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20. Use of the Power of the Keys

1. A priest may exercise the power of the keys accordingto the jurisdiction imparted to him by his authentic ecclesiasticalsuperiors, whether the jurisdiction extends to certain places orcertain persons or both. Usually a priest is appointed by hisbishop to hear the confessions of the faithful in any place in thediocese. Lawfully to exercise this power in another diocese thanhis own, a priest requires the approval of the authorities in thatdiocese.

2. By the power received in his ordination, a priest canabsolve from any sin. But the power of jurisdiction, that is theright to use the power of the keys, is limited by theterms of the priest's assignment to duty. The bishop or actingordinary (that is, the authentic ruling head of diocese, vicariate,or other ecclesiastical district) may reserve to himselfthe right to absolve from certain sins, as, for example, those towhich excommunication is attached, or certain heinous evils.

3. All who have the use of reason in the Church, clergyand laity from highest to lowest, need the grace of the sacramentof penance. All must go to confession and seek absolution. And,since no one can absolve himself, ecclesiastical superiors,including the sovereign pontiff, seek absolution at the hands oftheir priest-subjects. The highest prelate may be absolved by anypriest, even the youngest, who is qualified by jurisdiction to hearconfessions.

"We must not be behind time in doing good; for death will not be behind his time. "
St Phillip Neri

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"Shun too great a desire for knowledge, for in it there is much fretting and delusion. Intellectuals like to appear learned and to be called wise. Yet there are many things the knowledge of which does little or no good to the soul, and he who concerns himself about other things than those which lead to salvation is very unwise. "
Thomas á Kempis

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"The Lord has always revealed to mortals the treasures of his wisdom and his spirit, but now that the face of evil bares itself more and more, so does the Lord bare his treasures more."
St John of the Cross, OCD - Doctor of the Church

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