Q: Following the Examination of Conscience at night prayer, and when using the Confiteor is it required or even permissible to use the ” May almighty God have mercy on us …” formula when a priest is not present? Thanks.
A: The penitential act is to be done as at mass, and it should include the formula you cite. In the preconciliar liturgy both the priest and the servers recited the formula to each other. It’s called “absolution” but it is not sacramental.
Q: Thanks for the response, but can this non-sacramental “absolution” be used at Night Prayer? Must it be used in conjunction with the Confiteor at Night Prayer? Thanks.
A: In the editio typica, the Latin rubric in the Ordinarium says that the penitential act according to the formulas for mass “may be included.” Then it refers to an appendix where the formulas can be found. The three formulas from the missal each conclude with the absolution, and it says that it is given by “the presider.” This is different from the missal, which says that the absolution is given by “the priest.” So, a penitential act is not required, but if it is done, then the presider – even a lay person – must conclude it with the absolution.