The formal act by a bishop or priest of pronouncing God's forgiveness of sins through Jesus Christ. The absolution of sins reflects the ministry of reconciliation committed by Christ to the church. Absolution may be pronounced following private confession of sins, as provided for by the two forms for The Reconciliation of a Penitent in the BCP (pp. 447-452). Absolution may also be pronounced following a general confession of sin in the Holy Eucharist, the Daily Offices, the Ash Wednesday service, and the Penitential Order. The BCP provides that a deacon or lay person may make a "Declaration of Forgiveness" by God of the penitent's sins after private confession, and that a deacon or lay person may pray for God's forgiveness following the general confession in the Daily Offices.
Glossary definitions provided courtesy of Church Publishing Incorporated, New York, NY,(All Rights reserved) from "An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church, A User Friendly Reference for Episcopalians," Don S. Armentrout and Robert Boak Slocum, editors.