WHAT IS PLENARY INDULGENCE? HOW IS IT GAINED?
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4. SOME EXAMPLES OF PRESCRIBED INDULGENCED ACTS:
Our sins, whether mortal or venial, after being forgiven during Confession, still leave behind some “stains” in our souls, the so called remains of sin or TEMPORAL PUNISHMENT.
These remains of sin could be remitted or “erased” through prayers, sacraments, good works, sacrifices, and indulgences, in this life or in the next. If someone dies in the state of grace but still with the remains of sin in one’s soul, one needs to be purified in purgatory.
An INDULGENCE is “the remission before God of the temporal punishment due for sins already forgiven as far as their guilt is concerned.”
- To obtain this remission there are proper dispositions and certain conditions predetermined by the Church that must be met by the faithful. The remission is acquired through the intervention of the Church, who has the power to loose and bind granted through Jesus Christ.
- It is partial if it removes only part of the temporal punishment due to sin, or plenary if it removes all temporal punishment.
- To be able to gain an indulgence, ONE MUST HAVE THE INTENTION TO GAIN THEM, and PERFORM THE WORKS AT THE TIME AND IN THE MANNER PRESCRIBED.
The Apostolic Penitentiary reminds us:
“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:
— have the interior disposition of complete detachment from sin, even venial sin;
— 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);
— 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. “ (Apostolic Penitentiary, The Gift of Indulgence, Jan. 29, 2000)
Condition to gain plenary indulgence
The decree from the apostolic penitentiary offers a plenary indulgence to Catholics who choose to take part in the special year in one of six different ways. In normal conditions, Catholics are obliged to also make a confession, receive the Eucharist, and pray for the pope’s intentions; however, the decree recognizes that some will be unable to do so in line with pandemic social distancing measures.
“In the current context of the health emergency, the gift of the plenary indulgence is particularly extended to the elderly, the sick, those close to death and all those who for legitimate reasons find it impossible to leave their homes,” the decree states, suggesting such persons can obtain the indulgence by having an intention to fulfill the requirements “as soon as its possible.”Decree of the Apostolic Penitentiary on the granting of special Indulgences to the faithful in the current pandemic, 20.03.2020
Examples of acts of piety with a plenary indulgence attached to them are:
- ADORATION OF THE BLESSED SACRAMENT FOR 30 MINUTES (Manual of Indulgences, Grant n. 7 § 1 1°);
- PRAYING THE HOLY ROSARY AS A FAMILY OR GROUP, OR IN A CHURCH OR PUBLIC ORATORY (Manual of Indulgences, Grant n. 17 §1,1);
- PRAYING THE WAY OF THE CROSS (Manual of Indulgences, Grant n. 13 §2).
- ACT OF FAMILY CONSECRATION TO THE SACRED HEART OF JESUS OR TO THE HOLY FAMILY OF JESUS, MARY AND JOSEPH (Manual of Indulgences, Grant n. 1)….and so on.
- 6 WAYS TO GAIN A PLENARY INDULGENCE DURING THE YEAR OF ST. JOSEPH (DEC. 8, 2020-2021)
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