RP 55: Individual Confession and Absolution

mary-the-penitent.jpgPart two of form II’s Rite of Reconciliation is the actual confession and absolution:

55. Then the penitents go to the priests designated for individual confession, and confess their sins. Each one re­ceives and accepts a fitting act of satisfaction and is ab­solved. After hearing the confession and offering suitable counsel, the priest extends his hands over the penitent’s head (or at least extends his right hand) and gives him absolution. Everything else which is customary in individual confession is omitted.

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.

The penitent answers: Amen.

Note many things:

The direction given the confessor and penitent. In form III a general act of satisfaction (colloquially, a “penance”) is given. Here in form II, the confessor is to take the time to give that “penance” to the penitent.

The rite seems to suggest there is (or should be) ample time to give counsel. The only time I experienced such counsel was when I celebrated form II at a monastery. It was brief, appropriate, and appreciated. But it was there.

The rite also dictates the extension of hands over the penitent’s head (not the laying on of hands). What do you make of this? Is laying on of hands inappropriate? What sort of gestures do you see in form II in your parishes? Is form I missing something when there is none of this type of gesture?

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About catholicsensibility

Todd and his family live in Ames, Iowa. He serves a Catholic parish of both Iowa State students and town residents.
This entry was posted in Liturgy, Rite of Penance, Rites. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to RP 55: Individual Confession and Absolution

  1. Emilio says:

    Dear Friends,
    I may be mistaken, but I don’t see any indication whatever of the prerequisites needed by the penitent to be granted the absolution by the priest in the name of God.
    Before I proceed with any comments I’d be thankful to you if you could kindly confirm no such subject (prerequisites)has ever been dealt with on your site or where can I find it.
    Please, let me know too how many letters are allowed in any comment (500, 1200 or less/more).
    Thank you very much and may the Lord bless you and keep you and see to it that the oncoming year may bring you closer to Him in holiness and experience the joy and peace of mind coming from His love throughout the year.
    Sincerely,
    Emilio from Italy

  2. Todd says:

    Canon 987: To receive the salvific remedy of the sacrament of penance, a member of the Christian faithful must be disposed in such a way that, rejecting sins committed and having a purpose of amendment, the person is turned back to God.

    Two things seem to be required: rejection of the sins confessed and intending to amend one’s life.

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