How can we deny absolution to non-Catholics?


I am having problems with what I am told is the Church’s teaching on this subject. As I understand it, absolution is denied to anyone who is not a member of the Roman Catholic church. Therefore it seems that an assurance of sin forgiven is denied to those who (arguably) need it most. Yet on the other hand we have Catholic scholars on EWTN claiming that the RC Church is the most open of all. This seems at least contradictory and if confession/absolution is denied to those most likely to seek and need it, then what is going on???
I do apologise for taking up your time with this but I would seriously like an answer that explains it all!


Hi shapes,

We wouldn’t expect a visitor from another country to be able to simply walk in from the street and expect to vote in a U.S. election. The fact that we would not accept that such a person is qualified to vote in our election is not being closed. One must be a citizen of a country to have the right to vote in it. This is simply being honest

Anyone who wants absolution may have it. But they must understand what it is and recognize that the Catholic priest has the power and authority to absolve them of their sins and WHY he has it. He has it because he was validly ordained in the only Church Jesus ever founded. To accept this is to become a Catholic. Even Catholics must be instructed as to what the sacrament is before they may partake of it. Would that more people would seek absolution! The Catholic Church would be most happy to have them!

In danger of death the Lord will forgive anyone who has perfect contrition, i.e., their repentance is based solely on sorrow for having offended such a loving God—and not because of their fear of hell.

Fr. Vincent Serpa, O.P.

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