Was my Confession valid?


#1

My last Confession was with a priest I don’t normally go to. After confessing my sins by kind and number, he gave me a penance and then absolution, but he didn’t use the normal formula that I am used to. He kinda made it up and then at the end said “I absolve you in the Name of the Father…” He didn’t have my say an Act of Contrition, so I asked him about it and he said just to do it in the Church rather the Confessional.

Was this Confession valid?


#2

Yes, it was valid. You can pray an Act of Contrition for yourself without the priest present if you’d like. All that is required is that you are penitent and confessed all your mortal sins in number and kind and that the priest absolved you (at minimum “I absolve you from your sins”)

I absolve you from your sins” is generally considered the necessary part of the form of absolution to be validly absolved. Though the Council of Trent (and St Thomas Aquinas) seem to suggest that “I absolve you” is all that is actually necessary for correct form:

“The holy synod doth furthermore teach, that the form of the sacrament of penance, wherein its force principally consists, is placed in those words of the minister, I absolve thee, &c: to which words indeed certain prayers are, according to the custom of holy Church, laudably joined, which nevertheless by no means regard the essence of that form, neither are they necessary for the administration of the sacrament itself.” - The Council of Trent, Session XIV, Ch 3
Source: thecounciloftrent.com/ch14.htm

“Pastors should not neglect to explain the form of the Sacrament of Penance. A knowledge of it will excite the faithful to receive the grace of this Sacrament with the greatest possible devotion. Now the form is: I absolve thee, as may be inferred not only from the words, whatsoever you shall bind upon earth shall be bound also in heaven, but also from the teaching of Christ our Lord, handed down to us by the Apostles.” Catechism of the Council of Trent, The Sacrament of Penance
Source: cin.org/users/james/ebook…nt/tsacr-p.htm


#3

The formula in its short form is “Ego te absolvo a peccatis tuis, in nomine Patris +, et Filii, et Spiritus Sancti… I absolve you from your sins in the name of the Father +, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” This is the very last part of a longer formula - which if possible should be employed.

That being said, St. Thomas Aquinas argues (though his opinions are not the equivalent of the Church’s Magisterium) that “Ego te absolvo“ is the form of the sacrament, and the Catechism of the Council of Trent (expression of the Magisterium) states: “Now the form is: I absolve thee.” Several manuals (e.g., Tanquerey, Prümmer, Sabetti Barrett) all come to the same basic conclusion. “Absolvo te a peccatis tus” is certainly valid, and “Absolvo te” is probably valid. This means the sacrament was most probably valid, but it is much better if the priest employs the ordinary formula that the Church (at least the Latin rite) employs, rather than even shorter versions that can confuse the faithful.

(source)


#4

I’ve read that same source (I follow his blog). :wink: The OP said that his priest said, “I absolve you in the Name of the Father…” which is the longer form.

  1. I never said that “I absolve thee” is the form but that one could argue via those sources that it could be.

  2. I pointed out that “the Council of Trent (and St Thomas Aquinas) seem to suggest that ‘I absolve you’ is all that is actually necessary for correct form”.

  3. I said that the priest must say at minimum “I absolve you from your sins”.

I don’t know why you seem to think that I have opposed what Fr Z has stated? :confused:


#5

[quote="Zekariya, post:4, topic:315612"]
I don't know why you seem to think that I have opposed what Fr Z has stated? :confused:

[/quote]

No way :D I thought you had a different source, and I was trying to "back you up" :)


#6

Thanks for the responses, guys. I was worried I made a sacrilegious Communion :eek:

What a relief!


#7

[quote="R_C, post:5, topic:315612"]
No way :D I thought you had a different source, and I was trying to "back you up" :)

[/quote]

Oops. :blush: Sorry. That makes sense. :D

[quote="hamburglar, post:6, topic:315612"]
Thanks for the responses, guys. I was worried I made a sacrilegious Communion :eek:

What a relief!

[/quote]

:thumbsup:


#8

Thank you, hamburglur, for this question and for all the replies, you have answered my burning question. On Saturday I went to reconciiation while on retreat. The priest, (not my regular confessor) heard my cofession, gave giudance, penance and absolution, but also did not ask for my Act of Contrition. I did recite it in the pew afterwards, along with my penance. Later that day I asked my regular confessor if this was valid, and he said yes, although it was not the ordinary. So many graces come from confession, so knowing the validity is important.


#9

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.