VATICAN CITY, NOV. 30, 2005 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI is offering the faithful a plenary indulgence on the solemnity of the Immaculate Conception, Dec. 8, the 40th anniversary of the close of the Second Vatican Council.
The indulgence was announced in a decree published in Latin on Tuesday, signed by Cardinal James Stafford and Conventual Franciscan Father John Girotti, penitentiary major and regent, respectively, of the Apostolic Penitentiary.
The document establishes that when the Pope renders public homage to Mary Immaculate in Rome’s Piazza di Spagna, he “has the heartfelt desire that the entire Church should join him, so that all the faithful, united in the name of the common Mother, become ever stronger in the faith, adhere with greater devotion to Christ, and love their brothers with more fervent charity.”
“From here — as Vatican Council II very wisely taught — arise works of mercy toward the needy, observance of justice, and the defense of and search for peace,” adds the decree.
For this reason, the decree continues, the Holy Father “has kindly granted the gift of plenary indulgence which may be obtained 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, on the forthcoming solemnity of the Immaculate Conception, by the faithful if they participate in a sacred function in honor of the Virgin, or at least offer open testimony of Marian devotion before an image of Mary Immaculate exposed for public veneration, adding the recitation of the Our Father and of the Creed, and some invocation to the Virgin.”
The document concludes by recalling that faithful who “through illness or other just cause” are unable to participate in a public ceremony or to venerate an image of the Virgin, “may obtain a plenary indulgence in their own homes, or wherever they may be, if, with the soul completely removed from any form of sin, and with the intention of observing the aforesaid conditions as soon as possible, they unite themselves in spirit and in desire to the Supreme Pontiff’s intentions in prayer to Mary Immaculate, and recite the Our Father and the Creed.”
On Dec. 8, 1965, Pope Paul VI, in closing Vatican II, dedicated great praise to the Blessed Virgin who, as Mother of Christ, is Mother of God and spiritual Mother of all mankind.