ASK FATHER: Priest omits some of the words of absolution. Valid?

From a reader…


Father, if the confessor forgot say “IN THE NAME” in absolution formula, is the sacrament VALID? But, the confessor makes the sign of the cross.

Again we have some jackass who doesn’t use the proper “form” of a sacrament and, by fooling around with it, causes confusion and anxiety among the faithful.

Now for an answer to the question.

A confessor says the first part of the form of absolution “I absolve you from your sins” and the OMITS “in the name of” and goes straight to “Father Son and Holy Spirit” while making the sign of the Cross.

I think this stupidly sloppy but it is valid.

I find in Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma by Ludwig Ott.

Click to enjoy.

“In the Latin Church the words are: Ego te absolvo a peccatis tuis in nomine Patris et Filii et Spiritus Sancti. Amen. The words” in nomine Patris et Filii et Spiritus Sancti” are demanded neither by the ordinance of Christ nor by the nature of the judicial sentence for the validity of the form. The prayers preceding and following the Absolution are not essential to the form, and may be omitted for a grave reason.”

There it is.

A grave reason could be an pressing emergency.  A man is trapped under rubble in a burning building and the firefighters are dragging the priest away as they strive to save everyone’s lives.

There is no possible grave reason when you are in a parish confessional during regularly scheduled confessions.

No, wait.  Another scenario, in a parish confession during regular hours: The priest tries to finish the form of absolution while having a heart attack and, in his pain, omits that part of the form.

FATHERS!   SAY THE BLACK!   Just say the words as they have been given.  Do NOT fool around with people according to your insignificant whims.

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  1. Philmont237 says:

    I don’t know how many times I’ve gone to Confession and heard this. I have also heard, “I forgive you of your sins…” In the case of the latter I have asked the priest to repeat it correctly, but he made me feel “rigid” for doing so.

  2. AmandaL says:

    Father, would a baptism that omitted “in the name of” be valid also? We witnessed this last year. The priest said “(Name), I baptize you, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit”

  3. Danteewoo says:

    “Father Son and Holy Spirit” … heck, that’s how my wife says the sign of the cross.

  4. AmandaL says: baptism that omitted “in the name of”

    That is invalid.

    First, “Father, Son and Holy Spirit” would either be the subject or object. That doesn’t make sense.

    Also, the manuals tell us clearly that omission of some certain words does NOT affect validity, but omission of others DOES affect validity. For example, in the LATIN form, omission of “Ego”, would NOT affect validity, because “ego” is understood in “baptizo”. Omission , of “et” between the Trinitarian names is probably valid. That probably holds for English. However, “Cetera autem verba omnino requiruntur ad validitatem… But the other words are absolutely required for validity”. That means “in the name of”. The form of baptism comes from Christ Himself who said, “IN THE NAME OF”. The defined form is, “I baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit”. That, “in the name of” cannot be omitted.

  5. Jyanke says:

    So if the priest said “I absolve you of ALL of your sins in the name of the Father…” would it be valid? The Latin doesn’t have all, but it is often said

    [Think it through. What is the priest absolving? Quod abundat non obstat..]

  6. Gregg the Obscure says:

    so grateful that i haven’t heard any nonsense in the confessional since January 2014.

  7. acardnal says:

    I had two different priests in the same diocese omit the words “of your sins” in the absolution. Instead, “I absolve you in the name of the Father, and the Son and the Holy Spirit.”

    After the same priest did it again on the second occasion, I mentioned it to him in the confessional and as I recall he said something like ” yes, I absolve you of your sins.”

    I went back to my pew and thought about all those people in line ahead of me and in the weeks and months and years before me who didn’t hear “of your sins.”

    A second priest in another parish did the same thing. I caught it right away and mentioned it to him and he seemed confused. I don’t recall what he then did or said to me.

    I just gave all of this to God who can forgive sins outside of the ordinary means of sacramental confession. I – and all those other penitents – confessed our sins sincerely to God through the priest. But the priest erred in the process not me . . . and God knows this.

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