WHAT IS AN INDULGENCE?

An indulgence is a remission before God of the temporal punishment due to sins whose guilt has already been forgiven, which the faithful Christian who is duly disposed gains under certain prescribed conditions through the action of the Church which, as the minister of redemption, dispenses and applies with authority from the treasury of the satisfaction of Christ and the saints.” “An indulgence is partial or plenary according as it removes either part or all of the temporal punishment due to sin” The faithful can gain indulgences for themselves or apply them to the dead.

To understand this doctrine and practice of the Church it is necessary to understand that sin has a double consequence. Grave sin deprives us of communion with God and therefore makes us incapable of eternal life, the privation of which is called the “eternal punishment of sin. On the other hand every sin, even venial, entails an unhealthy attachment to creatures, which must be purified either here on earth, or after death in the state called Purgatory. This purification frees from what is called the “temporal punishment of sin. These two punishments must not be conceived of as a kind of vengeance inflicted by God from without, but as following from the very nature sin. A conversion which proceeds from a fervent charity can attain the complete purification of the sinner in such way. That no punishment would remain.

The forgiveness of sin and restoration of communion with God entails the remission of the eternal punishment of sin, but temporal punishment of sin remains. While patiently bearing sufferings and trails of all kind and, when the day comes, serenely facing death, the Christian must strive to accept this temporal punishment of sin as a grace. He should strive by works of mercy and charity, as well as by prayer and the various practices of penance, to put off completely the ‘old man’ and to put on the ‘new man’.

PLENARY INDULGENCES ARE GRANTED TO:

  1. The faithful, who piously and devoutly receive, even by radio [or television] transmission, the Blessing of the Sovereign Pontiff, when imparted to Rome and the World.
  2. If the visit to the Blessed Sacrament lasts for at least half an hour.
  3. The faithful, who devoutly visit a cemetery and pray, even if only mentally, for the departed each day from the 1st to the 8th of November. (Applicable only to the Souls in Purgatory)
  4. The faithful, who spend at least three whole days in the spiritual exercises of a retreat.
  5. The faithful, who devoutly use an article of devotion (crucifix or cross, rosary. scapular or medal) blessed by the Sovereign Pontiff or by any Bishop, can gain a plenary indulgence on the feast of the Holy Apostles, Peter and Paul, provided they also make a profession of faith according to any legitimate formula.
  6. The faithful, who during the time of a Mission have heard some of the sermons and are present for the solemn close of the Mission.
  7. A priest on the occasion of the first Mass and also to the faithful who devoutly assist at the same Mass.
  8. If the full Rosary is recited in a church or public oratory or in a family group, a religious Community or pious Association; a partial indulgence is granted in other circumstances.
  9. A priest, who on the 25th, 50th and 60th anniversary of his Ordination renews before God his resolve to fulfill faithfully the duties of his vocation. If the priest celebrates a jubilee Mass in some solemn manner, the faithful, who assist at it, can acquire a plenary indulgence.
  10. The faithful, who with the veneration due the divine word read the Bible for at least one half an hour.
  11. The faithful, who make the pious exercise of the Way of the Cross.
  12. The faithful, who visit a church or an altar on the day itself of its consecration, and there recite one Our Father and the Creed. He sacred ceremonies of a First Communion.
  13. The faithful, who on the day dedicated to the Commemoration of all the faithful departed, piously visit a church, a public oratory and a cemetery. (Applicable only to the Souls in Purgatory)
  14. The faithful, who devoutly visit a church or oratory of Religious on the Feast of the canonized Founder, and there recite one Our Father and the Creed.
  15. The faithful, who renew their baptismal promises according to formula in use in the celebration of the Paschal Vigil or on the anniversary of one’s baptism.
  16. The faithful, who in the solemn liturgical action of Good Friday devoutly assist at the adoration of the Cross and kiss it.
  17. The faithful, who receive Communion for the first time, or when they assist at the sacred ceremonies of a First Communion.
  18. The faithful, who assist solemn Jubilee Mass of a priest

(All these are done in a state of Grace and all attachment to sin, even venial sin should be absent No one, acquiring indulgences, can apply them to other living persons. One must have at least a general intention to gain them. A plenary indulgence can be acquired once only in the course of a day. To acquire a plenary indulgence it is necessary fulfill the following three conditions: sacramental confession, Eucharistic Communion, and prayer for the intention of the Sovereign Pontiff.)

Partial indulgences are granted to:

  1. The faithful, who visit the Most Blessed Sacrament to adore it.
  2. The faithful, who devoutly visit a cemetery and pray, even if only mentally, for the departed. (Applicable only to the Souls in Purgatory)
  3. The faithful, who devoutly recite the Angelus prayers according to the formula indicated for the time of the year in the early morning, at noon, and in the evening.
  4. The faithful, who piously recite the Apostles’ Creed or the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed.
  5. The faithful, who piously recite the psalm Out of the depths (Ps 129).
  6. The faithful, who take part in teaching or in learning Christian doctrine.
  1. The faithful, who piously recite Memorare.
  2. The faithful, who with repentant heart recite the psalm

Have mercy on me (Ps 50).

  1. The faithful, who devoutly take part in the pious exercises of a public novena before the feast of Christmas or Pentecost or the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
  2. The faithful, who devoutly use an article of devotion (crucifix or cross, rosary. scapular or medal) properly blessed by any priest, obtain a partial indulgence.
  3. The faithful, who piously spend some time in mental prayer.
  4. The faithful, who pray for the Pope with the below mentioned prayer.
  5. Let us pray for our Sovereign Pontiff N.
  6. The Lord, preserve him and give him life, and make him blessed upon the earth, and deliver him not up to the will of his enemies.
  7. The faithful, who assist with devotion and attention at the sacred preaching of the Word of God.
  8. The faithful, who take part in a monthly retreat.
  9. The faithful, who recite Eternal rest grant to them, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them. May they rest in peace. (Applicable only to the souls in purgatory)
  10. The faithful, who with the veneration due the divine word make a spiritual reading from Sacred Scripture.
  11. The faithful, who piously recite Hail, holy Queen.
  12. The faithful, who on the feast of any Saint recite in his honor the oration of the Missal or any other prayer approved by legitimate Authority.
  13. The faithful, who devoutly sign themselves with the sign of the cross.
  14. The faithful, who piously recite we fly to your patronage.
  15. The faithful, who renew their baptismal promises according to formula in use.
  16. The faithful, who piously recite Angel of God, my guardian dear, to whom his love commits me here, enlighten and guard, rule and guide me. Amen.
  17. The faithful who, in their sufferings raise their mind to God, adding even if only mentally some pious invocation.
  18. The faithful, who in a spirit of faith and mercy serve their brothers in need.
  19. The faithful, who in a spirit of penance voluntarily deprive themselves of what is licit and pleasing to them.

(All these are done in a state of Grace and all attachment to sin, even venial sin should be absent No one, acquiring indulgences, can apply them to other living persons. One must have at least a general intention to gain them.)

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