I was watching a video with a prominent theologian ], and in the video he said that if a Priest says that the sins a penitent is confessing “aren’t actually sins” (or something along that line), then the confession isnt valid. I’ve once experienced myself, and wanted to know if [the theologian] is correct in saying that the confession would not be valid.
I’m not sure exactly what he said, but I do not quite understand on what basis that claim could be made. No other sacrament seems to be that strict in the intention of the priest for the efficacy of the sacrament.
According to St. Thomas Aquinas, even faith is not required of a priest for a valid sacrament:
Summa III, q. 64
Article 9. Whether faith is required of necessity in the minister of a sacrament?
I answer that, As stated above (Article 5), since the minister works instrumentally in the sacraments, he acts not by his own but by Christ’s power. Now just as charity belongs to a man’s own power so also does faith. Wherefore, just as the validity of a sacrament does not require that the minister should have charity, and even sinners can confer sacraments, as stated above (Article 5); so neither is it necessary that he should have faith, and even an unbeliever can confer a true sacrament, provided that the other essentials be there.
Another example is the Eucharist. If I believe that a ciborium is half full and then when I go to distribute communion realize that the ciborium is completely full, the Church does not hold that I have only consecrated half the hosts in the ciborium. My intention was to consecrate all the hosts in the ciborium regardless of how many I actually thought were there.
So, along those same lines, even if the priest only thinks there are 2 sins instead of 3 he still has the intention of absolving *all *the sins committed.
Even if the priest does not think a sin is really a sin, all the essential elements of the sacrament seem to be in place: [list]
*] confession of sins
*] intention to absolve of all sins
*] proper form of absolution[/list]