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 Canon Eight

Code of Canon Law
of the
Evangelical Catholic Church

 

Canon 8:  Confession and Reconciliation

8.1 Individual 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 cause intervenes.

8.3 Absolution cannot be imparted in a general manner to a number of penitents at once without previous individual confession unless:

    §1 the danger of death is imminent, and there is not time for the confessor or confessors present to hear the confessions of the individual penitents.

    §2 a 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.

8.5 Priests 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.

8.7 The 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 jurisdiction.

8.10 Other than revocation, the faculty to hear confessions ceases by loss of office, excardination, or loss of domicile.

8.11 Even 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.

8.12 In 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.

8.13 The 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 accomplice.

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.

8.15 The 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.

8.16 The 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.

8.17 An 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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