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Catholic Dictionary

Find accurate definitions of over 5,000 Catholic terms and phrases (including abbreviations). Based on Fr. John Hardon's Modern Catholic Dictionary, © Eternal Life. Used with permission.

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COMMUNAL PENANCE

Group celebration of the sacrament of penance in one of several different ways, authorized by Pope Paul VI in 1973. One form has a communal penitential service, with individual confession of sins with absolution. Another form is entirely communal, including general absolution. When general absolution is given in exceptional circumstances, the penitents are obliged to make a private confession of their grave sins, unless it is morally impossible, at least within a year.