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Complicit absolution

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Complicit absolution is an offense in Roman Catholic Canon law consisting of the absolution of a party complicit with the absolving priest in an offense. Because it constitutes the abuse of a sacrament, it is held to be sacrilege.

A notable case in recent times was that of Father Marcial Maciel, who was alleged to have abused the confessional in a situation where he had compromised his clerical celibacy.[1] Other related cases involve secular clergy in the archdiocese of Boston who were similarly accused of abusing the confessional in the documents Crimen sollicitationis and De delictis gravioribus.[2]


  1. Was Fr. Maciel excommunicated?
  2. Explaining Crimen Sollicitationis

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