Pope Francis has granted a Planary Indulgence during this time of struggle.
Signed on March 19, the Feast of St. Joseph, by Major Penitentiary Cardinal Mauro Piacenza, the decree states that:
“The Plenary Indulgence is granted to the faithful suffering from the Coronavirus, subject to quarantine by order of the health authority in hospitals or in their own homes if, with a spirit detached from any sin, they unite themselves spiritually through the media to the celebration of Holy Mass, to the recitation of the Holy Rosary, to the pious practice of the Way of the Cross or other forms of devotion, or if at least they will recite the Creed, the Lord’s Prayer and a pious invocation to the Blessed Virgin Mary, offering this trial in a spirit of faith in God and charity towards their brothers and sisters, with the will to fulfill the usual conditions (sacramental confession, Eucharistic communion and prayer according to the Holy Father’s intentions), as soon as possible.”
Cardinal Piacenza adds that the same gift of Plenary Indulgence will be given “under the same conditions” to:
“Health care workers, family members and all those who, following the example of the Good Samaritan, exposing themselves to the risk of contagion, care for the sick of Coronavirus according to the words of the divine Redeemer.“No man has greater love than this: to give his life for his friends” (Jn 15:13).”
He adds that the decree also “willingly grants” the Plenary Indulgence under the same conditions to:
“Those faithful who offer a visit to the Blessed Sacrament, or Eucharistic Adoration, or the reading of Sacred Scripture for at least half an hour, or the recitation of the Holy Rosary, or the pious exercise of the Way of the Cross, or the recitation of the Chaplet of Divine Mercy, to implore from Almighty God the end of the epidemic, relief for those who are afflicted and the eternal salvation of those whom the Lord has called to Himself.”
The decree continues:
“The Church prays for those who are unable to receive the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick and the Viaticum, entrusting each and every one of them to Divine Mercy by virtue of the communion of saints and granting the faithful a Plenary Indulgence on the point of death, provided that they are duly disposed and have recited a few prayers during their lifetime (in this case the Church makes up for the three usual conditions required). For the attainment of this indulgence the use of the crucifix or the cross is recommended (cf. Enchiridion indulgentiarum, n.12).”
What’s an indulgence?
An indulgence is when God takes away the punishment in Purgatory that we are due to suffer for sins that have already been forgiven. According to whether this removal of punishment is total or partial, the indulgence is said to be plenary (total) or partial (partial). Indulgences can only be applied to one’s self, or to a Holy Soul in Purgatory. To escape the trauma of deciding between yourself and a suffering soul in Purgatory, why not consecrate yourself to Our Lady and she’ll choose.
How do we get an Indulgence?
You need to do 6 things:
1. Go to confession every fortnight. [This lets you attempt an indulgence every day]
2. Receive Holy Communion. [ie daily Mass if you want to gain an indulgence daily]
3. Pray for the Pope’s intentions. [Any prayer suffices, his intention need not be known]
4. Have the intention to gain the indulgence. [simply wake with the intention to gain]
5. Do a good work authorized by the Church. [eg 5 continuous decades of the Rosary in a church, or in a group of at least 2 people]
6. Freedom from attachment to sin during the time you’re attempting the indulgence.
How often can indulgences be obtained?
Unless in danger of death, it is not possible to gain more than 1 plenary indulgence daily.