HONOLULU – In the midst of what seemed to be an imminent missile attack on the State of Hawaii, Bishop Larry Silva of Honolulu gave general absolution to around 45 people on January 13.
The absolution of sins given to a group of people at one time is allowed only in dire circumstances, such as the threat of imminent death, allowing soldiers to be absolved of their sins before battle when individual confession would be impossible, for example.
On January 16, Bishop Silva told the Hawaii Catholic Herald “I am not in favor of general absolution in general,” and went on to say “but that was an appropriate use.”
“If there ever was an occasion that was it,” he said. “It was scary.”
The bishop was at the St. Stephen Diocesan Center in Kaneohe at 8:07 AM when the alert was issued, and went to the chapel where Mass was being celebrated for nine deacon candidates, their wives, and their formation team. The presiding priest was shown the alert during Communion, but finished the Mass without announcing it.
When the Mass ended, Bishop Silva – wearing a t-shirt – offered general absolution for the group.
It took 38 minutes for a definitive all-clear message to follow the false alert.
For the full story in the Hawaii Catholic Herald, click here.