5.4.3.3 Reconciliation of Penitents with Generic Confession and General Absolution

1. General absolution without individual confession may be given only in a case of imminent danger of death according to the provision of canon 961 §1, 1° and in the case of grave necessity according to the provision of 961 §1, 2°. [1]

2. “Judgment as to whether there exist the conditions [of grave necessity] required by canon 961 §1, 2 is not a matter for the confessor but for ‘the diocesan Bishop who can determine cases of such necessity in the light of criteria agreed upon with other members of the Episcopal Conference.’” [2]



[1] c. 961.  NCCB [USCCB], complementary norm on canon 961§1, 2°, approved at general meeting, June 1988, promulgated by memorandum to bishops, December 15, 1989. Available at http://www.usccb.org/beliefs-and-teachings/what-we-believe/canon-law/complementary-norms/. On Form III, see Rite of Penance, nn. 31-35.

[2] Misericordia Dei, n. 5.


Date approved by Bishop


Posted by
Msgr. S. J. Raica, chancellor