Were my sins absolved?


Went to confession and after I said my sins the priest asked me to say an Act of Contrition, which I did and then he was whispering while I said it. After I said it, he didn't say anything. Were my sins absolved? I didn't hear the words of absolution. Could he have said it while I was saying he Act of Contrition?

Should I assume my sins were forgiven?


Yes they were.


Yet, you should hear the words of absolution, just as Jesus spoke them to those whom He forgave (Matthew 9:2, Mark 2:5). How else will you be at peace, even if you are absolved of them? If you see that Priest again, ask him and express your doubt and confusion to him. He may have been trying to speed the process up, in anticipation of additional penitents, but you need to hear those words.


I’ve heard that some priests recite the words of absolution while the penitent says the act of contrition. Perhaps to save time, especially in larger parishes.

You don’t need to hear the words for the absolution to be valid; heck, you can be unconscious. What matters is whether he said them, specifically “I absolve you from your sins” or some other faithful translation of the original Latin. Not hearing them just means you can’t be certain he said them right (or at all).

You do have the right to ask the priest to pronounce the words of the absolution if you’re uncertain if he did, or if he did so using the wrong words (e.g., “You are absolved of your sins” or “May God absolve you of your sins”). Next time I would just do that if you’re uncertain.


Actually, I feel more at peace when the absolution is inaudible or in Latin. It’s just that I know the latter case, a priest who exerts the effort to do it in Latin is most likely doing it properly, and if it’s done quietly, then I presume it was done properly.


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