- Latin: absolvere, to free from
The power conferred on the Apostles and their successors to forgive sin – “Whose sins you shall forgive, they are forgiven them” (John 20:23). It is exercised by the priest in the Sacrament of Penance. It signifies also the remission by the Church of certain censures like suspension or excommunication.
In the sacrament of Penance is the act by which the priest, invested with the necessary jurisdiction, remits sins.
In the Mass it is the formula with which, after their respective confessions, the priest and the faithful reciprocally ask divine indulgence and pardon: “May almighty God have mercy upon you, forgive you all your sins, and bring you to life everlasting”.
In the Liturgy of the Dead it is the rite of sprinkling and incensing the coffin, accompanied by the appropriate formula, which essentially consists of a Responsory, followed by Kyrie and Pater, and concluding with a prayer. This absolution is also called “obsequies”.