Catholic Church Approves Blanket Forgiveness For Sins During Outbreak

The Vatican has announced that it has granted blanket forgiveness for sins by anyone struck with the coronavirus as well as healthcare workers and those who pray for healthcare workers. Relatives of the sick are also forgiven. I must admit that, as a lawyer raised Catholic, I am surprised by the use of general absolution on this scale. I am also struck by the specificity, including that those who want to take advantage of the option for those who pray must also pray, doing so “for at least half an hour.”

General absolution is not unprecedented. It can be used where there is a widespread catastrophe or danger with no time for a priest to administer confessions. It is also considered warranted when the numbers of those affected are so large as to exceed the capabilities of the Church.

The penitent must still be contrite and agree to seek confession at the soonest possible time.

This order was issued by the Apostolic Penitentiary, a Vatican tribunal that deals with matters of conscience, including confession. It decided that the “grave necessity” of the situation justified the action.

As a lawyer, this seems like quite a potential loophole for the licentious in times of crisis. However, the devil divinity is in the details. The matter is left to local bishops to determine the necessity for general absolution while “taking into account the supreme good of the salvation of souls.”

The use of general absolution has been controversial in countries like Australia where it was commonly invoked.

The tribunal gives specific instructions for absolution in places like “the entrance to hospital wards where faithful in danger of death are hospitalized, using — within the limits of what is possible and with appropriate precautions — means for amplifying the voice so that the absolution is heard.”

252 thoughts on “Catholic Church Approves Blanket Forgiveness For Sins During Outbreak”

  1. Allan, the PRC constitution states “freedom of religion”. Once again, the government by the CCP is shown to be outlaw.

    — David B Benson

    1. the CCP is not outlaw in the PRC, quite simply, it IS the law. the paper laws are there to fool the laowei who are credulous enough to believe they matter.

    2. As the new, CCP-friendly Catholic bishops in China say to their flocks “The State is the proper interpreter of Gospel”, then exhort their flock to hearken to the thoughts of Life President Xi.

  2. It’s always fun to read the spittle-flecked comments of critics of the Universal Church. As kids we used to argue as ignorantly about one brand or breed just because it was the one our family owned.

    As to blanket forgiveness, if it comforts people in times of great stress, why not issue it? Confession (we call it reconciliation now) is for the mental relief of the individual, as well as a means for the church to sort out genuine penitents from pretenders. It is not, as critics claim, a usurpation of Christ’s role as forgiver.

    1. The Church, as powerful as it may appear, has not the Power, nor the Authority to forgive Sin.
      By their own doctrine, there is only ONE that has that Power.
      And that ONE is not with the Church.

    1. “Census deadline delayed due to COVID-19 outbreak”

      But field operations are suspended for the time being, so a Census work will not show up at your door anytime soon.

      On Friday, the U.S. Census Bureau announced that more than 19 million households have completed their questionnaires with over 18 million of those being done online.

      The agency also announced Friday that it is pushing back the deadline for individuals and families to submit their completed surveys.

      Below is a list of changes you need to know about:

      In-person visits from Census employees that were scheduled to begin on May 13 will be postponed until May 28 at the earliest.

      The deadline for the Census Bureau to finish its follow-up field operations is now Aug. 14 instead of the original July 31 date.

      The Census Bureau continues to recommend that people apply for temporary jobs. At least 2.8 million people have applied so far, including 8,000 people on Friday alone.

      The agency plans to release an interactive map on Friday showing response rates compared to that of the 2010 U.S. Census.

      The Census Bureau is, of course, monitoring the coronavirus outbreak and may announce additional changes depending on how the situation unfolds.

      So there you have it lazy Anonymous.

    2. At this point, it would appear that one will still have to complete the form online by April 1, if one doesn’t want to have to deal with the Census door-knockers.

  3. A much greater problem:

    The Vatican Surrenders to China
    by Giulio Meotti
    March 22, 2020 at 4:30 am

    “A totalitarian regime doesn’t compromise. They want complete surrender.” — Cardinal Joseph Zen, retired Bishop of Hong Kong,, February 19, 2020.

    “They’re giving the flock into the mouths of the wolves. It’s an incredible betrayal”. — Cardinal Joseph Zen, Reuters, September 20, 2018.

    “The pope doesn’t know much about China. And he may have some sympathy for the Communists, because in South America, the Communists are good guys, they suffer for social justice. But not the [Chinese] Communists. They are persecutors. So the situation is, humanly speaking, hopeless for the Catholic Church: Because we can always expect the Communists to persecute the Church, but now [faithful Catholics] don’t get any help from the Vatican. The Vatican is helping the government, surrendering, giving everything into their hands”. — Cardinal Joseph Zen,, February 16, 2020.

    continued at:

    1. Communists in Latin America (eg. Venezuela) are “good guys”? They, like Muslims, will say or do anything to get in control – then no more Mr. Good Guy.

      1. Dollops, you are right. I wasn’t happy with that sentence either, but I think he was trying to point out that the Chinese are the worst offenders. They don’t even pretend to care about the downtrodden. In South America communists say they do but in the end Communism is slavery and devastation of the individual.

        1. Allan, China was the source and origin of TWO corona virus outbreaks: 1918 and 2020. Check your post on Shellfish Boiling.

            1. America must sue China for knowing, willful and deliberate withholding of early, critical information regarding the COVID-19 outbreak, and for damages, in the initial amount $5 trillion, for willful dereliction and negligence resulting in severe illness, trauma, death and financial disaster, through its failure to monitor and control food acquisition and processing practices in China which resulted in the transmission or “hopping” of the current adaptation of the coronavirus from animals to humans and the subsequent world-wide propagation of COVID-19.

              “1918 Flu Pandemic That Killed 50 Million Originated in China, Historians Say
              Chinese laborers transported across Canada thought to be source.”

              Dan Vergano, January 24, 2014

              “The global flu outbreak of 1918 killed 50 million people worldwide, ranking as one of the deadliest epidemics in history.

              “For decades, scientists have debated where in the world the pandemic started, variously pinpointing its origins in France, China, the American Midwest, and beyond. Without a clear location, scientists have lacked a complete picture of the conditions that bred the disease and factors that might lead to similar outbreaks in the future.

              “The deadly “Spanish flu” claimed more lives than World War I, which ended the same year the pandemic struck. Now, new research is placing the flu’s emergence in a forgotten episode of World War I: the shipment of Chinese laborers across Canada in sealed train cars.

              “Historian Mark Humphries of Canada’s Memorial University of Newfoundland says that newly unearthed records confirm that one of the side stories of the war—the mobilization of 96,000 Chinese laborers to work behind the British and French lines on World War I’s Western Front—may have been the source of the pandemic.

              “Writing in the January issue of the journal War in History, Humphries acknowledges that his hypothesis awaits confirmation by viral samples from flu victims. Such evidence would tie the disease’s origin to one location.

              “But some other historians already find his argument convincing.

              “This is about as close to a smoking gun as a historian is going to get,” says historian James Higgins, who lectures at Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, and who has researched the 1918 spread of the pandemic in the United States. “These records answer a lot of questions about the pandemic.”

              – National Geographic

              1. George, as I have said before one generally keeps their cards hidden in cases like this especially where the outcome isn’t guaranteed and one can use the event in a multiplicity of ways.

                The origin of the 1918 flu is not proven.

                1. Allen, did you read the NG article? It’s proven to them. China must pay a penalty. China must stop causing viruses to “jump” and China must control the outbreaks.

                  1. “It’s proven to them.”

                    George, read your own blurb. “***may*** have been the source of the pandemic.

                    1. Allan – unless China becomes a hermit kingdom and seals its borders, it will never be able to totally control the spread of disease.

                    2. OK George, that might be true but close only counts in horseshoes. Close is not proof and not even a near certainty.

                      6+6 = 11 Is that close enough George?

  4. No one can give forgiveness only Jesus Christ. It’s up to the individual to repent for their sins and ask Jesus for forgiveness.

    1. You miss the point of confession before a priest. It’s like AA where a recovering addict has to talk about his problem in order to cleanse it from within. The priest doesn’t “cure” us; he listens, counsels and assigns a period of meditation (repetition of familiar prayers, like a mantra) and, with our path thus opened to Christ’s forgiveness, we know we can accept it and clear our conscience. Of course Christ forgives – the hard part is for us to put the sin behind us.
      I wish people who make disparaging remarks about Catholicism would take the trouble to learn about it first. We’ll welcome you on any terms.

      1. I get my forgiveness from my High Priest Jesus and bypass the middleman who really can’t help me. I meditate several hours each day with my Lord.


        this is the point of Nathaniel Hawthorne’s Scarlet Letter. — a work by a Protestant, about Protestants– but one who understood the need for confession!

        Kids used to be assigned that great American classic in school

        probably now it’s some other garbage

  5. Karen S, for the 4th time, because this is the only way I can comment on this site.

    — David B Benson

    1. Liberty2nd – Catholic priests cannot marry, however they can leave the priesthood and have children. Luther, a priest, left the Church, married a nun and had children. You never know when you will need those testicles.

    2. Most of the Eastern Rite Catholic Churches permit priests to marry. Roman Rite priests accept the discipline of celibacy. It’s pretty simple really.

      1. No, they don’t. They ordain married men.

        In the U.S., the Eastern-rite eparchies do have men ordained in the old country after being married. However, celibates are pretty common among Eastern-rite priests. I’m not sure I’ve met a married priest, and I’ve put in years at Ukrainian and Melkite parishes.

        1. OK – how about this: there are married and unmarried priests in Eastern Rite Churches. I should point out that married Anglican clerics who seek ordination as Roman Catholic priests through the Prelatures of St. Peter and Our Lady of Walsingham may remain married. Should a former Anglican cleric’s wife die, however, he may not remarry.

          1. “Pope” is a title. It came into use later. Yes, Peter was married as were many clerics in the early centuries of the Church.

  6. The Church is probably trying to avoid penitents congregating for Confession. There is also less than 6 feet of space between the penitent and the priest.

    One can always make an Act of Contrition at home.

  7. How much more nonsense are we going to be exposed to bc of what to now is a minimal virus compared to several other corona viruses.

    This pope just gave all the pedophiles in his religion a green light on small boys for a month or so…….don’t worry, it’s not your fault, the virus made you do it.

      1. There is only one entity who could possibly forgive pedophilia. The victim. The idea of scapegoating (and Jesus is the ultimate scapegoat) — piling your sins on the goat to be killed is superstitious pagan nonsense. Such compleat nonsense that nothing can ever top it!
        I cannot forgive the rapist of my child who committed suicide because of that rape. No “god” could either.

  8. Why not medieval-style indulgences?

    Everything else is for sale under modern capitalism, might as well sell absolution too.

    1. Everything else is for sale under modern capitalism,

      What would you prefer not be bought or sold?

      And, while we’re at it, what % of your ‘colleagues’ have vociferously objected to commercial trade in species of pornography? Street drugs? ‘Sex change’ surgery? Abortion? And which of them object to unilateral divorce on demand?

    2. The Catholic Church hasn’t got the power to forgive anything, and they have never had the power to forgive anything. They’re just a bunch of people wearing costumes, just like all other organized religions. God can forgive sins. Popes can only commit them.

      1. As you say, the Church has no power to forgive, as God forgives. However, please note:
        “In imparting to his apostles his own power to forgive sins the Lord also gives them the authority to reconcile sinners with the Church. This ecclesial dimension of their task is expressed most notably in Christ’s solemn words to Simon Peter: “I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” The office of binding and loosing which was given to Peter was also assigned to the college of the apostles united to its head.”
        Popes can, and have, sinned. They go to confession, like anyone else.

        1. The keys to heaven, Samantha, is the Holy Spirit, which was given to Peter by God, and is given to each and every sinner who confesses before God, not Peter. Please check out your theology and have it be righted by the bible, and by more than one passage, thank you.

          1. I don’t think you understand the Bible passages referenced here. They don’t obviate the Holy Spirit.

    3. The sale of indulgences, as Luther correctly noted, was a great abuse, and was forbidden by the reforms instituted by the Council of Trent.

    4. At least there are things for sale in a capitalist country. The Pope is a buffoon and a marxist. He would be gone by now if it weren’t for those 25 foot walls surrounding him.

  9. Fifty-five years ago a Catholic priest told me “thee was no sin so great that God would not forgive it.”

    I said “Cool, that means I’ve got nothing to worry about”.

    He replied, telling me that I would have to be “truly sorry”–to which I said “Well; when Saint Peter is showing me to the down elevator you can bet I will be “truly F***’in” sorry!”

  10. How absurd. The Vatican is rivaled only by the Democrat party in it’s world class nose-dive into buffoonery.

    1. What the Vatican has said deals purely with the administration of the Sacraments at a diocesan level.

    1. David, if you’ve answered me before, I have not seen it. Why are you posting under an anonymous avatar and then signing your name? Did something happen to your original?

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