Sancta Missa - Rituale Romanum (Roman Ritual) - Rite for absolving from excommunication


1. If a priest is empowered by his superior to absolve from the sentence of excommunication and if the delegation prescribes a specified form, this form is to be observed in every instance. However, if the document of delegation states: "He is to absolve according to the usual form of the Church," then the form given below is to be observed.

2. In the first place the excommunicate should if possible make satisfaction beforehand for the offense for which he incurred excommunication. If this is not possible for the time being, he must give sufficient guarantee that he will make satisfaction at first opportunity; or if this is questionable, he must take an oath that he will do so.

3. Second, if the offense for which he incurred excommunication is a grievous one, an oath must be exacted from him that he will obey the Church's laws applicable to him in this matter, especially that he will not offend henceforth against the canon or decree, the violation of which was responsible for the excommunication.

4. Lastly, the following ceremony must be observed in absolving him:

The penitent kneels before the priest, and, if a male, his shoulders are uncovered down to his shirt. The priest, who is seated, lightly strikes the penitent with a rod or cord, reciting the following psalm:

Psalm 50: "Have mercy on me, O God," etc. (see Psalm 50).

5. The priest rises and with head uncovered says:

Lord, have mercy. Christ, have mercy. Lord, have mercy. Our Father (the rest inaudibly until):

P: And lead us not into temptation.

All: But deliver us from evil.

P: Lord, save your servant.

All: Who trusts in you, my God.

P: Let the enemy have no power over him (her).

All: And the son of iniquity be powerless to harm him (her).

P: Let him (her) find in you, Lord, a fortified tower.

All: In the face of the enemy.

P: Lord, heed my prayer.

All: And let my cry be heard by you.

P: The Lord be with you.

All: May He also be with you.

Let us pray.

God, whose nature is ever merciful and forgiving, accept our prayer that your servant who is bound by the sentence of excommunication may be released by your loving kindness; through Christ our Lord.

All: Amen.

6. Then he sits down, and with head covered says:

May our Lord Jesus Christ absolve you, and I by His authority and that of the Holy Father (or that of the Most Reverend Bishop, N., or of the respective superior), release you from the bond of excommunication incurred (or pronounced against you) because of...(the offense or reason is mentioned); and I restore you to communion and union with the faithful, as well as to the holy sacraments of the Church; in the name of the Father, and of the Son, + and of the Holy Spirit. R.: Amen.

7. If the priest has had no specified form prescribed by his superior, nor is ordered to absolve according to the general and customary form of the Church, he is to observe, nevertheless, the ceremony and prayers given above, provided the offense was of a serious nature. But if the case is not especially serious, he may absolve with the following words:

"May our Lord Jesus Christ absolve you," etc., as given above.

8. In a sacramental confession the confessor who has the faculty to absolve an excommunicate does so, using the common form prescribed above in sacramental absolution.

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