- General Reconciliation
§1: Absolution cannot be imparted in a general manner to a number of penitents at once without previous individual confession unless:
2o: a serious necessity exists, that is, when in light of the number of penitents a supply of confessors is not readily available rightly to hear the confessions of individuals within a suitable time so that the penitents are forced to be deprived of sacramental grace or holy communion for a long time (diu) through no fault of their own; it is not considered a sufficient necessity if confessors cannot be readily available only because of the great number of penitents as can occur on the occasion of some great feast or pilgrimage.
§2: It is for the diocesan bishop to judge whether the conditions required in §1, n.2, are present; he can determine general cases of such necessity in light of criteria agreed upon with other members of the conference of bishops.
Complementary Norm: The National Conference of Catholic Bishops interprets the meaning of diu of canon 961§1,2o to be "one month," by which the diocesan bishop judges whether and when the conditions of grave necessity for general absolution are verified in his diocese.
Approved: General Meeting, June 1988
Reviewed: Holy See (Congregation for Divine Worship and Discipline of the Sacraments) (oral communication) Action not considered a decree (c. 455§2); therefore, does not require recognitio of the Holy See
Promulgated: Memorandum to All Bishops, December 15, 1989