Was this confession valid?


#1

I recently went to confession at the Newman Center of the university where I work and had a very strange experience. After I had confessed my sins in kind and number, the priest gave me no penance. In addition, instead of the normal formula of absolution, he traced a cross on my forehead and said, "God forgives you". While I'm fairly certain that this was an abuse, I'm not sure about the validity of the sacrament. So, I have a couple questions:

1) To whom do I report this abuse?

2) Was this simply illicit but valid, or was it invalid?

3) What do I do now?:confused:


#2

Hello.

Not exactly certain, but I think the priest has to say the words "I absolve you from your sins in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit."

I bet if you addressed this question to Father Serpa he could tell you the proper answer.

God bless you for going to Confession. And please pray for me.


#3

[quote="Monkey1976, post:1, topic:305126"]
I recently went to confession at the Newman Center of the university where I work and had a very strange experience. After I had confessed my sins in kind and number, the priest gave me no penance. In addition, instead of the normal formula of absolution, he traced a cross on my forehead and said, "God forgives you". While I'm fairly certain that this was an abuse, I'm not sure about the validity of the sacrament. So, I have a couple questions:

1) To whom do I report this abuse?

2) Was this simply illicit but valid, or was it invalid?

3) What do I do now?:confused:

[/quote]

If the priest didn't say "I absolve you", you are not absolved by the usual means.

If you don't hear it, you should ask the priest to say it; I've had to do this.

God Bless


#4

Ugh, I am sorry this happened to you, which it shouldn't have!

Good for you for going to confession, though.

It sounds like technically it was probably not valid, because my understanding is that the form of the sacrament is "I absolve". Given that he made a sign of the cross, though, means he signified his intent to do what the Church does in the sacrament, so...

but hey, I don't think it's my job to make a judgment call.

Can you find another priest and explain it all to him?

I think that if you went to communion afterward, it was not a sin, since you did your part, even if the priest did not do his properly.

In the meantime, I would probably tell the bishop's office, as politely as you can.


#5

I'm so sorry, but it wasn't valid. He has to at least say "I absolve you." You'll want to go again...I feel really bad for you, that's just awful.


#6

I personally would not go to Communion until I knew I had been absolved - and since it sounds like the priest didn't even try to give you absolution ("God forgives you" is not at all the same as "I absolve you", at least not in the Roman rite), it doesn't sound like you were. The intention of the priest may have been there, but not the form. To be valid a sacrament must have valid matter and form, I believe. I would go to another priest for confession before receiving Communion, if I were you. I may also consider reporting this priest to your bishop or other competent authority, as he is harming the faithful and his faculties for hearing confession should be reviewed.

I'm so sorry this happened to you. Grrr, why can't priests just do their job?! :mad: Is it really that hard to listen to a list of sins, give a penance and have the penitent say an act of contrition, and then give the memorized absolution formula?! :confused:


#7

[quote="suissemissed, post:6, topic:305126"]
I personally would not go to Communion until I knew I had been absolved - and since it sounds like the priest didn't even try to give you absolution ("God forgives you" is not at all the same as "I absolve you", at least not in the Roman rite), it doesn't sound like you were. The intention of the priest may have been there, but not the form. To be valid a sacrament must have valid matter and form, I believe. I would go to another priest for confession before receiving Communion, if I were you. I may also consider reporting this priest to your bishop or other competent authority, as he is harming the faithful and his faculties for hearing confession should be reviewed.

I'm so sorry this happened to you. Grrr, why can't priests just do their job?! :mad: Is it really that hard to listen to a list of sins, give a penance and have the penitent say an act of contrition, and then give the memorized absolution formula?! :confused:

[/quote]

Thank you. My next question is: Who is the competent authority over a priest assigned to the Newman Center of a private university? Is it the local bishop?

Thanks!


#8

[quote="Monkey1976, post:7, topic:305126"]
Thank you. My next question is: Who is the competent authority over a priest assigned to the Newman Center of a private university? Is it the local bishop?

Thanks!

[/quote]

Yes, it is always the local bishop, since even religious orders that operate on a campus (I don't know, obviously, what campus you went to) are subject to his authority, and operate only by his permission there.


#9

As the others have said, this is not a valid absolution. The minimum valid form for absolution is "I absolve you of your sins". See Fr Z's explanation.

There are two related issues which have been answered several times here in CAF.

[LIST]
*]The lack of a penance does not invalidate the confession and absolution
*]Many priests say the (correct) words of absolution while the penitent is saying their act of contrition, and sometimes the penitent doesn't hear clearly and is not sure they have been absolved. In this case, we can assume that we have been absolved. Possibly this happened? However, if you are quite sure that he did not say any words of absolution, other than those you mentioned here, then this is all very strange, and both an abuse and an invalid sacrament.
[/LIST]


#10

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