Vatican ‘OKs’ general absolution

Via Vatican News

Decree (In Italian)

Decree (In English)


  1. Thanks. Only the Italian was available when I posted. I have included the link to the English language decree now as well.

    1. Could someone clarify the understanding of the absolution at the end of the Penitential Act at Mass? Is it a true absolution? Only for venial sins? Efficacy if watching Mass online or on TV?

      1. Certainly in the Anglican tradition, the confession and pardon during the celebration of the Eucharist, are considered a ‘true absolution’. This aspect in the Roman Catholic mass is disputable in normal circumstances. However, given the Vatican statement on plenary indulgences during this time of crisis, I dare say, most modalities of penance and absolution now count because of pastoral necessity.

      2. The Roman Missal says, at GIRM #51. – After this, the Priest calls upon the whole community to take part in the Penitential Act, which, after a brief pause for silence, it does by means of a formula of general confession. The rite concludes with the Priest’s absolution, which, however, lacks the efficacy of the Sacrament of Penance.

  2. I know that “drive thru” confessions are popping up across the country. I am concerned that priests will be “punished” for taken initiative. Relatively few priests will make confession available, so they will be ones receiving an inordinate amount of penitents. This may help with that situation. As a practical matter, it would be fun to see parking lots full of cars and people receiving the sacrament as such.

  3. I wish someone would suggest — and the Vatican would ok — confession to a priest in digital mediation for this time of crisis, e.g., via Skype or Zoom or FaceTime or whatever. This could be consoling especially for those dying in isolation.

    1. I think that physical presence is necessary for the sacrament of confession as it is for any other sacrament such as holy orders, baptism and matrimony. Certainly spiritual direction and visitation over the phone is commendable though.

      1. There is also the question of confidentiality. I’d be surprised if these digital means were 100% hack proof, which is less of a problem with the old fashioned confessional box, even though the confessionals in the London Oratory were used as drop off points by Soviet spies during the cold war!

      2. Well yes, physical co-presence in the sense of ‘breathing the same air’ currently is necessary for the sacrament of confession. I am fully aware of that. My question is whether in times of real crisis — and given the new ways of being present to each other in digital mediation — it still HAS to be?

  4. Instead of inventing innovations for the Rite of Penance in a time of crisis, wouldn’t it be more pastoral to spiritually console people with the ordinary means of forgiveness and reconciliation the church provides? Ordinary means of receiving forgiveness of venial sins, other than sacramental confession, include doing acts of charity, fasting, and almsgiving. It is also possible to receive forgiveness for mortal sins outside of confession in extraordinary circumstances:

    “When it arises from a love by which God is loved above all else, contrition is called ‘perfect’ (contrition of charity). Such contrition remits venial sins; it also obtains forgiveness of mortal sins if it includes the firm resolution to have recourse to sacramental confession as soon as possible” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1452).

    All of these ordinary and extraordinary means could be celebrated within authentic liturgical worship experiences in the domestic churches. They could be amplified by connecting with other domestic churches and parish ministers over digital media.

    We have the resources already in the church’s treasury to minister to people’s needs. Shouldn’t we make use of them?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.