I went to confession today and I am just a little worried about something…when the priest was giving me absolution he said “in the name of the Father and the Son and the Spirit,” but did not say “Holy Spirit.” He is from Africa and has a thick accent, but he definitly didn’t say it. He sticks to rubrics but sometimes misses words like this, did this invalidate the absolution?
Please stop being scrupulous in this matter.
Still sounds like it was valid to me.
As long as the priest said: I absolve you. (According to the Council of Florence) all confessions are valid if a priest says that.
Of course its liturgically wrong, but still valid.
Ok good…thank you!!!
I see your point, but it is possible for an absolution to be invalid because of a defect of form. I too would not have doubted in this particular case, but as someone else might, I’ll try and work it through.
This subject has come up recently in CAF, and I’ve found that, probably, some minimal correct words are required for the absolution to be valid. I say “probably” because the authors of articles I found both deferred from giving a definitive opinion.
Fr Z, discussing Is "I absolve you” alone sufficient for validity?" concludes:
They all come to the same basic conclusion. “Absolvo te a peccatis tus” “I absolve you from your sins”] is certainly valid, and “Absolvo te” “I absolve you”] is probably valid, but if possible the longer form should be repeated to be sure.
Another writer, in We need to be careful with the notion of “Ecclesia supplet” discusses whether Ecclesia Supplet (“The Church provides”) will make up for a defect of form in the absolution, and he concludes that it (probably) won’t.
Many historical examples of invalid baptisms, confirmations, or ordinations would seem to bear this out. Ecclesia supplet does not remedy those cases wherein innocent persons bore the consequences of ministers making invalidating changes in sacramental form, and I don’t think it does so for confession, either.
Both of these authors however are discussing an intentional deviation from the correct formula. If the deviation is unintentional, such as might happen when a priest attempts to follow the rubrics in a foreign language, then it seems to me that the absolution would always be valid, because the words he has used are those in the rubric, whether or not he has conveyed them accurately. That is our normal understanding of people speaking in a foreign language - we listen for the words they intend, not what they actually say.
So, my summary…
If the priest has said “I absolve you” then you are absolved or if he has attempted to faithfully read the rubric but has slipped up because he’s speaking in a foreign language, then you are also absolved. If he **intentionally **has said something completely different, eg. “You have been absolved”, then it may have been invalid.
Thankyou, but I have spent some time trying to find this, and wasn’t able to. Nevertheless, after reading Fr Z’s blog, I came to the same conclusion, as discussed in my post above.
If you are able to find the reference to the Council of Florence then I’d be glad to be corrected
Thank you so much for this thorough answer. It clears up all the worry I had. Thanks!!
You’re fine The priest had an accent, so maybe it didn’t come out clear. As long as you are sorry and the priest “absolved” you, you are okay
You’re very welcome, and I appreciate your response