Was this a valid absolution?

I went to confession this morning, (face to face) and the priest said the words of absolution completely correctly to my recollection but I don’t recall him raising his hand up over my head as is typical when saying the world of absolution, would this have invalidated the sacrament?


So essentially, all a priest needs to do to give a valid absolution is to say the necessary words? I usually go anonymously, but this confession was by appointment so I didn’t mind going face to face, and I just found it odd that the priest didn’t extend his hand over my head, he did however make the sign of the cross at the conclusion of the words of absolution. So I assume it was valid?

Yes, it was valid as long as you heard “I absolve you…”

The absolution was valid. “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/ebooks/master/trent/tsacr-p.htm

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