Someone asked me a question on Facebook today regarding the form of absolution. The important part of the question he wrote:
When he gave me absolution he stuttered somewhat and said may our Lord Jesus Christ absolve you of your sins in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. I was told in the past that the priest must say I absolve you of your sins etc. My question is was the absolution valid or am I being scrupulous?
I have had similar experiences. Priests either make up their own formula of absolution, or maybe they forgot (which is not an excuse). There are two specific confessions that I still remember the absolution being off. On priest said: “Be absolved, Father, Son, Holy Spirit.” And another priest said: “I absolve you, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.”
The Rite of Penance states that the priest “pronounces the formula of absolution, in which the essential (fundamental to the sacrament, or necessary for the sacrament to take place) words are: “I absolve you from your sins in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.””
Listen, the priest has an obligation to follow the proscribed rites of the Church. This is not something that we priests can make up as we go along. We have a very serious obligation. A priest is playing with salvation of souls. And God is going to hold him liable.
I would consider this serious matter. That if a priest changes the words of absolution, he commits a mortal sin or the worst kind. If he repents and changes his ways, he will be forgiven, but his purgatory will be long and harsh.n