Words Have Meaning
Dear Editor: It’s very frustrating that after pouring one’s heart out in Confession and making a very careful examination of conscience, to hear all kinds of strange formulas for absolution. As you know, words have meaning. Just as it is important for the proper words to be used at the Consecration of the Mass, so too, should it be important in the Sacrament of Confession, for fear of making the sacrament invalid.
I had my share of listening to faulty phrases during absolution: “Your sins are forgiven, have a good day;” “God has forgiven you all your sins, go in peace.” Sometimes you don’t hear any words at all, but rather some mumbling while reciting the Act of Contrition. Experiencing this has sometimes caused me to run to another parish and repeat my Confession to another priest. This is unfortunate.
Although there are some priests who do the prayers perfectly, unfortunately, too many of them do not. You would think that every priest would have learned the proper formula for absolution in the seminary, In case they didn’t, here it is:
“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.”
Every penitent needs to hear these words of absolution in their proper form so that they know for sure they have truly been forgiven.
Editor’s note: Priests are taught that, in case of emergency, the last phrase — “I absolve you from your sins in the name of …” — must at least be said. If a penitent doubts whether these words have been accurately pronounced, he or she may ask the priest whether he has used the correct sacramental form.
Honoring the Memory of Elvis Presley
Dear Editor: I was thrilled to see the headline “Remembering the Gospel King of Rock and Roll” by John Alexander in the August 14 edition of The Tablet.
How wonderful that the most precious music to Elvis Presley, gospel songs praising the Lord, is appreciated beyond just the usual fan base. Hopefully, our readers will listen to and surely love his most excellent work, treasures in the music catalog he worked so hard to create over the years.
During his 1970s stage concerts, Elvis consistently included a gospel song or two or three, right in the middle of all that secular music. It was not uncommon for him to sing “How Great Thou Art,” and it felt like he really meant it. The audience was moved and attentive, learning the most important thing about Elvis Presley: he knew where his blessings came from and what was truly important in life.
Elvis read the Bible often and discussed it in detail with anyone who would listen. He loved the word of God and wanted to share it with others. Thank you for encouraging a new audience to listen to these songs, for they may not know this aspect of his work. With Mr. Alexander’s suggestions, Elvis Presley can still reach a new audience, even 44 years after his passing. Thank you for honoring his memory in this way.
No ‘Masks’ For Unborn Children
Dear Editor: On a Saturday morning, members of “Helpers of God’s Precious Infants” were outside a Queens abortion facility. As we prayed and attempted to give a woman a pamphlet filled with helpful information, we observed a young-looking grandmother wearing a mask as she escorted her 16-year-old granddaughter to kill her unborn grandchild.
One of the counselors managed to speak to the grandmother. The grandmother revealed that this was very difficult for her because years ago, at the age of 16, she had aborted her own baby. She said that she still suffers and regrets her decision to abort her child. But, she said that she wasn’t going to stop her granddaughter from going through with the abortion because her granddaughter said it was her choice.
Unfortunately, the masked young grandmother and granddaughter still went into the abortion facility.
It’s very hard to stand outside and peacefully pray for all that enter the “Chamber of Death.” We have all been careful wearing masks, keeping our distance, getting tested, and getting vaccinated to protect ourselves. Why aren’t we all concerned with protecting all unborn infants from death?
Let us pray that while we protect ourselves and others we should teach our young people to be concerned for all of God`s precious creatures and our beautiful earth, but most of all to protect and save the unmasked, pre-born infants from abortion.
Sea Cliff, N.Y.
Dear Editor: Does the Diocese of Brooklyn have any plan to provide archival records online to parishioners?
As a Baby Boomer with multi-generation ties to this diocese, I would love to be able to access family records, even for a few.
Editor’s note: We are working on archiving a catalog of The Tablet. However, 1908-1958 editions of The Tablet are available for viewing at the Brooklyn Public Library’s Center for Brooklyn History.