What Pope Francis forgot to tell you: Before exiting the confessional, make sure you’ve been properly absolved of your sins

confessionforget

“Father, I’m waiting for absolution.”

“Oh. Okay. Jesus forgives you. Go in peace.”

“Would you please give me absolution Father?”

“I just did.”

“No. I’m sorry you didn’t. Maybe I’m being a bit fussy Father, but I really would like to hear you say the words of absolution.”

“Okay, if you insist, Go in peace and be forgiven.”

“I’m sorry Father, but those weren’t the words of absolution.”

He’s annoyed with me now. “Well what do you want me to say?”

“You could say the full words from the rite, but if you want you could just say, ‘I absolve you from your sins.”

Now much annoyed he said, “I absolve you of your sins.”

Has this happened to you? I’m curious because some friends of mine say the same thing happens to them. They are given a great long piece of advice which they don’t’ really want because they have a spiritual director for that, but then the priest doesn’t give them absolution.

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Editor’s note: Catholics who rarely go to confession are unlikely to even know about such sloppy practices. Even good, thorough, well-intentioned priests may get a bit “loopy” after hearing an hour or two of confessions.

Know the words of absolution and before you leave the confessional, make sure you hear the priest say them:

“I absolve you from your sins in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” 

A Guide to the Sacrament of Penance

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3 Comments

  1. This post is nothing short of appallingly scary. That is, if the words of absolution are truly binding on Earth and in Heaven but only as prescribed. If any old words will “do,” then the Church herself is a sham, and not the Bride of Christ.

    • A more “charitable” take on this would be calling such flawed confessions valid but illicit – hoping that God would provide what was intended and “advertised” by his Catholic Church. That said, I like the “absolute” certainty that is deliberately built into the Sacrament of Reconciliation and would not have it any other way.

      Thank you for commenting!

      Doug

      • “…hoping that God would provide what was intended…” (emphasis added)

        Lest we forget, the road to Hell is paved with good intentions.


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