From a priest reader…
At the risk of testing your patience . . . is it valid if the Priest (after improvising the first half of the absolution formula) says: “I absolve you from all the sins of your life . . .”?
I am a Priest, and I cannot find ANYONE I know that doesn’t mess around with the absolution formula! I say it (and all sacramental formulae) EXACTLY as they appear in the rituals. It drives me crazy!
I have mentioned it to the offending priests , only to get a snotty reply; I mentioned to the Priest who was pastor at the time. He was kind and seemed concerned–but nothing happened.
Given the state of the Church, I have lost confidence in our Bishop and even the SCDF–it’s cardinal against cardinal and bishop against bishop! I am so disgusted and disheartened at this point.
Father, I hear you.
First, what the well-meaning and likely soft-headed improve amateur said was probably valid. That doesn’t in any way excuse this sort of thing.
As far as I know, the only approved English translation – at least in the USA – for the new-fangled post-Conciliar form of absolution is (with my emphasis):
“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. Amen.”
It is amazing how many questions I get about the antics of jackass priests in the matter of the words of absolution or some other fundamental aspect of the sacrament.
Priests have to get the word out about the legitimate form of absolution. Furthermore, they should not in any way allow another priest to say something weird and questionable during their own confessions. No. This has to be firmly resisted, put to an end.
By the way, I have an old PODCAzT about the Latin Forms of Absolution
Finally, in the document Redemptionis Sacramentum we read at the end:
Complaints Regarding Abuses in Liturgical Matters
[183.] In an altogether particular manner, let everyone do all that is in their power to ensure that the Most Holy Sacrament of the Eucharist [all sacraments, actually] will be protected from any and every irreverence or distortion and that all abuses be thoroughly corrected. This is a most serious duty incumbent upon each and every one, and all are bound to carry it out without any favouritism.
[184.] Any Catholic, whether Priest or Deacon or lay member of Christ’s faithful, has the right to lodge a complaint regarding a liturgical abuse to the diocesan Bishop or the competent Ordinary equivalent to him in law, or to the Apostolic See on account of the primacy of the Roman Pontiff. It is fitting, however, insofar as possible, that the report or complaint be submitted first to the diocesan Bishop. This is naturally to be done in truth and charity.
I would add to this that, in a parish, start with the pastor – if feasible – and work your way up.
And always always always say a prayer for any priest who might be doing something a little dodgy.