Grave necessity can also exist when, given the number of penitents, there are not enough confessors to hear individual confessions properly in a reasonable time, so that the penitents through no fault of their own would be deprived of sacramental grace or Holy Communion for a long time. In this case, for the absolution to be valid the faithful must have the intention of individually confessing their grave sins in the time required.9’ The diocesan bishop is the judge of whether or not the conditions required for general absolution exist.92 A large gathering of the faithful on the occasion of major feasts or pilgrimages does not constitute a case of grave necessity.93

1484 ‘Individual, integral confession and absolution remain the only ordinary way for the faithful to reconcile themselves with God and the Church, unless physical or moral impossibility excuses from this kind of confession.’94 There are profound reasons


for this. Christ is at work in each of the sacraments. He personally

addresses every sinner: ‘My son, your sins are forgiven.’95 He is the physician tending each one of the sick who need him to cure them.~6 He raises them up and reintegrates them into fraternal communion. Personal confession is thus the form most expressive of reconciliation with God and with the Church.


1485 ‘On the evening of that day, the first day of the week’,Jesus showed himself to his apostles. ‘He breathed on them, and said to them: “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained”’ Un 20:19, 22—23).

1486 The forgiveness of sins committed after Baptism is conferred by a particular sacrament called the sacrament of conversion, confession, Penance or Reconciliation. 1487 The sinner wounds God’s honour and love, his own human dignity as
a man called to be a son of God, and the spiritual well-being of the Church, of which each Christian ought to be a living stone.

1488 To the eyes offaith no evil is graver than sin and nothing has worse consequences for sinners themselves,for the Church and for the whole world.

1489 To return to communion with God after having lost it through sin is a process born of the grace of God who is rich in mercy and solicitous for the salvation of men. One must askfor this precious giftfor oneself andfDr others.