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Hi,

Sorry if this is in the wrong forum but I need some guidance from some faithful Catholics. I went to confession the other night and the priest's absolution was something I've never heard before. I cannot be 100% certain, but I'm pretty sure he didn't utter the words "I absolve you from your sins", rather he said something about him being a "lowly priest" and from what I can remember this was followed by "I forgive you your sins, in the name of the Father...." I was troubled by this so I decided to re-confess to another priest, who certainly did not use the "God the Father of Mercies...." formula and simply said "May our Lord Jesus Christ forgive you your sins in the name of the Father...." Should I seek out a third priest in another town and confess again, or should I trust that the first absolution was valid (I know the second was not) because I don't remember the exact wording the priest used, though it was much closer to "I absolve you" than the second.

What about all the people who go to these priests for confession who know nothing of what a valid absolution consists of? Are they absolved through invincible ignorance if their confession is sincere?

Thanks in advance.

MDA
Oh boy, what a luck you have. This also happened to me, that's why today I always have the absolution formula at hand in my mobile so if the priest tries something funny I can ask him to just repeat after me.  :grin:

If you were so unsure about the first confession that you sought another priest, and the second confession was definitely invalid, then why would you stop there?
And if all the annulments of marriage are real, then it seems a sacrament can be invalid quite easily.
You say a third priest would require you to go into another town. Well, if that's doable I would do it (maybe you could even take the opportunity to do whatever you might need in this other town). But don't take my actions as Gospel.

As to the people that didn't notice anything wrong, its up to God isn't it. This is no dogma, but I trust in His mercy.

Why do you assume that the second was invalid?  The necessary form is "Ego te absolvo" (ST III, Q. 84, Art. 3) and this was equally (not) present in both, but rather "Ego tibi peccata remitto" is used.  St. Thomas Aquinas in the same place specifically mentions that "absolvo" is used rather than "remitto", but he does not give a conclusion about the validity of the latter.  My gut would tell me it is valid still since the priest is speaking in the person of Christ, who Himself used "remitto" in John 20:23 when saying, "Whose sins you shall forgive, they are forgiven them."

If you have confidence in the first, have similar confidence in the second.  Otherwise, there's no harm in going to a third priest, since you're certainly not acting out of scruples!  Be sure this time though, as Renatus Frater said, to come prepared to politely offer the formula to the priest if he deviates as well.
Record it the next time and if it still isn't up to par, get the bishop involved.  If absolutions are this questionable it's possible baptisms, confirmations and the words of consecration could be lacking as well.  Proper form is necessary for the validity of all sacraments.  They can't make up whatever they want.
No points for creative flair?
(03-04-2015, 08:20 PM)Josey Wales Wrote: [ -> ]Record it the next time and if it still isn't up to par, get the bishop involved.  If absolutions are this questionable it's possible baptisms, confirmations and the words of consecration could be lacking as well.  Proper form is necessary for the validity of all sacraments.  They can't make up whatever they want.
It is forbidden to audio record your confession. The last time I heard of someone doing that they were excommunicated.
(03-05-2015, 12:33 AM)Poche Wrote: [ -> ]
(03-04-2015, 08:20 PM)Josey Wales Wrote: [ -> ]Record it the next time and if it still isn't up to par, get the bishop involved.  If absolutions are this questionable it's possible baptisms, confirmations and the words of consecration could be lacking as well.  Proper form is necessary for the validity of all sacraments.  They can't make up whatever they want.
It is forbidden to audio record your confession. The last time I heard of someone doing that they were excommunicated.
I don't think they meant audio recording as much as making a note of it.
Was he an eastern rite priest?
(03-04-2015, 01:58 PM)Renatus Frater Wrote: [ -> ]Oh boy, what a luck you have. This also happened to me, that's why today I always have the absolution formula at hand in my mobile so if the priest tries something funny I can ask him to just repeat after me.  :grin:

If you were so unsure about the first confession that you sought another priest, and the second confession was definitely invalid, then why would you stop there?
And if all the annulments of marriage are real, then it seems a sacrament can be invalid quite easily.
You say a third priest would require you to go into another town. Well, if that's doable I would do it (maybe you could even take the opportunity to do whatever you might need in this other town). But don't take my actions as Gospel.

As to the people that didn't notice anything wrong, its up to God isn't it. This is no dogma, but I trust in His mercy.

What formula should be written, it is just "I absolve you in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit" making a priestly sign of the cross on you!
(03-05-2015, 11:54 PM)Eduard Bodnar Wrote: [ -> ]
(03-04-2015, 01:58 PM)Renatus Frater Wrote: [ -> ]Oh boy, what a luck you have. This also happened to me, that's why today I always have the absolution formula at hand in my mobile so if the priest tries something funny I can ask him to just repeat after me.  :grin:

If you were so unsure about the first confession that you sought another priest, and the second confession was definitely invalid, then why would you stop there?
And if all the annulments of marriage are real, then it seems a sacrament can be invalid quite easily.
You say a third priest would require you to go into another town. Well, if that's doable I would do it (maybe you could even take the opportunity to do whatever you might need in this other town). But don't take my actions as Gospel.

As to the people that didn't notice anything wrong, its up to God isn't it. This is no dogma, but I trust in His mercy.

What formula should be written, it is just "I absolve you in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit" making a priestly sign of the cross on you!
The eastern rites have different formulas for absolution. 
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