Question: Did I see a priest give general absolution at your traditional Mass? He seemed to do so just before Communion.
Answer: No. After the people recite the Confiteor, the priest turns and says:
[P] May Almighty God have mercy on you and forgive you your sins, and bring you to life everlasting. [C] Amen.
[P] May the Almighty and merciful Lord † grant you pardon, absolution, and full remission of our sins. [C] Amen.
If the priest were giving sacramental absolution, he would say "I absolve you of your sins, in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost." The formula recited before Communion is "deprecatory"; it asks God to forgive our sins if He is willing, but is not an exercise of the priest's authority to forgive them himself. As a blessing, it takes away venial sins. It does not forgive the sins of those who are in the state of mortal sin and who have not made a sacramental Confession.
Catholics are urged to make a sacramental Confession regularly. In those rare cases where general absolution is permitted, we are still obligated to confess all of our unconfessed sins at the earliest possible opportunity.