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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.

"Lord, take from me everything that hinders me from going to You. give me all that will lead me to You. Take me from myself and give me to Yourself."
St Nicholas Flue

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"The one thing necessary which Jesus spoke of to Martha and Mary consists in hearing the word of God and living by it."
R. Garrigou-Lagrange, OP

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"It is not God's will that we should abound in spiritual delights, but that in all things we should submit to his holy will."
Blessed Henry Suso

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