National Conference of Catholic Bishops, General Decree Concerning the Place of the Celebration of the Sacrament of Reconciliation, 20 October 2000.


On November 17, 1999, the Latin Rite de iure members of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops approved complementary legislation for canon 964§2 of the Code of Canon Law for the Latin Rite dioceses of the United States.

The action was granted recognitio by the Congregation for Bishops in accord with article 82 of the Apostolic Constitution Pastor Bonus and issued by decree of the Congregation for Bishops signed by His Excellency Most Reverend Giovanni Battista Re, Prefect, and His Excellency Most Reverend Franciscus Monterisi, Secretary, and dated September 30, 2000.

Complementary Norm: The National Conference of Catholic Bishops, in accord with the prescriptions of canon 964§2, hereby decrees the following norms governing the place for sacramental confessions:

Provision must be made in each church or oratory for a sufficient number of places for sacramental confessions which are clearly visible, truly accessible, and which provide a fixed grille between the penitent and the confessor. Provision should also be made for penitents who wish

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pg. 888
to confess face-to-face, with due regard for the Authentic Interpretation of canon 964§2 by the Pontifical Council for the Interpretation of Legislative Texts, 7 July 1998 (AAS 90 [1998] 711).

As President of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops, I hereby decree that the effective date of this decree for all the Latin Rite dioceses in the United States will be December 1, 2000.

Given at the offices of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops in Washington, DC, on October 20, 2000.

Most Reverend Joseph A. Fiorenza

Bishop of Galveston Houston

President, NCCB

Reverend Monsignor Dennis M. Schnurr

General Secretary




Code of Canon Law Annotated (Montréal: Wilson & Lafleur Limitée, 2004): 1797. www.usscb.org/norms