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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.

"Every man naturally desires knowledge; but what good is knowledge without fear of God? Indeed a humble rustic who serves God is better than a proud intellectual who neglects his soul to study the course of the stars."
Thomas á Kempis

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"The supreme perfection of man in this life is to be so united to God that all his soul with all its faculties and powers are so gathered into the Lord God that he becomes one spirit with him, and remembers nothing except God, is aware of and recognises nothing but God, but with all his desires unified by the joy of love, he rests contentedly in the enjoyment of his Maker alone."
St Albert the Great

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"It is vanity to love what passes quickly and not to look ahead where eternal joy abides. "
Thomas á Kempis

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