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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.

"The more you know and the better you understand, the more severely will you be judged, unless your life is also the more holy. Do not be proud, therefore, because of your learning or skill. Rather, fear because of the talent given you."
Thomas á Kempis

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"Men should often renew their good resolutions, and not lose heart because they are tempted against them."
St Philip Neri

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"As the flesh is nourished by food, so is man supported by prayers"
St Augustine

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