RP 19-20: Prayer, Absolution, Praise, and Dismissal


The Rite of Penance’s Introduction concludes its look at the form for an individual penitent. 

19. Next, through a prayer for God’s pardon the penitent expresses contrition and the resolution to begin a new life. It is advantageous for this prayer to be based on the words of Scripture.

Based on Scripture: this is good.

The giving of absolution:

Following the penitent’s prayer, the priest extends his hands, or at least his right hand, over the head of the penitent and pronounces the formulary of absolution, in which the essential words are: I ABSOLVE YOU FROM YOUR SINS IN THE NAME OF THE FATHER AND OF THE SON AND OF THE HOLY SPIRIT. As he says the final phrase the priest makes the sign of the cross over the penitent. The form of absolution (see no. 46) indicates that the reconciliation of the penitent comes from the mercy of the Father; it shows the connection between the reconciliation of the sinner and the paschal mystery of Christ; it stresses the role of the Holy Spirit in the forgiveness of sins; finally, it underlines the ecclesial aspect of the sacrament, because reconciliation with God is asked for and given through the ministry of the Church.


20. After receiving pardon for sin, the penitent praises the mercy of God and gives him thanks in a short invocation taken from Scripture. Then the priest bids the Penitent to go in peace.

The penitent continues the conversion thus begun and expresses it by a life renewed according to the Gospel and more and more steeped in the love of God, for “love covers over a multitude of sins” (I Pt 4:8).

There’s a lot of hopefulness here: that an invocation of praise will be included in the rite, the penitent will know this Scripture-based invocation, and that the believer’s conversion will be continual as a result of the grace of this sacrament. If only it were more evident from modern practice.

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in Minnesota, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
This entry was posted in Liturgy, Rite of Penance, Rites. Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to RP 19-20: Prayer, Absolution, Praise, and Dismissal

  1. Sorry to comment so far down, I’ve been out of circ a few days…

    Is there any particular expecation as to what the scriptural praise will be? Or come to that the penitants prayer of contrition?

    The USCCB provide a simplified Act Of Contrition and some scriptural suggestions on their site, and perhaps this was intended to be left up to local tastes, but it seems oddly vague.

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