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Code of Canon Law
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CHAPTER I. The Celebration of the Sacrament
Can. 960 Individual and integral confession and absolution constitute the only ordinary means by which a member
of the faithful conscious of grave sin is reconciled with God and the Church. Only physical or moral impossibility
excuses from confession of this type; in such a case reconciliation can be obtained by other means.
Can. 961 §1. Absolution cannot be imparted in a general manner to many penitents at once without previous
individual confession unless:
1/ danger of death is imminent and there is insufficient time for the priest or priests to hear the confessions of
the individual penitents;
2/ there is grave necessity, that is, when in view of the number of penitents, there are not enough confessors
available to hear the confessions of individuals properly within a suitable period of time in such a way that the
penitents are forced to be deprived for a long while of sacramental grace or holy communion through no fault of
their own. Sufficient necessity is not considered to exist when confessors cannot be present due only to the large
number of penitents such as can occur on some great feast or pilgrimage.
§2. It belongs to the diocesan bishop to judge whether the conditions required according to the norm of §1,
n. 2 are present. He can determine the cases of such necessity, attentive to the criteria agreed upon with the other
members of the conference of bishops.
Can. 962 §1. For a member of the Christian faithful validly to receive sacramental absolution given to many at one
time, it is required not only that the person is properly disposed but also at the same time intends to confess within
a suitable period of time each grave sin which at the present time cannot be so confessed.
§2. Insofar as it can be done even on the occasion of the reception of general absolution, the Christian faithful
are to be instructed about the requirements of the norm of §1. An exhortation that each person take care to make
an act of contrition is to precede general absolution even in the case of danger of death, if there is time.Can. 963
Without prejudice to the obligation mentioned in can. 989, a person whose grave sins are remitted by general
absolution is to approach individual confession as soon as possible, given the opportunity, before receiving another
general absolution, unless a just cause intervenes.
Can. 964 §1. The proper place to hear sacramental confessions is a church or oratory.
§2. The conference of bishops is to establish norms regarding the confessional; it is to take care, however, that
there are always confessionals with a fixed grate between the penitent and the confessor in an open place so that
the faithful who wish to can use them freely.
§3. Confessions are not to be heard outside a confessional without a just cause.