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Pope Benedict XVI Announces a Plenary Indulgence for the Year of Faith

  • Date:
  • Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Archbishop Nienstedt Issues Complementary Local Decree

Pope Benedict XVI has granted to the faithful the opportunity to gain a plenary indulgence during the “Year of Faith,” which began on October 11, 2012 and will end on November 24, 2013.  The plenary indulgence was announced on September 14, 2012. The indulgence is “especially dedicated to the profession of the true faith and its correct interpretation, through the reading of - or better still the pious meditation upon - the Acts of the Council and the articles of the Catechism of the Catholic Church.”

A plenary indulgence is complete remission of the temporal punishment due to sin, specifically sin that has already been forgiven in sacramental confession. The indulgence may also be applied for the good of the souls of the deceased faithful. This remission is granted by the Church through the application of the superabundant merits of Christ and the virtues and penances of the saints. The indulgence is granted after a sinner has confessed. An indulgence does not forgive sins. To gain a plenary indulgence: a person must reject sin of any kind; must perform the work of charity or say the prayer for which the indulgence is granted; and must also make Sacramental Confession, receive the Eucharist and pray for the intentions of the Pope. Ideally, these actions should take place on the day of the work itself, but may also be completed a few days before or after the work has been completed.

The decree announcing the Plenary Indulgence for the Year of Faith also states: “Since the primary objective is to develop sanctity of life to the highest degree possible on this earth, and thus to attain the most sublime level of pureness of soul, immense benefit may be derived from the great gift of Indulgences which, by virtue of the power conferred upon her by Christ, the Church offers to everyone who, following the due norms, undertakes the special prescripts to obtain them".

Archbishop Nienstedt issued a local decree which complements the papal decree.

The universal prescriptions for the plenary indulgence are:

  • Each time they [the faithful] attend at least three sermons during the Holy Missions, or at least three lessons on the Acts of the Council or the articles of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, in church or any other suitable location.
  • On any day they choose, during the Year of Faith, if they make a pious visit to the baptistery, or other place in which they received the Sacrament of Baptism, and there renew their baptismal promises in any legitimate form.
  • Each time they visit, in the course of a pilgrimage, a papal basilica, a Christian catacomb, a cathedral church or a holy site designated by the local ordinary for the Year of Faith (see local sites below), and there participate in a sacred celebration, or at least remain for a congruous period of time in prayer and pious meditation, concluding with the recitation of the Our Father, the Profession of Faith in any legitimate form, and invocations to the Blessed Virgin Mary and, depending on the circumstances, to the Holy Apostles and patron saints.

The holy sites designated by Archbishop Nienstedt for the Year of Faith are:

Each time that, on the days designated by the local ordinary for the Year of Faith, (see local dates below) in any sacred place, they participate in a solemn celebration of the Eucharist or the Liturgy of the Hours, adding thereto the Profession of Faith in any legitimate form.

The days designated by Archbishop Nienstedt for the Year of Faith are:

  • December 12 (Feast Day of Our Lady of Guadalupe)
  • December 25 (Christmas)
  • January 1(Mary, Mother of God)
  • March 31(Easter Sunday)
  • May 19 (Pentecost)
  • June 29 (Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul)

Read more about the Plenary Indulgence at TheCatholicSpirit.com.

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