In the letter from Archbishop Rino Fisichella over at New Evangelization (Prot. N. NE/532/2017/P) confirming some Missionaries of Mercy for continued service we read about the Missionaries of Mercy receiving this instruction on the remission of censures (emphasis is in the letter itself):
“Regarding the remission of censures, it is sufficient that the Missionary use the regular formula of absolution, which remains unchanged, with the intention of absolving from the censure. However, if it would bring greater peace to the penitent, the Missionary may, before pronouncing the regular formula of absolution, absolve the penitent from the censure by pronouncing the specific formula proposed in Appendix I of the Ritus Poenitentiae. (In this regard, it is advisable to consult the version of the Rite of Penance used in your territory).”
Appendix I is very short, merely providing the formula:
- Potestate mihi concessa, ego te absolvo a vinculo excommunicationis (vel suspensionis vel interdicti). In nomine Patris, et Filii, et Spiritus Sancti. / Amen.
Of course, if one uses the traditional formula, this formula is incorporated into the rite with some conditional words (“inasmuch as I am able” and “inasmuch as you have need”).
Obviously, all this refers ONLY to the internal forum, and therefore, for instance, only to those censures which have NOT been publicly imposed on an individual. Therefore, for instance, the Holy Father’s proposed excommunication of those members of the Mafia who have been convicted of Mafia-esque crimes by the State and subsequently declared to be excommunicated would not fall under the jurisdiction for absolution by a Missionary of Mercy unless he was otherwise granted that extra faculty, it being assumed (we will see) that such an excommunication is reserved to the Holy See.