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

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“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

Why frequent reception of the Sacrament of Penance can work miracles.


Romans 6:14  For sin shall not have dominion over you:
for you are not under the law, but under grace.

Grace is the currency of Heaven … and it’s also the way God enables, empowers, and sanctifies those who love him.

Probably one of the most under-appreciated aspects of the Sacrament of Reconciliation is the fact that (like all sacraments) it infuses abundant grace into the soul.

How much grace?

For the sake of argument, let’s call it “enough to replace all that had been lost, through sin … plus a little more.”

What does this mean, for Catholics who are seriously pursuing personal holiness, conversion, and ultimate perfection in Jesus Christ?

Every time you make a good confession … no matter how grievously you might have offended God … you leave … absolved of all your sins … but also with (at least) a little more grace in your soul … than you ever had before.

Imagine what would happen,
if every time you went to the bank,
you left with more money in your account
than when you went in!

Scripture informs us that God has always empowered the weak and the infirm in this way:

2Corinthians 12:9  And he said to me:
My grace is sufficient for thee:
for power is made perfect in infirmity.
Gladly therefore will I glory in my infirmities,
that the power of Christ may dwell in me.

Regularly presenting ourselves before the Lord, through the Sacrament of Reconciliation, serves to empower us to overcome any and all of our human infirmities (spiritual weaknesses, and even physical illnesses) through the sufficiency of God’s abundant grace.

Accepting this fact and acting on it (in humility and faith) not only keeps the forces of the world, the flesh, and the devil under control … but it is a sure and certain way to please God … since it also keeps us perfectly centered in his will … and his plan.

It doesn’t get any better than that, this side of Heaven!

Based on all of this, how often should a Catholic go to confession? Probably a lot more often than we do!

Related article

“Cafeteria Catholicism” is reconciled in the confessional … or not

We all sin. But that doesn’t make us cafeteria Catholics. The real difference is that cafeteria Catholics simply don’t acknowledge sin.

While we all transgress, a committed Catholic will still judge themselves against an established standard. We will inevitably fall short of those standards but we still strive to achieve it and emulate ourselves after Christ to the best of our ability.

The cafeteria Catholic may act in very much the same manner as a faithful Catholic but simply removes all that striving. When confronted with a discrepancy between their will and the teachings of the Church they simply change the standards based on what they feel is right for them. And let’s face it, when we set our own fungible standards, sin becomes impossible because our decision making becomes the standard of behavior.

We all fall short of the standard. The cafeteria catholic just lowers the standard.

Courtesy of  Creative Minority Report

Pope urges priests to offer Confession and educate faithful on sin

The Holy Father also touched on the “crisis” of participation in the Sacrament of Penance.

He said that this lack of repentance is “an appeal addressed first and foremost to priests and to their great responsibility to educate the people of God in the radical demands of the Gospel.

In particular, it calls on them generously to dedicate themselves to hearing sacramental confessions, and courageously to guide their flock not to conform itself to this world, but to make choices that go against the tide, avoiding deals and compromises.”

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