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Full Version: Sigh. Validity of confession, quite urgent.
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I do not know whether to rejoice or feel terrible right now, I am rather confused and conflicted.  I went to my cathedral for Mass today, in the afternoon.  The liturgy is generally conservative and the music is not the banal sort.  Not quite Gregorian chant, but respectable.  It being Easter of course, the cathedral was mobbed by Easter-Catholics, etc.  Or maybe I'm making a rash judgement there, in which case I apologise.

Today I was in a state of mortal sin.  I tried to nab a priest at the rectory but none were available.  As I was in the pew, one of the priests was making his way up greeting people.  When he got to me, he shook my hand, we exchanged "Happy Easter!" and I lent in, said I felt horrible for asking, but could he possibly hear a quick confession?  He paused for a second, and the place was mobbed, I know I was pushing my luck.  He told me to make an act of contrition right there and then, JUST the act of contrition, and I was thinking "guess no confession today.." and after I finished... "I absolve you".  He said the formula, blessed me, and I was quite stunned.  I kissed his hand in thanks and he said he'd pray for me.

I was awestruck.  But I was also confused.  I have a serious concern as to the validity of that absolution, as much as my heart begs for it to have been valid.  I did not tell him any of my sins, I made an act of contrition, and he absolved me.

I will most certainly be confessing these sins at the next opportunity.  But due to their mortal nature, I would like to know if at this time, I can consider myself still to be in a state of mortal sin?
I want to say your confession was valid. I am 99% sure that it's valid.
Did he say "I absolve you of all your sins in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit - Amen"?

This is the proper form. You provided the proper matter by having sins to confess, even if you did not openly name them. The fact that he only asked for the Act of Contrition is strange, but you knew your sins and your contrition was known to God.

In the eastern catholic church, often people confess very general things: "I committed envy, jealousy, lust", etc. - and they are still absolved validly.

Do not fear. Christ the Lord is risen, He is alive, and He is merciful to us sinners in His glorious, majestic resurrection.
By the way, I do want to say that this was a crappy thing for the priest to do. Not only did he cause doubt in you, but now everyone that witnessed this will think they can go to confession this way. It also turns confession into a mere formality..."let's get you absolved so that you can receive Communion."
Agreed, damooster. Not a very pastoral way to go about things.
How was that not pastoral???? ??? ??? ???

A Catholic was in some distress. The priest is doing his best to enable the penitent to participate in the Sacraments. Absolution was given.
190.
Q. How do the priests of the Church exercise the power of forgiving sins?
A. The priests of the Church exercise the power of forgiving sins by hearing the confession of sins, and granting pardon for them as ministers of God and in His name.
The power to forgive sins implies the obligation of going to confession; because, as most sins are secret, how could the Apostles know what sins to forgive and what sins to retain-that is, not to forgive-unless they were told by the sinner what sins he had committed? 'They could not see into his heart as God can, and know his sins; and so if the sinner wished his sins forgiven, he had to confess them to the Apostles or their successors. Therefore, since we have the Sacrament of Penance, we must also have confession.


Catechism of Baltimore
(04-20-2014, 12:21 PM)triumphguy Wrote: [ -> ]How was that not pastoral???? ??? ??? ???

A Catholic was in some distress. The priest is doing his best to enable the penitent to participate in the Sacraments. Absolution was given.

This. What was vaguely nonsensical is that anybody would wait right before mass on Easter Sunday to ask for the sacrament of reconciliation, while the priest is engaged in other business. It was an elegant, licit, and holy way of addressing the issue. Bravo, father.
(04-20-2014, 12:21 PM)triumphguy Wrote: [ -> ]How was that not pastoral?

A Catholic was in some distress. The priest is doing his best to enable the penitent to participate in the Sacraments. Absolution was given.

Indeed a Catholic was in distress... but the priest did not take the person to a private place, nor did he even hear any sins. The whole point of confession is that it is done unto God. Theoretically speaking, we cannot be publicly sorry for that which is not confessed openly. The absolution was, of course, valid. This is a matter of principle, not validity.  :)
(04-20-2014, 12:50 PM)Heorot Wrote: [ -> ]
(04-20-2014, 12:21 PM)triumphguy Wrote: [ -> ]How was that not pastoral?

A Catholic was in some distress. The priest is doing his best to enable the penitent to participate in the Sacraments. Absolution was given.

Indeed a Catholic was in distress... but the priest did not take the person to a private place, nor did he even hear any sins. The whole point of confession is that it is done unto God. Theoretically speaking, we cannot be publicly sorry for that which is not confessed openly. The absolution was, of course, valid. This is a matter of principle, not validity.  :)
Apparently the priest could not take the confessor to a private place, and probably (and correctly) intuited that the penitent was in some distress right before the vigil, and therefore had grave matter to confess, and therefore understood the situation and asked for an act of contrition. At which point absolution was given.

Have you ever organized a major liturgy?

I organized and led 2 liturgies of the word on Tuesday for Holy Week for my High School at the local parish. 750 kids attended each. The amount of last minute stress is amazing.

Bravo to the priest for taking a moment.
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