used in Advent and Lent. It may also be worn in Offices and Masses for the Dead (cf. below).

Besides violet, white or black vestments may be worn at funeral services and at other Offices and Masses for the Dead in the dioceses of the United States of America.

Rose may be used, where it is the practice, on Gaudete Sunday (Third Sunday of Advent) and on Laetare Sunday (Fourth Sunday of Lent).

On more solemn days, sacred vestments may be used that are festive, that is, more precious, even if not of the color of the day.

Gold- or silver-colored vestments may be worn on more solemn occasions in the dioceses of the United States of America.

  1. Ritual Masses are celebrated in their proper color, in white, or in a festive color; Masses for Various Needs, on the other hand, are celebrated in the color proper to the day or the season or in violet if they are of a penitential character, for example, in The Roman Missal, no. 31 (in Time of War or Conflict), no. 33 (in Time of Famine), or no. 38 (for the Forgiveness of Sins); Votive Masses are celebrated in the color suited to the Mass itself or even in the color proper to the day or the season.

I’m pretty sure that the sacraments you received are valid. As for asking about your wife, I don’t see that he broke the seal of the confessional there. Perhaps he was just asking out of courtesy or curiosity.

Thanks for your response, the mass was on Sunday; the retreat was at a Hotel and I think he was using his own garment.
Thanks again. God Bless

Did his stole hang evenly down the front of his vestments, or did it go diagonal across his chest?

A deacon wears his diagonally across his chest while a priest wears his around his neck, with the ends hanging evenly in front.

On the confession issue. Is it possible that you and your wife confessed on the same issue? Maybe you both related the same story of something that happened, and he made the connection. Therefore, he heard both sides of a common issue.

Fox example. Let’s say my brother and I have a big fight about the business we run. My brother goes in, and says he got in a fight with his brother about the business. He completes his confession and leaves. Five minutes later, I go in, tell the priest about a fight I had with someone(not mentioning it was my brother). Many of the details would be the same, but the point of view would be different. I could see where the priest might ask if the argument was with my brother.

Assuming something like that is what happened, and the fact you were on a “couples” weekend. He may have been able to use that as a tool to properly counsel during confession.

While a priest should wear a purple stole during confession, it does not invalidate the sacrament if he doesn’t.

Huh? How then did he say Mass and hear confessions as you mention in the following paragraphs?

a) Reconciliation
During the Reconciliation he asked me if the person that had received reconciliation before me was my wife, I think that was odd, I’ve heard that once you finish your confession, the priest is forced to forget about the conversations that took place. I don’t necessarily think this was a deviation, it was more of a lack of prudence.

As long as he didn’t reveal what she said then he didn’t violate anything. Though it is as you said, a severe lack of prudence.

However I noticed that he was not wearing a stole and I think Priests are required to wear them during sacraments.

Priests should wear a stole for the sacrament of confession but it doesn’t invalidate the sacrament if he doesn’t. The bishop ordained the man, not the clothes.

b) Mass.
During Mass I noticed his pulpit robe had regular sleeves (contrary to long sleeves that merge into the body garment, I’ve heard that robes with regular sleeves are used by deacons, not by Priests).

I’m not sure what you mean by this. The priest’s chasuble doesn’t have any sleaves. Are you sure he wasn’t just wearing an alb and stole? All albs are the same, essentially.

He was wearing his stole during mass, and his clothing was completely white which struck me as odd again since it was ordinary time (green).

Maybe he just brought the wrong vestments by accident.

At the end of the mass he took his stole, fold it and put it on a chair, where I’ve seen that Priests kiss the stole after they put it in.

Plenty of priests don’t kiss their stole.

The description of all white vestment with sleeves and a stole would lead me to believe that he wasn’t wearing a chasuble to celebrate Mass but only an alb and stole.

Not great, but not unusual at a retreat where Mass is celebrated at the hotel.

It was a Catholic organization sponsoring the retreat. He was a speaker. Catholic organizations research their speakers ahead of time and would know if the man was a priest.

Nothing you wrote indicates a reason to think he is a priest who isn’t allowed to say mass or hear confessions.

Asking people who were not there if the man was a priest is useless. If in doubt, contact the sponsors of the event and ask them.

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