“Crux Fidelis”, Benedictines of Mary, Queen of Apostles, from the album “Lent at Ephesus”, (2014)
So, the latest release from the Vatican is that Pope Francis, exercising his authority as the successor of Peter to “bind and loose” on earth, (cf. Matt 18:18; John 20:23) has granted the faithful a daily Plenary Indulgence, that is, complete remission of their sins (and temporal punishment). I will include the full text of the Indulgence at the end of this post.
Indulgences are a uniquely Catholic understanding of one of the many ways that a soul can gain a remission from the punishment due to sins whose guilt has already been forgiven in the sacrament of Confession. The important, Christ founded, sacrament of Confession and the granting of indulgences for remission of punishment are generally not believed or accepted in any of the hundreds of Protestant denominations of Christianity.
I guess, to each their own, and I suppose it all falls under the umbrella of obedience and renunciation of “self”. Anyway, for those who may be interested and certainly for any Catholic readers, here are some general remarks on Indulgences.
1. This is how an indulgence is defined in the Code of Canon Law (can. 992) and in the Catechism of the Catholic Church (n. 1471): “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 the treasury of the satisfactions of Christ and the saints”.
2. In general, the gaining of indulgences requires certain prescribed conditions (below, nn. 3, 4), and the performance of certain prescribed works (nn. 8, 9, 10 indicate those specific to the Holy Year).
3. To gain indulgences, whether plenary or partial, it is necessary that the faithful be in the state of grace at least at the time the indulgenced work is completed.
4. A plenary indulgence can be gained only once a day. In order to obtain it, the faithful must, in addition to being in the state of grace: A) have the interior disposition of complete detachment from sin, even venial sin; B) have sacramentally confessed their sins; receive the Holy Eucharist (it is certainly better to receive it while participating in Holy Mass, but for the indulgence only Holy Communion is required); C) pray for the intentions of the Supreme Pontiff.
5. It is appropriate, but not necessary, that the sacramental Confession and especially Holy Communion and the prayer for the Pope’s intentions take place on the same day that the indulgenced work is performed; but it is sufficient that these sacred rites and prayers be carried out within several days (about 20) before or after the indulgenced act. Prayer for the Pope’s intentions is left to the choice of the faithful, but an “Our Father” and a “Hail Mary” are suggested. One sacramental Confession suffices for several plenary indulgences, but a separate Holy Communion and a separate prayer for the Holy Father’s intentions are required for each plenary indulgence.
6. For the sake of those legitimately impeded, confessors can commute both the work prescribed and the conditions required (except, obviously, detachment from even venial sin).
7. Indulgences can always be applied either to oneself or to the souls of the deceased, but they cannot be applied to other persons living on earth.
So here is what Pope Francis officially granted:
Hearing the cry of the lambs, Christ, through Pope Francis, exercising his authority as the successor of Peter to “bind and loose” on earth, has granted the faithful a daily Plenary Indulgence, that is, complete remission of their sins (and temporal punishment) under the following conditions
The Plenary Indulgence is granted to the faithful suffering from Coronavirus, who are subject to quarantine by order of the health authority in hospitals or in their own homes if, with a spirit detached from any sin, they unite spiritually through the media to the celebration of Holy Mass, the recitation of the Holy Rosary, to the pious practice of the Way of the Cross or other forms of devotion, or if at least they will recite the Creed, the Lord’s Prayer and a pious invocation to the Blessed Virgin Mary, offering this trial in a spirit of faith in God and charity towards their brothers and sisters, with the will to fulfill the usual conditions (sacramental confession, Eucharistic communion and prayer according to the Holy Father’s intentions), as soon as possible.
Health care workers, family members and all those who, following the example of the Good Samaritan, exposing themselves to the risk of contagion, care for the sick of Coronavirus according to the words of the divine Redeemer: “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends”(Jn 15: 13), will obtain the same gift of the Plenary Indulgence under the same conditions.
This Apostolic Penitentiary also willingly grants a Plenary Indulgence under the same conditions on the occasion of the current world epidemic, also to those faithful who offer a visit to the Blessed Sacrament, or Eucharistic adoration, or reading the Holy Scriptures for at least half an hour, or the recitation of the Holy Rosary, or the pious exercise of the Way of the Cross, or the recitation of the Chaplet of Divine Mercy, to implore from Almighty God the end of the epidemic, relief for those who are afflicted and eternal salvation for those whom the Lord has called to Himself. —Decree of the Apostolic Penitentiary, March 20, 2020
Let each of us then to whom this applies, moved by the Spirit, take advantage of this grace as often as possible and understand that this comprises part of the preparation of the Bride of Christ in these days. As a family of health care workers in daily face to face contact with our patients we are grateful to the Holy Father for this timely Plenary Indulgence, and intend to make full use of it.
For another post by Mark Mallett on this subject please check out this page here.
I have found some information on “Spiritual Communion” here. Also, I have some more information on Exorcised Salt and Holy Water and its appropriate uses in this sort of pandemic emergency, which I will post in a later post.
So the rest turned into a bit of a rant, so in the end I just decided to cut it all out and just stick to the spiritual.
Going through a bit of a rough patch these days … Jesus I Trust In You.