In Christianity, absolution is a statement of remission (pardon) of sins to the repentant. The priest publicly absolved penitent offenders in the early Christian church after they confessed and completed their penance in public. Absolution was necessary for persons who wished to receive communion or be declared free from sin's penalty through the sacraments of the church.
The word "absolve" comes from the Latin absolere meaning "to empty". It involves the removal of something bad or harmful from your body, mind, or soul. So, absolution is the act of freeing someone from their sins by saying certain words into their situation.
It is important to understand that repentance and absolution are two separate actions. Repentance is when a person realizes they have done wrong and wants to change their ways. Absolution is when a person asks for forgiveness for their sins and the priest or pastor says some words that release that person from any punishment for their sins and give them permission to start over.
People often think that if they admit their sins they will be punished forever. This is not true at all! When you ask for forgiveness you are telling the Lord that you want a new beginning instead of being stuck with your mistakes forever.
Absolution is a classic theological word for the pardon bestowed to Christian penitents by authorized Christian priests. The Reformed Protestant tradition mainly rejects the notion of individual absolution within the context of Church activity. However, some churches may grant absolution during worship if this function is reserved to them by their church government.
The Latin phrase, "absolve me from my sins," has been adopted as an official declaration by many bishops and other senior clergy members when granting absolution during Mass or another ceremony with a religious theme. It is also used by some priests during private ceremonies.
In the Catholic Church, only a bishop or similar-ranking priest can grant formal absolution. A priest who offers informal absolution does so only when he believes it will help someone seek forgiveness through faith in Christ's mercy. In most cases, people who need forgiveness are urged to confess their sins to a priest in order to obtain it.
In the Eastern Orthodox Church, priests can grant absolution after confession. They are also responsible for saying certain prayers over those who have received absolution. However, they cannot grant amnesty (full acquittal without penalty) because this power is reserved to the emperor or king.
In the Anglican Church, priests can grant absolution after confession.
A person can repent of committing a fatal sin, regardless matter how serious it is. Repentance of this kind is the essential requirement for forgiveness and absolution. Throughout history, there has been some variation in the teaching on the forgiveness of significant sins. However many bishops today agree that if a person sincerely repents for his or her sins, then they may be forgiven.
The New Testament makes it clear that unless a person confesses their sins, they cannot be forgiven (see Luke 12:10-12). However, the Bible also tells us that although we are saved by grace through faith, we can still lose that salvation if we turn away from God. If we stop seeking him and refusing to obey his commands, then he can just as easily abandon us. But such a thing would be contrary to his nature so it could never happen.
At its most basic level, repentance is admitting your wrong doing and asking for forgiveness. The more profound type of repentance involves changing your ways and living according to what has been admitted and asked for forgiveness. This requires the help of God's grace.
Although there is no specific formula for obtaining forgiveness, administering the sacrament of reconciliation is a necessary condition.
For a legitimate reception of universal absolution, the penitent must be contrite for all his deadly sins and resolve to confess each of those mortal sins absolved in general absolution at the earliest opportunity. For that reason, it is important for a person to receive individual absolution whenever possible.
If an individual cannot afford a priestly confessor, he can pray to God for help in this matter and He will surely give him advice on how to proceed. If an individual does not feel able to approach God directly, there are many saints who can be asked for assistance. The more serious one's sins, the more urgent this need becomes. A good rule of thumb is to ask yourself what would happen if you did not receive forgiveness for these sins now? Would anyone be harmed by your failure to seek forgiveness? If so, you should make every effort to go to confession as soon as possible.
In addition to actual sin, there are also venial sins, which can be forgiven either individually or in general confession. Individually confessed sins are called special prayers. In general confession, they are called common prayers because they reduce the amount of work required of the priest and encourage frequent prayer.
There are two ways to obtain forgiveness for venial sins: through the imposition of the bishop's hand or through the sacrament of Penance.
An indulgence, according to the Catholic Church's Catechism, is "a remission before God of the temporal punishment due to sins whose guilt has already been forgiven, which the faithful Christian who is duly disposed gains under certain prescribed conditions through the action of the Church, which, as the minister of God, speaks in her own name." Indulgences have two purposes: first, to give relief to the suffering faithful by shortening or eliminating the time necessary for some specific acts of contrition; second, to allow Christians to participate in the Holy Spirit's work of forgiving sin.
The first documented evidence of the payment of money for the release of prisoners from prison is in a letter written in 431 by Saint Basil the Great to one of his monks who was imprisoned because of his faith in Jesus Christ. In this letter, Basil ordered that his disciple be released because it was the Christian thing to do. Thereafter, such payments became an annual event at Easter time until 866 when Louis the Pious issued a decree that all those who had been pardoned by the Pope could dispense with this ceremony. It should be noted here that until this time, only bishops were allowed to grant pardons and they did so only after consulting with the Pope.
In 962, Gregory IV declared that "those who are willing to pay anything within their means" could obtain an indulgence. The amount that could be offered was unlimited except by what a person could afford.
Noun. The act of absolving or remitting; official redemption as stated by a priest in the sacrament of penance. "the bishop had annulled their marriages without requiring them to receive Holy Communion".
Absolution from sin is only possible through Jesus Christ. He not only died for our sins, but also rose again from the dead, thus fully satisfying God's justice and giving us new life through His Spirit within us. This new life gives us strength to resist evil desires and temptations, just like Jesus did during His earthly life.
So, remission of sins means release from our guilt and punishment for our sins, and permission to go before God unashamed and ask Him for forgiveness.
It is important to understand that salvation brings about a completely different attitude toward God and humanity. Before we were saved, we held God's wrath against us, and deserved eternal punishment. But now that we are saved, our relationship with God has been restored to it original state, when He loved us so much that He sent His Only Begotten Son into death on a cross for our sins.
Jesus said, "I tell you the truth, anyone who believes in me will do all that I have been doing, and more!