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Author Topic: Proper formula for absolution in Confession  (Read 3192 times)

dumspirospero

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I recently returned from Confession....when the priest absolved me, he said "I absolve you in The Name of The Father, and of The Son, and Of The Holy Spirit"....Instead of saying "I absolve you of your sins in the name of The Father....

Was my absolution valid?
"If you walk into a church and see the priest dressed up in a clown costume, know who laid out the vestments... Satan." --Fr. Corapi

Vetus Ordo

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Re: Proper formula for absolution in Confession
« Reply #1 on: May 26, 2010, 03:31:pm »
According to what you have told us, it seems there's no reason to doubt the validity of your absolution.

Quote from: Catholic Encyclopedia
It is the teaching of the Council of Trent that the form of the Sacrament of Penance, wherein its force principally consists, is placed in these words of the minister, "I absolve thee"; to which words certain prayers are, according to the custom of Holy Church, laudably added etc. (Sess. XIV, iii). That the public penance  was concluded with some sort of prayer for pardon, is the doctrine  of antiquity, particularly as contained in the earliest sacramentaries (Duchesne, Christian Worship, 440, 441). Leo the Great  (450) does not hesitate to assert that pardon is impossible without the prayer of the priest ("ut indulgentia nisi supplicationibus sacerdotum nequeat obtineri"). In the early Church these forms  certainly varied (Duchesne, loc. cit.). Surely all the sacramentaries assert that the form was deprecatory, and it is only in the eleventh century that we find a tendency to pass to indicative and personal formulæ (Duchesne, loc. cit.). Some of the forms used at the transition period are interesting: "May God absolve thee from all thy sins, and through the penance imposed mayst thou be absolved by the Father, the Son, the Holy Ghost, by the Angels, by the Saints, and by me, a wretched sinner" (Garofali, Ordo ad dandam pœnitentiam, 15). Then come really indicative and personal formulæ, often preceded by the supplicatory prayer, "Misereatur tui" etc. These forms, while much the same in substance, vary in wording not a little (Vacant, Dict. de théol. 167). It was not until the scholastic doctrine of "matter and form" in the sacraments  reached its full development that the formula of absolution became fixed as we have it at present. The form  in use in the Roman Church today has not changed since long before the Council of Florence. It is divided into four parts as follows: —

    * (1) Deprecatory prayer. "May the Almighty God have mercy on you, and forgiving your sins, bring you to life everlasting. Amen." Then, lifting his right hand towards the penitent, the priest continues: "May the Almighty and Merciful God grant you pardon, absolution, and remission of your sins".
    * (2) "May Our Lord Jesus Christ absolve you, and I, by His authority, absolve you from every bond of excommunication [suspension, in the case of a cleric only] and interdict as far as I can and you may need."
    * (3) "I absolve you from your sins in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen." (While repeating the names of the Trinity, the priest makes the sign of the cross over the penitent.)
    * (4) "May the Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ, the merits of the Blessed Virgin Mary and of all the Saints, what good you have done or what evil you have suffered be to you for the remission of (your) sins, growth in grace and the reward of everlasting life. Amen." In the decree "Pro Armenis", 1439, Eugene IV teaches that the "form" of the Sacrament is really in those words of the priest: "Ego absolvo te a peccatis tuis in nomine Patris" etc., and theologians teach that absolution would be valid should the priest use, "Absolvo te", "Absolvo te a peccatis tuis", or words that are the exact equivalent (Suarez, Disp., XIX, i, n. 24; Lugo, Disp., XIII, i, nn. 17, 18; Lehmkuhl, de Pœnit., 9th ed., 199).
« Last Edit: May 26, 2010, 03:33:pm by Vetus Ordo »
"THE LORD is my light and my salvation, whom shall I fear? The Lord is the protector of my life: of whom shall I be afraid?" (Psalm 26:1)

"And we, too, being called by His will in Christ Jesus, are not justified by ourselves, nor by our own wisdom, or understanding, or godliness, or works which we have wrought in holiness of heart; but by that faith through which, from the beginning, Almighty God has justified all men; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen." — Clement, bishop of Rome

"I love truth," says he, "and not sects. I am sometimes a peripatetic, a stoic, or an academician, and often none of them; but—always a Christian. To philosophise is to love wisdom; and the true wisdom is Jesus Christ. Let us read the historians, the poets, and the philosophers; but let us have in our hearts the gospel of Jesus Christ, in which alone is perfect wisdom and perfect happiness." — Petrarch

dumspirospero

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Re: Proper formula for absolution in Confession
« Reply #2 on: May 26, 2010, 03:37:pm »
Thanks for the info Vetus...I alway knew the "I absolve thee" part was necessary, but I wasn't sure if it had to be accompanied with the words "of all your sins" in order for it to be valid...it makes me feel a lot better.  I always prefer a Traditional Priest so I don't have these worries, because their form is usually very precise and accurate, but I unfortunately don't have that luxury very often.  God Bless

According to what you have told us, it seems there's no reason to doubt the validity of your absolution.

Quote from: Catholic Encyclopedia
It is the teaching of the Council of Trent that the form of the Sacrament of Penance, wherein its force principally consists, is placed in these words of the minister, "I absolve thee"; to which words certain prayers are, according to the custom of Holy Church, laudably added etc. (Sess. XIV, iii). That the public penance  was concluded with some sort of prayer for pardon, is the doctrine  of antiquity, particularly as contained in the earliest sacramentaries (Duchesne, Christian Worship, 440, 441). Leo the Great  (450) does not hesitate to assert that pardon is impossible without the prayer of the priest ("ut indulgentia nisi supplicationibus sacerdotum nequeat obtineri"). In the early Church these forms  certainly varied (Duchesne, loc. cit.). Surely all the sacramentaries assert that the form was deprecatory, and it is only in the eleventh century that we find a tendency to pass to indicative and personal formulæ (Duchesne, loc. cit.). Some of the forms used at the transition period are interesting: "May God absolve thee from all thy sins, and through the penance imposed mayst thou be absolved by the Father, the Son, the Holy Ghost, by the Angels, by the Saints, and by me, a wretched sinner" (Garofali, Ordo ad dandam pœnitentiam, 15). Then come really indicative and personal formulæ, often preceded by the supplicatory prayer, "Misereatur tui" etc. These forms, while much the same in substance, vary in wording not a little (Vacant, Dict. de théol. 167). It was not until the scholastic doctrine of "matter and form" in the sacraments  reached its full development that the formula of absolution became fixed as we have it at present. The form  in use in the Roman Church today has not changed since long before the Council of Florence. It is divided into four parts as follows: —

    * (1) Deprecatory prayer. "May the Almighty God have mercy on you, and forgiving your sins, bring you to life everlasting. Amen." Then, lifting his right hand towards the penitent, the priest continues: "May the Almighty and Merciful God grant you pardon, absolution, and remission of your sins".
    * (2) "May Our Lord Jesus Christ absolve you, and I, by His authority, absolve you from every bond of excommunication [suspension, in the case of a cleric only] and interdict as far as I can and you may need."
    * (3) "I absolve you from your sins in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen." (While repeating the names of the Trinity, the priest makes the sign of the cross over the penitent.)
    * (4) "May the Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ, the merits of the Blessed Virgin Mary and of all the Saints, what good you have done or what evil you have suffered be to you for the remission of (your) sins, growth in grace and the reward of everlasting life. Amen." In the decree "Pro Armenis", 1439, Eugene IV teaches that the "form" of the Sacrament is really in those words of the priest: "Ego absolvo te a peccatis tuis in nomine Patris" etc., and theologians teach that absolution would be valid should the priest use, "Absolvo te", "Absolvo te a peccatis tuis", or words that are the exact equivalent (Suarez, Disp., XIX, i, n. 24; Lugo, Disp., XIII, i, nn. 17, 18; Lehmkuhl, de Pœnit., 9th ed., 199).

"If you walk into a church and see the priest dressed up in a clown costume, know who laid out the vestments... Satan." --Fr. Corapi

dumspirospero

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Re: Proper formula for absolution in Confession
« Reply #3 on: May 26, 2010, 03:42:pm »
Ok...now I know this is really OCD, but is there a real difference in "thee" and "you" or are they interchangeable?  Sorry, but I was just wondering
"If you walk into a church and see the priest dressed up in a clown costume, know who laid out the vestments... Satan." --Fr. Corapi

Vetus Ordo

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Re: Proper formula for absolution in Confession
« Reply #4 on: May 26, 2010, 03:45:pm »
Ok...now I know this is really OCD, but is there a real difference in "thee" and "you" or are they interchangeable?  Sorry, but I was just wondering

No, they're interchangeable. "Thee" was the proper second person singular in English but nowadays it has become archaic. "I absolve you" or "I absolve thee" mean the same thing: Ego te absolvo. As you've just read, "theologians teach that absolution would be valid should the priest use, "Absolvo te", "Absolvo te a peccatis tuis", or words that are the exact equivalent".
"THE LORD is my light and my salvation, whom shall I fear? The Lord is the protector of my life: of whom shall I be afraid?" (Psalm 26:1)

"And we, too, being called by His will in Christ Jesus, are not justified by ourselves, nor by our own wisdom, or understanding, or godliness, or works which we have wrought in holiness of heart; but by that faith through which, from the beginning, Almighty God has justified all men; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen." — Clement, bishop of Rome

"I love truth," says he, "and not sects. I am sometimes a peripatetic, a stoic, or an academician, and often none of them; but—always a Christian. To philosophise is to love wisdom; and the true wisdom is Jesus Christ. Let us read the historians, the poets, and the philosophers; but let us have in our hearts the gospel of Jesus Christ, in which alone is perfect wisdom and perfect happiness." — Petrarch


mike6240

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Re: Proper formula for absolution in Confession
« Reply #5 on: May 26, 2010, 06:22:pm »
That's why my priest says the absolution during the Sacrament in Latin -  the old way before Vat. II.  No ambiguities there.  That's why I also refuse to go to Confession in English (or any other language except Latin).  I'd advise you to do the same, that way there's no question about validity.
 

dumspirospero

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Re: Proper formula for absolution in Confession
« Reply #6 on: May 26, 2010, 06:47:pm »
And when that is not possible, what shall I and others do?

That's why my priest says the absolution during the Sacrament in Latin -  the old way before Vat. II.  No ambiguities there.  That's why I also refuse to go to Confession in English (or any other language except Latin).  I'd advise you to do the same, that way there's no question about validity.
 

"If you walk into a church and see the priest dressed up in a clown costume, know who laid out the vestments... Satan." --Fr. Corapi

Rosarium

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Re: Proper formula for absolution in Confession
« Reply #7 on: May 26, 2010, 08:54:pm »
Ok...now I know this is really OCD, but is there a real difference in "thee" and "you" or are they interchangeable?  Sorry, but I was just wondering

No, but "you" can be used for thou, but thou cannot be used for you.

Thou and its forms are singular. You is plural. So, thou can be used for one person only, whereas you can be used for one or more.




The_Harlequin_King

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Re: Proper formula for absolution in Confession
« Reply #8 on: May 27, 2010, 01:58:am »
No, but "you" can be used for thou, but thou cannot be used for you.

Thou and its forms are singular. You is plural. So, thou can be used for one person only, whereas you can be used for one or more.

So if a priest was absolving a group of people (let's assume an emergency situation), he'd have to use "you" instead of "thee", right? I wonder if using "thee" would actually make the group absolution invalid.
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