Coronavirus may cause 'grave necessity' for general absolution, Vatican says

Purple stole and confessional. Credit: Roman023_photography/Shutterstock

(CNA) Cardinal Mauro Piacenza, head of the Apostolic Penitentiary, has said that the coronavirus pandemic may justify the use of general absolution, in extraordinary circumstances, for Catholics unable to go to individual confession.

The Apostolic Penitentiary in Rome is responsible for issues touching the sacrament of penance and the seal of confession.

“The seriousness of the current circumstances requires reflection on the urgency and centrality of the sacrament of Reconciliation, together with some necessary clarifications, both for the lay faithful and for the ministers called to celebrate the sacrament,” Cardinal Piacenza wrote in the formal note from the penitentiary, published March 20.

While acknowledging the extraordinary circumstances of the current pandemic, the cardinal emphasized that canonical norms are still in force.

“Even in the time of Covid-19, the sacrament of reconciliation is administered according to the norm of universal canon law and according to the provisions of the Ordo Paenitentiae,” he said.

Full story at Catholic News Agency