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Catholic Dictionary




Rights granted by the Holy See to bishops and by ordinaries to their priests to enable the latter to exercise their respective powers for the faithful under their jurisdiction. The term is most commonly used in relation to the sacrament of penance, where faculties are needed for the priest to absolve not only licitly but even validly. However, faculties for licit administration are required for all the sacraments, with varying degrees of obligation. On a wider scale, faculties are also required for the exercise of ecclesiastical authority or, in general, for performance of any act of jurisdiction in the Catholic Church. In every case it is assumed that the one giving the faculties has the right to do so and the one receiving them has the power to put them into practice.