According to a decree made public on July 9 and signed by Cardinal Manuel Monteiro de Castro and Bishop Krzysztof Nykiel, respectively penitentiary major and regent of the Apostolic Penitentiary, Pope Francis will grant Indulgence to the faithful participating in celebrations for 28th World Youth Day, to be held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil from 22 to 29 July on the theme “Go and make disciples of all nations”.
The young people and the faithful who are adequately prepared will obtain the Plenary Indulgence, once a day and under the usual conditions (sacramental Confession, Eucharistic communion and prayer in accordance with the intentions of the Holy Father), applicable also to the souls of deceased faithful.
The faithful who on account of a legitimate impediment cannot attend the aforementioned celebrations may obtain Plenary Indulgence under the usual spiritual, sacramental and prayer conditions, in a spirit of filial submission to the Roman Pontiff, by participation in the sacred functions on the days indicated, following the same rites and spiritual exercises as they occur via television or radio or, with due devotion, via the new means of social communication.
Partial Indulgence will be conceded to all the faithful who, in any place and between the indicated days, with a contrite heart raise devout prayers to God, concluding with the official prayer of the World Youth Day and invoking the Blessed Virgin Mary, Queen of Brazil, with the title “Nossa Senhora da Conceicao Aparecida” as well as other patrons and intercessors of the same meeting, that they may encourage the young to reinforce their faith and lead a holy life.
How to Gain a Plenary Indulgence
What is an Indulgence? An indulgence is the remission of the temporal punishment due to sins already forgiven (generally in the Sacrament of Confession) granted by the Church.
To understand an indulgence we must understand the consequences of sin.
Grave sin (mortal sin) involves our turning away from God, and separates us from His grace, depriving us of eternal life with Him. This is called “eternal punishment” or hell. Even a lesser sin (venial sin) involves a lessening of our love for God, and deprives us of life with Him for a certain period of time. This is called “temporal or temporary punishment” or purgatory.
When grave or mortal sins are forgiven, communion with God is restored and there is the remission of the eternal punishment of sin. Temporal or temporary punishment, however, remains. This entails a purification of soul, either here on earth or after death in the state called Purgatory.
As we strive for purification the Church aids us by urging us to works of devotion, penance, and charity, and by dispensing and applying with authority its spiritual treasury. This treasury contains the infinite merits of Christ our Redeemer, as well as the prayers and good works of the Blessed Virgin Mary and those of all the faithful who make up the communion of saints. Thus the Church grants us indulgences from this treasury. They are applied to the remission of temporal punishment. Since the faithful departed in purgatory are members of the communion of saints, we can help them achieve eternal life by offering our indulgences for them.
There are two kinds of indulgences:
- Plenary, which removes all of a person’s temporal or temporary punishment due to forgiven sin, and
- Partial, which removes part of a person’s temporal or temporary punishment due to forgiven sin.
In order to gain an indulgence one must be baptized, not excommunicated, and in the state of grace. Only one plenary indulgence can be gained per day, except at the moment of death, but you can many partial indulgences per day.
What works can one perform in order to gain a plenary indulgence?
The Apostolic Constitution Doctrine of Indulgences issued by Pope Paul VI in 1967 and still in effect, gives special mention to:*
- Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament for at least one-half hour.
- Devout reading of the Sacred Scriptures for at least one-half hour.
- The exercise of or making the Way of the Cross before fourteen stations lawfully erected (fourteen crosses are required, to which it is customary to add fourteen pictures or images, which represent the stations of Jerusalem). A movement from one station to the next is
required, unless it is made publicly, and it is not possible for all taking part to go in an orderly manner. In this case the leader should go from station to station. Nothing more is required than a pious meditation on the Passion and Death of the Lord, not necessarily on the individual station.
- Vocal recitation of the Marian Rosary of at least five decades recited continuously, with devout meditation on the mysteries. It must be recited in a church, public oratory, family group, religious community or pious association. In public recitation the mysteries must be announced.
*Other works are listed but they refer to specific churches, places, dates, or prayers and can be performed too infrequently to be mentioned here. What six conditions must be fulfilled in order to gain a plenary indulgence? If any of the following conditions are not satisfied only a partial indulgence is granted.