Wednesday, April 18, 2007

A question for our American readers

I wanted to put this in a separate post as it is something which intrigues me.

I went to confession on the first day of my pilgrimage to Medjugorje and an American priest heard my confession. What intrigued me was the Absolution, the words of which I don't remember exactly but went along the lines of:

May Jesus Christ absolve you and by the authority He has given me I absolve you of your sins in the Name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.

A fellow seminarian has suggested this is the Old Rite absolution. I do not doubt this but wonder if it is the form of absolution used in America in the New Rite.

Can anyone help?

11 comments:

Emitte said...

This is not absolution according the old rite. Absolution in the old rite can only be administered in Latin, as with any of the sacraments according to the Traditional Roman Rite.

LL said...

Yes, that is in essence and in translation, the form of absolution used before Vatican II.

According to Trent, for valid form, the essential words, in whatever language, are: "I absolve you".

The new Rite of Penance (12/2/73) clearly states the essential formula in large letters: “Et ego te absolvo a peccatis tuis in nomine Patris, et Filii, + et Spiritus Sancti.” To which the penitent responds: “Amen” (Ordo Paenitentiae, n. 46).

The prayer 'Deus misericordia' ("God the Father of mercies...") that precedes it is part of the new Rite of Penance but is not required for validity.

Nevertheless, it seems to me strange, if not somewhat illicit, to use the old form, in English (hence, a self-made translation?) without episcopal authorization.

Kat said...

I don't know but I have always gotten: "God the Father of mercies, through the death and resurrection of his Son, has reconciled the world to himself and sent the Holy Spirit among us for the forgiveness of sins; through the ministry of the Church may God give you pardon and peace, and I absolve you from your sins in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit."

Kacy said...

I don't think this is part of an American new rite. Though, I've been Catholic for less than a month, I've been to confession a few times and with different priests. The only words of absolution I've heard are, "Of these and all your sins, I absolve you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit."

Father Stephanos, O.S.B. said...

That is not the absolution in the present rite, even in the U.S.A.

However, for the sake of validity, the words you quoted do contain the part of the formula that the priest MUST speak for validity of the sacrament:
"I absolve you of your sins in the Name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit."

So the absolution was valid.

Mac McLernon said...

It sounds very similar to the form used by Fr Tim...

HanseaticEd said...

Obviously, a more precise rendition of what you heard would be ideal, but what you have written strikes me as a bit Anglican/Episcopal. Check out an American Book of Common Prayer, 1979 edition, to see if that might be the source.

I hope I'm wrong...

Ma Beck said...

Never heard this, and I belong to a very trad parish, and often attend the Tridentine Mass.
The only words of absolution I've ever heard, in all my thirty four years, is the standard:
"God the Father of Mercies, through the death and resurrection of your Son... etc."

Fr Tim Finigan said...

The old rite absolution has first of all "Misereatur tui omnipotens Deus etc." then "Inulgentiam, absolutionem et remissionem etc." usually said in Latin by the priest while you say the Act of Contrition.

Then the priest says "May Our Lord Jesus Christ absolve you from your sins, and I with his authority do absolve you, in the name of the Father...." This could be said in the vernacular before Vatican II.

The "I absolve you" form is required in the Latin rite although the Eastern rite has a deprecative form which, of course, is also valid.

You can find out about all this in my Sacramental Theology notes :-)

Orthfully Catholic said...

Thank you everyone for your comments. I know it was valid because of the 'I absolve you...' part but was simply wondering if the American wording was different to the British because we had each gone to a different American priest and heard the same formula. It seems to be a simple case of them using the pre-council formula - which is a surprise after having experienced their post-council Masses.

Anonymous said...

Could it be that the person to whom you went to confession was not a Catholic Priest at all?