BASIC R.C. BELIEF
The remission of sins in Confession by an authorized priest, in the
Sacrament of Penance. The power to absolve is given to the priest at
ordination, but can only be exercised within the jurisdiction given to him
by his religious superior, except when there is danger of death.
In order for the absolution to be valid, the penitent must have
confessed all known sins, firmly resolve not to sin again and intend to
perform his penance.
Conditional absolution is given when the priest is not certain of the
conditions or dispositions of the penitent.
The punishment for sin is only partially satisfied; the remainder must
be satisfied by good works, almsgiving, indulgenced prayers and purgatory.
General absolution is given without confession when confession is
Absolution is regarded as Christ's forgiveness.
The basis for absolution, according to THE EXTERNALS OF THE CATHOLIC
CHURCH (Msgr. O'Sullivan) is "the Passion of our Lord Jesus Christ, the
merits of the Blessed Mary ever Virgin, whatever good thou hast done and
whatever evil thou has borne." St. Augustine tells us that the words which
the priest says to the sinner, "I absolve thee", are infinitely more
powerful than the word by which Almighty God created the world (THE
CONFESSIONAL, Thomas Burke, O.P., Catholic Truth Society, page 9).
WORDS OF ABSOLUTION: "May our Lord Jesus Christ absolve you, and by His
authority I absolve you from your sins in the Name of the Father, Son and
POST VATICAN II
In the Rite of Reconciliation, the words of absolution (reconciliation)
are: "God the Father of mercies has reconciled the world to Himself through
the death and resurrection of His Son, and has poured forth the Holy Spirit
for the forgiveness of sins. May He grant you pardon and peace through the
ministry of the Church. And I absolve you from your sins in the name of the
Father, Son, and Holy Spirit."
The words of absolution might vary, but the important phrase is "I absolve
Though the Rite of Reconciliation uses more scriptural language, it is
still far from Biblical forgiveness of sins (Hebrews 10:14; I John 1:9;
2:1; Psalms 103:12).
In some Dutch churches, members of the congregation mentally express their
sorrow for sin while publicly reciting an act of contrition, then receive
absolution in a group from their priests (TIME, 10/3/67).
From CATHOLIC NEW YORK, 3/19/87. "GENERAL ABSOLUTION PROHIBITED IN DETROIT.
In a lenten pastoral letter on penance, Archbishop Edmund Szoka of Detroit
has declared that conditions for general absolution do not exist in his
archdiocese. Parishes holding sacramental communal penance services must
provide in advance for enough priests to hear confessions individually, he
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