From a reader…
In all the time I have gone to confession, I say the Act of Contrition, and then the priest absolves me.
However, the priest at my new parish does Absolution at the same time I am saying the Act of Contrition, and says it very softly. I asked him once if he had done it (absolution) and after he said yes, I asked my wife and she confirmed that he said it simultaneously to the Act of Contrition with her as well.
This seems strange. Am I right to be concerned?
No, this is not a problem. This is a standard and old fashioned thing to do.
The basic principle is this. When a priest is morally certain that you properly disposed and are sufficiently sorry for your sins, he shouldn’t delay absolution. So, when you start the Act of Contrition, which traditionally first expresses attrition before it expresses contrition, he will start the form of absolution while you are still pronouncing the Act of Contrition.
The classic Act of Contrition first expresses the less perfect, but sufficient, sorrow for sins, attrition, which is fear of punishment. Contrition is more perfect, sorrow for love of God.
So, don’t be surprised if a priest starts the form of absolution while you are saying the Act of Contrition. Not all do this, but quite a few traditional priests do.