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Third Rite in Toowoomba (letter)
The Third Rite of Reconciliation - together with General Absolution - was again celebrated throughout the Toowoomba Diocese in Queensland during Advent 2000, with the explicit approval of Bishop Morris.
Bishop Morris provided the following explanation in January 2001, repeating his original guidelines issued in February 1999:
"Some of the more pastorally sensitive issues that have made the celebration of General Absolution a necessity in some contexts, can be taken into consideration when decisions are made. Such issues can, in many cases, be rightly judged to be causes which excuse a less than strict adherence to the law because of situations which present moral and physical impossibility.
"In this rural diocese, for example, the difficulty many people experience in maintaining anonymity without having to travel excessive distances, or the breakdown in relationships that prevent a person feeling able to approach a particular priest in a one to one situation may be real grounds for claiming moral and physical impossibility. Negative experiences of the confessional and even the reality of physical and sexual abuse, may also need to be taken into account when decisions about the use of this rite are made."
Whatever might be said about these grounds, most, if not all, Australian dioceses have officially ceased this practice, following instructions from the Holy See.
Reprinted from AD2000 Vol 14 No 2 (March 2001), p. 13
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