RP 27-30: Reconciliation Rite and Dismissal

mary-the-penitent.jpgLet’s look into the rest of the RITE OF RECONCILIATION in form II. After the homily and/or examination of conscience, there is a general confession, sometimes known as an “act of contrition.”

27. At the invitation of the deacon or other minister, all kneel or bow down and say a form of general confession (for example, the prayer, I confess to almighty God). Then they stand, if this seems useful, and join in a litany or suitable song to express confession of sins, heartfelt contrition, prayer for forgiveness, and trust in God’s mercy. Finally, they say the Lord’s Prayer, which is never omitted.

A litany of forgiveness may be proclaimed together. I’m assuming that a deacon or cantor would lead this. A hymn is also suggested. I have to confess my surprise that psalmody is not considered here, especially one of the penitential psalms. Note that the Lord’s Prayer preceding the individual confessions is never omitted … if you’re going “by the book.”

28. After the Lord’s Prayer the priests go to the places assigned for confession. The penitents who desire to confess their sins go to the priest of their choice. After they have accepted a suitable act of penance, the priest absolves them, using the formulary for the reconciliation of an individual penitent.

The rite presumes that not everyone participating might want to confess sins, and perhaps some others in the community would attend to develop a sense of penitence, or even pray for the community’s penitents.

29. When the confessions are over, the priests return to the sanctuary. The priest who presides invites all to make an act of thanksgiving to praise God for his mercy. This may be done in a psalm or hymn or litany. Finally, the priest concludes the celebration with one of the prayers in praise of God for this great love.

Here at the end there is a choice of psalm for the act of thanksgiving and praise of the assembly.


30. After the prayer of thanksgiving the priest blesses the faithful. Then the deacon or the priest himself dismisses the congregation.

Note no closing song or hymn–just like at Mass. I don’t know many parishes that actively encourage beginning to end attendance. Many pastors expect departures after the individual confessions. Another poverty, imo.

Your opinions?


About catholicsensibility

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

5 Responses to RP 27-30: Reconciliation Rite and Dismissal

  1. Liam says:

    IN my experience, the early departures are a function of large attendance due to infrequent celebration….

  2. Randolph Nichols says:

    Bless me Father for I have sinned:
    I confess to dreading playing the organ for penance services. With family responsibilities, another evening commitment
    doesn’t sit well. Also endless quiet background accompaniments to individual confessions test my patience and closing with a final hymn in an almost empty sanctuary seems absurd.

  3. John Heavrin says:

    I will raise a point I’ve raised before. In a ceremony such as this, I wonder how many who attend but do not confess leave with the misimpression that they’ve been sacramentally absolved. A scandalous number, I’d wager. It should be made explicit by the “presider” that attendance is not the same thing as going to confession. If everyone goes, that’s fine. I wonder if these ceremonies are thought of by some as a way to go to confession without having to go to confession, which would be understandable, after all. And if that’s why pastors seem reluctant to have these services, so as to avoid the confusion.

  4. This is slightly off topic, but I remember going to the 50th anniversary of a Priest’s ordination and as part of the Introductory Rite to the Mass he told everyone in the crowd (a big crowd – he was a popular and charismatic priest) to think of one sin. Then he gave general absolution to all for that one sin they were thinking of.

    Does such a ritual exist?

  5. Todd says:

    No. But the joke’s alive and well.

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