Indulgences are a great gift of the Pope to all Catholics. We should try to gain a plenary indulgence every day of the year. If we cannot meet the usual requirements for a plenary indulgence, we should at least attempt to gain partial indulgences throughout the day. In Latin indulgentia, simple means "pardon" and it refers to the pardon of our temporal punishment due to our sins (eternal punishment or "punishment in hell" is remitted by way of baptism and the sacrament of penance). In brief, an indulgence lessons our debt toward sanctity in purgatory.
A special plenary indulgence is available for Corpus Christi:
Eucharistic Adoration and Procession
The faithful who piously participate in solemn Eucharistic procession, either inside or outside of a Church, especially on the Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ, may receive a plenary indulgence.
A partial indulgence is granted for visiting the Blessed Sacrament for adoration or for offering any approved prayer to Jesus present in the Blessed Sacrament.
Requirements for obtaining a plenary indulgence:
- Do the work while in a state of grace,
- Receive Sacramental confession within 20 days of the work (several plenary indulgences may be earned per reception),
- Receive Eucharistic communion (one plenary indulgence may be earned perreception),
- Pray for the pope's intentions (Our Father and Hail Mary, or other appropriate prayer, is sufficient),
- Have no attachment to sin (even venial) - i.e., it is sufficient that the Christian makes an act of the will to love God and despise sin.
Requirements for a partial indulgence: The work must be done while in a state of grace and with the general intention of earning an indulgence.
- Only baptized persons in a state of grace who generally intend to do so may earn indulgences.
- Indulgences cannot be applied to the living, but only to the one doing the work or to the dead.
- Only one plenary indulgence per day can be earned (except for prayer at the hour of one's own death).
- Several partial indulgences can be earned during the same day.
- If only part of a work with plenary indulgence attached is completed, a partial indulgence still obtains.
- If the penance assigned in confession has indulgences attached, the one work can satisfy both penance and indulgence.
- Confessors may commute the work or the conditions if the penitent cannot perform them due to legitimate obstacles.
- In groups, indulgenced prayer must be recited by at least one member while the others at least mentally follow the prayer.
- If speech/hearing impairments make recitation impossible, mental expression or reading of the prayer is sufficient.
- For an indulgence attached to a particular day requiring a church visit, the day begins at noon the day before and ends at midnight.
HT: Father Thomas Longua, FSSP