Does a priest have to wear a stole during confession? I surprised a priest and asked for confession and he did without a stole.
No, a priest does not have to wear a stole.
The stole is a powerful symbol of the authority and power granted by Christ the High Priest through His Church’s legitimate shepherds, successors of the Apostles, to forgive sins. The stole is a sign of that the priest is – in your tribunal – sitting in the place of the one who is both Justice and Mercy. But wearing the stole is not, in itself, necessary for validity or even for liceity of absolution. You do you part as best you can and confession every mortal sin you can remember (after a good examination of conscience) in both kind and number and then Father, having faculties to do so, will do his part, and give you absolution.
Many priests carry a stole all the time. I, for example, have one in the spare mag pouch of my 5.11’s along with my oil stock. The form of absolution and of anointing and of the Apostolic Pardon are in my head. The stole’s leather envelope/case was made by one of you readers. HERE
Walk up to Father while he is wearing a polo shirt, washing his car… no problem. Run into Father on the running path around the lake… no sweat (well… lots of sweat). Encounter a priest at the airport while you are heading somewhere and he is his black suit… good to go, stole or not.
WHAMO! All your sins will be forgiven, taken away, gone, eradicated, washed clean in the Blood of the Lamb.
Though your sins be red as scarlet, they will become as white as snow.
There is no sin so horrible that we little mortals can commit that God will not forgive provide you ask for forgiveness.
Examine your consciences, GO TO CONFESSION… and ask.
Sacramental confession is the way Christ Himself gave us to approach Him for forgiveness of sins.
Don’t leave anything to chance. GO TO CONFESSION. That way you’ll know what just happened.