Monday, April 02, 2007

General absolution: the abuse that won't die

Local action as appropriate: an interesting post by Fr Tim Finnigan reminds us that General (as opposed to individual) Absolution, without individual confession of sins, is still widely used in England and Wales despite a succession of high-profile condemnations of it, most recently by Bishop Crispian Hollis of Portsmouth. Anyone confronted with this in a parish must remember that General Absolution is permitted by the Church only in emergency situations (typically: a group of soldiers going off to battle), and imposes an obligation on the penitent to go to individual confession as soon as possible afterwards.

While a penitent ignorant of the illegality of the practice, and who receives General Absolution in good faith, is not committing a sin in taking part, and may receive communion afterwards, the objective obligation to confess mortal sins in individual, auricular confession (ie the ordinary kind), has not been satisfied; nor has the obligation to go to confession at Easter time.

Read Fr Finnigan's post on the disastrous pastoral consequences of General Absolution; and see also his earlier post on the subject here.

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Pope Leo XIII's Prayer to St Michael

Holy Michael, Archangel, defend us in the day of battle. Be our safeguard against the wickedness and snares of the devil. May God rebuke him, we humbly pray, and do thou, Prince of the Heavenly Host, by the power of God, thrust down to Hell Satan, and all wicked spirits who wander through the world for the ruin of souls. Amen