Canon 8: Confession and Reconciliation
and integral confession and absolution constitutes the ordinary way
by which the faithful person who is aware of serious sin is
reconciled to God and with the Church.
8.2 A person
who has had serious sins remitted by a general absolution is to
approach individual confession as soon as there is an opportunity to
do so before receiving another general absolution unless a just
cannot be imparted in a general manner to a number of penitents at
once without previous individual confession unless:
danger of death is imminent, and there is not time for the confessor
or confessors present to hear the confessions of the individual
serious necessity exists, that is, when in light of the number of
penitents, or when the number of confessors is inadequate to hear
individual confessions within a suitable period of time to prevent
the unwarranted prolongation of a service.
8.4 It is
solely the prerogative of the diocesan bishop to judge whether the
conditions laid out in paragraphs 1 and 2 of Canon 7.3 are present,
using criteria arrived at in consultation with the other members of
the House of Bishops.
and bishops who are in good standing are the ministers of the
Sacrament of Reconciliation.
8.6 For the
valid absolution of sins it is required that, besides the power
received through Sacred Ordination, the minister possesses the
faculty to exercise over the Faithful to whom the minister imparts
absolution of an accomplice in any sin whatsoever is invalid except
in the danger of death.
8.8 The local
ordinary, as well as the competent religious superior, may revoke
the faculties to celebrate the Sacrament of Reconciliation from a
priest for a just cause.
8.9 When the
faculty to hear confessions is revoked by his or her local ordinary
or competent major religious superior, a cleric loses the right to
hear confessions everywhere. When the faculty to hear confessions is
revoked by a positive act of another local ordinary or competent
major religious superior, the cleric loses the faculty to hear
confessions only as regards the subjects of that ordinary’s
than revocation, the faculty to hear confessions ceases by loss of
office, excardination, or loss of domicile.
though a priest or bishop may lack the faculty to hear confessions,
any priest or bishop validly and licitly absolves from any kind of
censures and sins any penitent who is in danger of death, even if an
approved priest or bishop is present.
hearing confessions, the confessor is to remember that he or she
acts as a judge as well as a healer and is placed by God as the
minister of divine justice and mercy, concerned with the Divine
Honor and the salvation of souls.
confessor, in posing questions, is to proceed with prudence and
discretion, with attention to the condition and age of the penitent,
and that the confessor is to refrain from asking the name of an
8.14 If the
confessor has no doubt about the disposition of a penitent who asks
for absolution, absolution is not to be refused or delayed.
confessor is to enjoin salutary and suitable penance in keeping with
the quality and number of the sins, but with attention to the
condition and age of the penitent; the penitent is obliged to
perform the penance personally.
sacramental seal of the confessional is inviolable. Therefore it is
a crime for a confessor, in any way or form, to betray a penitent by
word or in any other manner for any reason.
interpreter, if needed, is also obliged to preserve the secret, and
also all others to whom knowledge of sins from confession shall come
in any way.
8.18 Even if
every danger of revelation is excluded, a confessor is absolutely
forbidden to use any knowledge about sins from confession when it
may harm the penitent.
8.19 One who
is placed in authority can in no way use for external governance
knowledge about sins which the confessor, or others cited, has
received in confession at any time.
8.20 A member
of the Christian Faithful is obliged to confess, in kind and in
number, all serious sins committed after baptism and not yet
directly remitted through the Keys of the Church, nor acknowledged
in individual confession, of which one is conscious after diligent
examination of conscience.
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