/ab'seuh looh"sheuhn/, n.
1. act of absolving; a freeing from blame or guilt; release from consequences, obligations, or penalties.
2. state of being absolved.
3. Rom. Cath. Theol.
a. a remission of sin or of the punishment for sin, made by a priest in the sacrament of penance on the ground of authority received from Christ.
b. the formula declaring such remission.
4. Prot. Theol. a declaration or assurance of divine forgiveness to penitent believers, made after confession of sins.
[1175-1225; ME absolucion < L absolution- (s. of absolutio) acquittal. See ABSOLUTE, -ION]

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In Christianity, a pronouncement of forgiveness of sins made to a person who has repented.

This rite is based on the forgiveness that Jesus extended to sinners during his ministry. In the early church, the priest absolved repentant sinners after they had confessed and performed their penance in public. During the Middle Ages, it became the custom for priests to hear confession and grant absolution privately. In Roman Catholicism penance is a sacrament, and the priest has the power to absolve a contrite sinner who promises to make satisfaction to God. In Protestant churches, the confession of sin is usually made in a formal prayer by the whole congregation, after which the minister announces their absolution.

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      in the Christian religion, a pronouncement of remission (forgiveness) of sins (sin) to the penitent. In Roman Catholicism, penance is a sacrament and the power to absolve lies with the priest, who can grant release from the guilt of sin to the sinner who is truly contrite, confesses his sin, and promises to perform satisfaction to God. In the New Testament the grace of forgiveness is seen as originating in Jesus Christ and being subsequently extended to sinners by members of the Christian priesthood. In the early Christian church, the priest publicly absolved repentant sinners after they had confessed and performed their penance in public. During the Middle Ages, however, private (auricular) confession became the usual procedure, and thus absolution followed in private. The priest absolved the penitent sinner using the formula, “I absolve thee from thy sins in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” In place of this Western formula, the Eastern Orthodox churches (Eastern Orthodoxy) generally employ a formula such as “May God, through me, a sinner, forgive thee . . .”

      In Protestant churches, absolution is usually a public rather than a private declaration. The Anglican (Anglicanism) and Lutheran churches use formulas ranging from the declaratory “I forgive you all your sins . . .” to “Almighty God have mercy upon you, and forgive you all your sins.” In general, Protestant churches have tended to confine absolution to prayers for forgiveness and the announcement of God's willingness to forgive all those who truly repent of their sins. In these denominations, absolution is neither a judicial act nor a means by which the forgiveness of sins is conferred but is, instead, a statement of divine judgment and divine forgiveness. Nevertheless, a formula for the public confession of sins and the public pronouncement of forgiveness is included in most Christian liturgies.

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Universalium. 2010.

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