Expert Answer Forum

The Bishop's Role in General Absolution QUESTION from Deacon Larry Lottier February 7, 1999 The December, 1998 NCCB NewsLetter had a section on the Sacrament of Penance in which it dealt with the issue of General Absolution. There were a number of questions and answers all supportive of the Church's teaching on what and when General Absolution is or is not permitted. Then the last item (#14) addressed the bishop's authority in relationship to General Absolution. Therein it states that, This bishop is the sole competent authority for determining the appropriateness and conditions which must be met...in a particular diocese. From this is parishes are offering General Absolution at Lenten Penance services and nothing is said that the bishop gives his tacit approval and thus they are legit? Some of our deacons are being asked why is this OK. Do the bishops have the authority in their diocese go against the Sacred Congregation for Divine Worship and Canon Law? It seems from the reading of #14 that they do. What do I tell people when asked why? ANSWER by Mr. John Miskell on February 7, 1999
Dear Deacon Lottier, I haven't seen the article you mentioned, but it's safe to say that an unofficial / unauthoritative newsletter carries no weight over the official / authoritative Code of Canon Law, and the Sacred Congregation for Sacraments. In Christ, John Miskell
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