Commemoration Of All The Faithful Departed - Laurentino Cemetery - Photo © Vatican Media

Apostolic Penitentiary Announces Modifications to Plenary Indulgence for Deceased

Extension Through November

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This year, in the present contingencies due to the “COVID-19” pandemic, the Plenary Indulgences for deceased faithful will be prolonged for the whole month of November, with adjustment of the works and conditions to guarantee the safety of the faithful.

 This Apostolic Penitentiary has received not a few supplications of Sacred Pastors who have asked that this year, because of the “COVID-19” pandemic, the pious works be changed in the norm of the Manual of Indulgences (conc. 29, Paragraph 1) to obtain the Plenary Indulgences applicable to the souls in Purgatory. Therefore, the Apostolic Penitentiary, on special mandate of His Holiness Pope Francis, willingly establishes and decides that this year, to avoid gatherings where they are prohibited:

a.- The Plenary Indulgence for those that visit a cemetery and pray for the deceased even if only mentally, as established in the norm only in the individual days from November 1 to 8, can be transferred  to other days of the same month until its end. Such days, freely chosen by individual faithful, can also be separated from each other;

b.- The Plenary Indulgence of November 2, established on the occasion of the Commemoration of all the deceased faithful, for all those that piously visit a Church or an Oratory and recite there the “Our Father” and the “Creed,” can be transferred not only to the preceding or the following Sunday or to the day of the Solemnity of All Saints, but also to another day of the month of November, to the free choice of individual faithful.

The elderly, the sick and all those that for grave reasons cannot leave their home, for instance, because of restrictions imposed by the competent authority for the time of the pandemic, in order to avoid numerous faithful crowding in sacred places, will be able to obtain the Plenary Indulgence provided that, united spiritually to all the other faithful, completely detached from sin and with the intention of complying as soon as possible with the three usual conditions (Sacramental Confession, Eucharistic Communion and Prayer according to the Intentions of the Holy Father), recite, before an image of Jesus or of the Blessed Virgin Mary, pious prayers for the dead, for example, the Praises and Vespers of the Office of the Dead, the Marian Rosary, the Divine Mercy Chaplet, other prayers for the dearest deceased of the faithful or spend time in meditative reading of one of the evangelical passages proposed by the Liturgy of the Dead, or carry out a work of mercy, offering to God the pains and hardships of their life.

For an easier obtaining of the grace through pastoral charity, this Penitentiary prays heartily that all priests equipped with the opportune faculties, may offer themselves with particular generosity to the celebration of the Sacrament of Penance and administer Holy Communion to the sick.

However, in regard to the spiritual conditions to receive the Indulgence fully, one is reminded to take recourse to the indications already issued in the Note “About the Sacrament of Penance in the present situation of pandemic, by this Apostolic Penitentiary on March 19, 2020.

Finally, in order that the souls in Purgatory be helped by the intercessions of the faithful and especially with the Sacrifice of the Altar that is pleasing to God (cf. Conc. Tr. Sess. XXV, decr. De Purgatorio), all priests are warmly invited to celebrate Holy Mass three times on the day of the Commemoration of the deceased faithful, as in the norm of the Apostolic Constitution “Incruentum Altaris,” issued by Pope Benedict XV, of venerable memory, on August 10, 1915.

The present Decree is valid for the whole month of November, despite any contrary disposition.

Given in Rome, from the headquarters of the Apostolic Penitentiary, on October 22, 2020, Memorial of Saint John Paul II.

Maurus Cardinal Piacenza

Paenitentiarius Maior

 Christophorus Nykiel


 [Original text: Latin]

Translation by Virginia M. Forrester

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