The Prayer of Absolution Will Change for US Catholics in 2023. Here’s How

The Sacrament of Penance, also called reconciliation or confession, is the means through which God grants pardon for sins.

The new prayer will likely come into use in the United States beginning in 2023.
The new prayer will likely come into use in the United States beginning in 2023. (photo: asiandelight / Shutterstock)

VATICAN CITY — If you go to the Sacrament of Penance in 2023, there will be two subtle changes in the wording of the prayer of absolution, which the priest prays to conclude the sacrament. 

The new prayer will likely come into use in the United States beginning in 2023, though it will not be official until it is published by United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB). 

Here’s the new approved text, as reported by Aleteia, with changes in bold:

God, the Father of mercies,

through the death and resurrection of his Son

has reconciled the world to himself

and poured out the Holy Spirit among us for the forgiveness of sins;

through the ministry of the Church may God grant you pardon and peace,

and I absolve you from your sins

in the name of the Father, [sign of the cross] and of the Son,

and of the Holy Spirit.

And here’s what the prayer was before:

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, [sign of the cross] and of the Son,

and of the Holy Spirit.

The Catholic bishops of the United States in 2021 voted in favor of the new translation of the prayer, with 182 votes in favor, 6 against, and 2 abstentions. The Vatican’s Dicastery for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments approved the translation in April 2022, according to a USCCB newsletter shared online this week. 

New translation of the prayer of absolution incoming next year.

Gonna be annoying to have to rememorize it with the changes but thankfully the essential formula will stay the same pic.twitter.com/NZrLEX7vw0

— Fr. Tom Bombadil (@calix517) June 4, 2022

The Sacrament of Penance, also called reconciliation or confession, is the means through which God grants pardon for sins. In the sacrament, the contrite penitent discloses his or her sins to a Catholic priest who grants sacramental absolution. The penitent resolves to not sin again and performs an act of satisfaction, usually called a penance, and which could take the form of three Hail Marys, for example.

Through the priest, God grants his pardon and peace, and the penitent is reconciled to God.

Throughout his pontificate, Pope Francis has frequently encouraged Catholics to receive God's forgiveness in the Sacrament of Penance.