Plenary indulgences for the Year of the Eucharist

on Saturday, 01 January 2005. Posted in Events

A Decree from the Apostolic Penitentiary, dated December 25, 2004 and published on January 14, 2005, states that "the Holy Father wished to enrich with indulgences several determined acts of worship and devotion to the Most Holy Sacrament, which are indicated below. Following are excerpts:

"A Plenary Indulgence is granted to all faithful and to each individual faithful under the usual conditions (sacramental confession, Eucharistic communion and prayer in keeping with the intentions of the Supreme Pontiff, with the soul completely removed from attachment to any form of sin), each and every time they participate attentively and piously in a sacred function or a devotional exercise undertaken in honor of the Blessed Sacrament, solemnly exposed and conserved in the tabernacle.

"A Plenary Indulgence is also granted, under the aforesaid conditions, to the clergy, to members of Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, and to other faithful who are by law obliged to recite the Liturgy of the Hours, as well as to those who customarily recite the Divine Office out of pure devotion, each and every time they recite -- at the end of the day, in company or in private — Vespers and Night Prayers before the Lord present in the tabernacle.

"The faithful who, through illness or other just cause, are unable to visit the Blessed Sacrament of the Eucharist in a church or oratory, may obtain a Plenary Indulgence in their own homes, or wherever they may be because of their ailment, if, with the intention of observing the three usual conditions as soon as possible, they make the visit spiritually and with the heart's desire, and recite the Our Father and the Creed, adding a pious invocation to Jesus in the Sacrament.

"If they are unable to do even this, they will receive a Plenary Indulgence if they unite themselves with interior desire to those who practice the normal conditions laid down for Indulgences, and offer the merciful God the illnesses and discomforts of their lives."

The Decree asks that priests, especially pastors, inform the faithful "in the most convenient manner" of these dispositions, prepare, "with generous and ready spirit," to hear confessions and to lead the faithful "in solemn public recitation of prayers to Jesus in the Sacrament." The faithful are likewise exhorted "to give open witness of faith and veneration for the Blessed Sacrament as proposed in such acts as Eucharistic procession and adoration, and Eucharistic and spiritual communion."

About Indulgences

An indulgence is the remission in the eyes of God of the temporal punishment due to sins whose culpable element has been taken away. To the faithful who are rightly disposed, a Plenary Indulgence grants the complete remission of the temporal punishment due to sin. All the faithful, properly prepared, can fully enjoy the gift of the indulgence each day, in accordance with the following norms of the Catholic Church:

The following was condensed from the English version of the "Handbook of Indulgences" based on the Vatican's "Enchiridion Indulgentiarum: Normae et Concessiones.":

1. To be capable of gaining indulgences, a person must be baptized, not excommunicated, and in a state of grace.

2. A plenary indulgence may be gained only once on any day.

3. The requirements for gaining a plenary indulgence are: the performance of the indulgenced work (in this case, the determined acts of worship and devotion to the Most Holy Sacrament which the Holy Father has indicated ), and the fulfillment of the following three conditions*:

a. Sacramental confession (individual and complete)

b. Eucharistic communion

c. Prayer for the Pope's intentions

*A further requirement is the exclusion of all attachment to sin, even venial sin. Unless this unqualified disposition - to renounce all attachment to our sins - and the three conditions are present, the indulgence will only be partial.

The above three conditions can be carried out several days preceding or following performance of the prescribed work, but it is more fitting that (b) communion and (c) prayer for the pope's intention take place on the day this work is performed. It is also fitting that the faithful frequently receive the grace of the Sacrament of Penance, in order to grow in conversion and in purity of heart.

4. Several plenary indulgences may be gained on the basis of a single sacramental confession; but only one plenary indulgence may be gained on the basis of a single communion and prayer for the pope's intentions.

5. The condition requiring prayer for the pope's intentions is completely satisfied by reciting once the Our Father, Hail Mary and Glory Be for his intentions. The faithful have the option of reciting any other prayer suited to their own devotion and their reverence for the pope.)

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