Is absolution still valid if

…you don’t say an act of contrition? I go to confession behind a curtain. And after I’ve finished confessing, the priest doesn’t tell me to say the act of contrition. Why is this? Was I still absolved of my sins? Thank you.

Yes, the absolution is still valid. He should have you make an act of contrition, and you should probably still make one on your own, but since the Sacraments work by the nature of their valid administration (Ex Opre Operato), they are not affected unless something pretty major has happened (i.e. the priest had his faculties taken away). So don’t worry; you may want to ask him what’s up though…

He most likely assumed you either had already or will say it.

This usually happen in the Church where I attend mass sometimes.

I think it’s because there’s not enough time as there are long queues and short time, so the priests let us do the act of contrition when we do our penance or after we left the confessional.

There is a very short act of Contrition you can make that shouldn’t hold up the priest.

“O my God, I am very sorry that I have sinned against You,
because You are so good,
and with Your grace, I will not sin again”

Does not everyone end a confession with “I am sorry for these sins and all the sins of my past life”? That is sufficient.

For sacramental validity, it is required that you have contrition (i.e., you are sorry for your sins and resolved to avoid them in the future), not that you recite a formal act of contrition.

The priest apparently judged that you did have contrition (by saying “I am sorry for these and all my sins” or something similar, or by your sincerity in confessing, etc.).

Have no fear; you were absolved. If it makes you feel better, recite an “official” act of contrition when you leave the confessional.

Your past life…? Have you been reincarnated? :stuck_out_tongue:

I was wondering if anybody would reply to the above. I am glad I studied when we were taught the difference between singular and plural. I wrote “life” not lives"

I actually end with “I am sorry for these sins and all the sins of my past life and those that I cannot remember” I believe that is sufficient.

The priest where we go tells us to say our Act of Contrition in the pew with our penance. It’s weird, but we do it.


Most priests assume you have said the act of contrition before going in.

A lot of priests I know will give absolution and a penanc. maybe the penance is more important. As I said before, each priest does his own thing.

It is all right to say “for thee sins and alol the sins of my life.” However, when given absolution, all of your past sins are forgiven.


Just by being in the confessional is an act of sorrow, why else would you be there?

I would be more worried if the priest refused me absolution in lieu of an act of contrition.



I had a priest do that once. During lent, it was in a situation where our hosts served meat during the first several courses of our meal, and it would have been isulting and rude not to eat what was served.

Well after a long lecture, saying we should have requested meals without meat, the priest said “I can’t absolve you, you will need to go to the Bishop.” When I went to the Bishop’s office to make an appointment, the person actually became angry because I wasn’t forgiven and told me, that was too harsh. He said any reasonable priest should forgive you, and you should try a different priest." I actually went back to the same priest, crying, and when I told him what the Bishops office said, he forgave me.


Perhaps the priest assumed that you made it prior to entering the confessional–it is a sign of forgiveness and so is your presence a sign of forgiveness or you woudnt be there.

Sometimes when my pastor forgets the penance, I will recite sveral Our Father;s and Hail Mary’s. Most of you are forgetting, a priest is just as human as we are.


There are a variety of “local customs” on this matter. While it is proper to say the Act of Contrition during confession, many places either do it before they go into confession or as part of their penance when they leave (i.e. say an act of contrition and 3 Our Fathers).

While I do it within confession as a norm, there are times when there’s a large number of penitents and only so much time before Mass that I tell them to do it with their penance.

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