What words are necessary for a priest to forgive sins?
The priest must say "I absolve you of your sins in the Name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost.

The key words are "I absolve you - Ego te absolvo". These words are the form, just as the words "I baptize you (N.) in the Name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost" matter, so do the words of absolution matter.
(10-29-2009, 12:10 PM)Elwin Ransom Wrote: The faithful are not bound by the shortcomings of a priest.  If we walk into the confessional with the intention of making a good confession, we admit our sins, and make a good act of contrition, then the sacrament is valid, even if the priest does not say everything he should say.  It's just like if a priest says the Mass with a mortal sin on his soul.  He has just committed another mortal sin, compounding the first, but the faithful do not, and should not, know about this sin.  As far as the people are concerned, it is still a valid Consecration, and they still make their Sunday duty to receive the Eucharist.  Same with Reconciliation.  If we go to a priest that we do not know, and they do not "perform" the Sacrament correctly, it is not the fault of the penitent, and the absolution is valid.  That said, we should not go back to that priest unless we have no other choice, and certainly not go back because "Fr. So-n-so's confessions are really easy."  NonSumDignus, your Sacrament was valid, just find a different confessor in the future.

That would only be correct if the person confessing were able to make a perfect Act of Contrition.  Otherwise, the absolution of the priest is necessary.  However if the person was not properly absolved, and did not know it, they would not be culpable for any subsequent sacrileges such as recieving communion unworthily when they have moral certitude that they are properly disposed to recieve.  The previously confessed but unabsolved sins would be forgiven on the next valid absolution even if they are not re-confessed. 


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