ASK FATHER: Father didn’t make Sign of the Cross at absolution


From a reader…


I went to confession this morning preparation for Ascension Mass, the priest was wonderful, yet when it came to the absolution part, i could see through the holes of the screen that the priest didn’t make the sign of the cross over me while saying, “I absolve you In the name…” he dI’d say the full form “God the Father of mercies…” Is my confession valid and the absolution?

Ahhh Fathers, why do you trouble and confuse people so?

Say the black and do the red. It’s not hard.

The priest should have made the sign of the Cross at the time of absolution. The fact that he did not, however, does not invalidate the sacrament.

You have confessed, you’ve been absolved, your sins are forgiven.

Don’t worry about the priest. It is an incredibly rare thing for absolution to be invalid. So long as you confess your mortal sins in kind and number, sincerely, you’ll be okay.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in "How To..." - Practical Notes, ACTION ITEM!, GO TO CONFESSION, Liturgy Science Theatre 3000 and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. tgarcia2 says:

    What if he didn’t have me say the act of contrition? I went again…just to be safe…and at another time with the curate.

  2. Joe in Canada says:

    a) the Act of Contrition can be dicey. I don’t have a parish so I help out. In some parishes the people have been told to say the Act of Contrition later, or even that it is not necessary. Usually they don’t know one, so I have to do a “call and response” style on the spot. Of course it’s not Father’s job to “have you say the act of contrition”, you should just say it. You don’t need his permission. There is nothing in the ritual that says “Priest: ‘act of contrition’. Pen. ‘O my God I am ….”
    b) maybe smaller holes in the screen, so that penitent can’t see what Father is doing, or bigger holes, so that the penitent can see that maybe he actually did make the sign of the cross but they didn’t notice.

  3. disc.s.thom says:

    I would suggest that Father may have made the sign of the Cross, just not in large fashion. If a penitent is behind the screen, I often do not lift my arm but make the gestures with my hand and fingers.

  4. Priam1184 says:

    It is difficult to know what is going on on the other side of the screen in a Confessional, which is the point, so don’t try to figure it out. That is my philosophy.

Comments are closed.