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The Holy See has announced that Pope Benedict XVI has granted a plenary indulgence for the Year of Faith, which will last from October 11, 2012 to November 24, 2013. The decree announcing the indulgence was signed by Cardinal Manuel de Castro, Major Penitentiary, and Bishop Krysztof Nykiel, Regent of the Apostolic Penitentiary. One plenary indulgence per day may be gained by an individual, which they can use for themselves or apply to a soul in Purgatory. The indulgence remits the temporal punishment due to sins whose guilt has already been forgiven. There are four means of getting the indulgence.
1) By attending at least three sermons "during holy missions" or reading at least three lessons from the documents of Vatican II or the Catachism of the Catholic Church.
2) By making a pilgrimage to a basilica, catacomb, cathedral, or location designated by the local bishop for the Year of Faith, and either participating there in a sacred celebration, praying, or meditation. The act of prayer should finish with an Our Father, a recitation of the Creed, and a prayer to the Blessed Virgin Mary.
3) Participate in Mass or the Liturgy of the Hours on a day chosen by the local ordinary and reciting the Creed.
4) By a person visiting their place of baptism and there renewing their baptismal promises there.
Those who for a serious reason cannot attend such celebrations may still obtain the indulgence if they pray an Our Father and a Creed and other prayers that agree with the objectives of the Year of Faith.       


Enriched by the Gift of Sacred Indulgences

Special Exercises of Piety to Be Undertaken during the Year of Faith

On the day of the 50th anniversary of the solemn opening of the Ecumenical Council Vatican II, to which Blessed John XXIII “assigned as main task to guard and present better the precious deposit of the Christian Doctrine, to make it more accessible to Christ’s faithful and to all men of good will” (John Paul II, Apostolic Constitution Fidei Depositum, October 11, 1992: AAS 86 [1994] 113), the Supreme Pontiff Benedict XVI has established the beginning of a Year dedicated particularly to the profession of the true faith and to its correct interpretation, with the reading, or better, with the pious meditation of the Acts of the Council and of the Articles of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, published by Blessed John Paul II, thirty years after the beginning of the Council, with the precise intention to “induce the faithful to adhere better to it and to promote knowledge of it and its implementation” (Ibid., 114).

Already in the year of the Lord 1967, to recall the 19th centenary of the martyrdom of the Apostles Peter and Paul, a similar Year of Faith” was proclaimed by the Servant of God Paul VI, “to attest in a solemn profession of Faith, in as much as the essential contents that for centuries have constituted the patrimony of all believers, are in need of being confirmed, comprehended and deepened in an ever new way, in order to give coherent witness in historical conditions that are different from the past” (Benedict XVI, Apostolic Letter Porta Fidei, no. 4).

In this time of profound changes, to which humanity is subjected, the Holy Father Benedict XVI, with the proclamation of this second Year of Faith, intends to invite the People of God, of whom he is the universal Pastor, as well as brother Bishops of the whole world “to join the Successor of Peter, in the time of spiritual grace that the Lord offers us, in recalling the precious gift of the faith” (Ibid., no. 8).

To all faithful will be given “the opportunity to confess their faith in the Risen Lord […] in the cathedrals and churches of the whole world; in [their] homes and with [their] families, so that everyone will feel strongly the need to know better and to transmit to future generations the everlasting faith. Religious as well as parish communities, and all the ancient and new ecclesial realities, will find the way in this Year to make public profession of the Creed” (Ibid.).

Moreover, all the faithful, individually and in community, will be called to give open witness of their faith before others in the particular circumstances of daily life: “Man’s social nature itself exacts that he express externally the acts of religion, that he communicate with others in religious matters, profess his religion in a communal way” (Declaration, Dignitatishumanae, December 7, 1965: AAS 58 [1966], 932).

Because it is above all a question of developing to the highest degree -- in so far as it is possible on this earth -- holiness of life and hence of obtaining, in the highest degree, purity of soul, very useful will be the great gift of Indulgences, which the Church, in virtue of the power conferred on her by Christ, offers to all those who with the proper dispositions fulfill the special prescriptions to obtain them. “With the Indulgence -- Paul VI taught -- the Church, making use of her power of minister of the Redemption wrought by Christ the Lord, communicates to the faithful the participation of this fullness of Christ in the communion of Saints, furnishing them in very large measure the means to attain salvation” (Apostolic Letter Apostolorum Limina, May 23, 19745: AAS 66 [1974] 2898). Manifested thus is the “treasure of the Church,” “of which also the merits of the Holy Mother of God and of all the elect, from the first to the last righteous” constitute “a further increase” (Clement VI, Bull Unigenitus Dei Filius, January 27, 1343).

The Apostolic Penitentiary, which has the task of regulating what concerns the concession and use of Indulgences, and of stimulating the spirit of the faithful to conceive correctly and to nourish the pious desire to obtain them -- solicited by the Pontifical Council for Promoting the New Evangelization, in attentive consideration of the Note with pastoral indications for the Year of Faith of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, in order to obtain the gift of the Indulgences during the Year of Faith --, has established the following dispositions, issued in conformity with the mind of the August Pontiff, so that the faithful will be greatly stimulated to know and love the Doctrine of the Catholic Church and obtain more abundant spiritual fruits.

During the whole span of the Year of Faith, proclaimed from October 11, 2012 to the whole of November 24, 2013, all individual faithful truly repentant, duly confessed, communing sacramentally, and who pray according to the intentions of the Supreme Pontiff, will be able to acquire a Plenary Indulgence from the temporal punishment for their sins imparted by God’s mercy, applicable in suffrage to the souls of the deceased faithful.

a.- Every time they take part in at least three instances of preaching during the Sacred Missions, or at least three lessons on the Acts of Vatican Council II and on the Articles of the Catechism of the Catholic Church in any church or ideal place;

b.- Every time they visit by way of pilgrimage a Papal Basilica, a Christian catacomb, a Cathedral; Church, a sacred place designated by the Ordinary of the place for the Year of Faith (for example between the Minor Basilicas and the Shrines dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary, to the Holy Apostles and to Patron Saints) and take part there in some sacred function or at least pause for an apt time of recollection with pious meditations, concluding with the recitation of the Our Father, the Profession of Faith in any legitimate form, invocations to the Blessed Virgin Mary and, according to the case, to Holy Apostles or Patrons;

c.- Every time, in days determined by the Ordinary of the place for the Year of Faith (for example on the solemnities of the Lord, of the Blessed Virgin Mary, on the feast s of the Holy Apostles and Patrons, on the Chair of Saint Peter), in any sacred place they participate in a solemn Eucharistic celebration or the Liturgy of the Hours, adding the Profession of Faith in any legitimate form;

d.- A day freely chosen, during the Year of Faith, for the pious visit of the baptistery or other place, in which they received the sacrament of Baptism, renewing the baptismal promises in any legitimate formula.

Diocesan or Eparchial bishops, and those who in law are equivalent to them, in the most appropriate day of this time, on the occasion of the main celebration (for example November 24, 2013, on the solemnity of Jesus Christ King of the Universe, with which the Year of Faith will close) will be able to impart the Papal Blessing with the Plenary Indulgence, to be gained by all the faithful who receive this Blessing devoutly.

The truly repentant faithful, who cannot take part in solemn celebrations for serious reasons (as, first of all, nuns that live in convents of perpetual cloister, anchorites and hermits, prisoners, the elderly, the sick, as well as those that, in hospitals or other nursing places, give continuous service to the sick …), will obtain the Plenary Indulgence in the same conditions  if, united in spirit and thought to the faithful present, particularly in moments in which the Words of the Supreme Pontiff or of the Diocesan Bishops are broadcast on television or radio, recite in their own home  or where the impediment keeps them (for example in the chapel of the convent, of the hospital, of the nursing home, of the prison …) the Our Father, the Profession of Faith in any legitimate form, and other prayers in keeping with the objective of the Year of Faith, offering the sufferings or discomforts of their life.

In order that access to the sacrament of Penance and the obtaining of divine forgiveness through the power of the Keys is pastorally facilitated, the Ordinaries of the places are invited to grant to canons and priests -- who in the Cathedrals and in the designated Churches for the Year of Faith are able to hear the confessions of the faithful --, the faculties limited to the internal forum, of which, for the faithful of the Eastern Churches is canon 728, paragraph 2 of the CCEO, and in the case of an eventual reserve, those for canon 727, excluding, as is evident, cases considered in canon 728, paragraph 1; for the faithful of the Latin Church, the faculties of which are in canon 508, paragraph 1 of the CIC.

The confessors, after having admonished the faithful on the gravity of sins to which is annexed a reserve or a censure, will determine appropriate sacramental penances, such as to lead them to the most possible stable repentance and, according to the nature of the cases, to impose on them the reparation of eventual scandals and damages.

Finally, the Penitentiary warmly invites the Most Excellent Bishops, in as much as holders of the threefold munus of teaching, guiding and sanctifying, to take care in explaining clearly the principles and dispositions proposed here for the sanctification of the faithful, taking into account in a particular way the circumstance of place, culture and traditions. A catechesis adapted to the nature of each people, will be able to propose more clearly and with greater vivacity to the intelligence and root more firmly and profoundly in hearts the desire for this unique gift, obtained in virtue of the mediation of the Church.

The present Decree is valid only for the Year of Faith, any contrary disposition notwithstanding.

Given in Rome at the Headquarters of the Apostolic Penitentiary, September 14, 2012, on the Exaltation of the Holy Cross.

Manuel Cardinal Monteiro de Castro

Major Penitentiary

Monsignor Krzysztof Nykiel


* * *




Dono Sacrarum Indulgentiarum ditantur

peculiaria spiritalia incepta per Fidei Annum peragenda

Die quinquagesimo anniversario, ex quo sollemniter apertum est Sacrosanctum Oecumenicum Concilium Vaticanum II, cui beatus Ioannes XXIII "munus praecipuum concredidit aptius tuendi explicandique catholicae doctrinae pretiosum depositum, ut idem magis perspicuum fieret christifidelibus et universae bonae voluntatis hominibus" (Ioannes Paulus II, Const. Apost. Fidei Depositum, 11 Oct. 1992: AAS 86 [1994] 113), Summus Pontifex Benedictus XVI inchoari censuit Annum, verae Fidei profitendae peculiari ratione sacrum eiusdemque recte interpretandae, lectione, immo pia meditatione Actorum Concilii Vaticani II necnon articulorum Catechismi Catholicae Ecclesiae, a beato Ioanne Paulo II triginta exactis annis ab inito Concilio editi, "quo melius christifideles universi ei assentirentur eiusque agnitio et accommodatio divulgarentur" (ibid., 114).

Iam Dominico anno 1967, vertente undevicesimo saeculo martyrii Apostolorum Petri et Pauli, similem Fidei indixit Annum servus Dei Paulus Papa VI, ut in sollemni professione Fidei "significaretur quantopere essentialia principia, quae ex saeculis omnium credentium constituunt patrimonium, confirmatione, intellectione et pervestigatione, ratione usque renovata, indigeant, ad congruam testificationem reddendam in historicis condicionibus, quae aliae sunt ac superiorum temporum" (Benedictus XVI, Litt. Apost. Porta Fidei, n. 4).

Hac autem nostra aetate profundissimarum mutationum, quibus humanum genus subicitur, Beatissimus Pater Benedictus XVI, per alterum Fidei Annum, populum Dei, cuius est universalis Pastor, ita fratres Episcopos totius orbis invitare intendit ut "cum Successore Petri coniungantur, tempore spiritalis gratiae quam nobis tribuit Dominus ad pretiosum Fidei donum memorandum" (ibid., n. 8).

Universis ita christifidelibus "facultas dabitur Fidem profitendi in Dominum surrectum … in Ecclesiis Cathedralibus et in templis totius mundi; … in domibus et apud … familias, ut unusquisque vehementius compellatur ad illam perpetuam Fidem melius cognoscendam et futuris generationibus tradendam. Religiosae communitates sicut illae paroeciales, omniaque ecclesialia instituta, vetera et nova, modum invenient hoc Anno symbolum Credo publice profitendi" (ibid.).

Universi christifideles, singulariter vel communiter, insuper vocabuntur ut apertum fidei testimonium coram aliis in peculiaribus quotidianae vitae adiunctis, palam reddant: "Ipsa autem socialis hominis natura exigit, ut homo internos religionis actus externe exprimat, cum aliis in re religiosa communicet, suam religionem modo communitario profiteatur" (Decl. Dignitatis humanae, 7 Dec. 1965: AAS 58 [1966], 932).

Cum nimirum de sanctitate vitae, quantum in terris licet, ad summum provehenda ideoque de animarum puritate quam maxime procuranda agatur, utilissimum erit magnum Indulgentiarum donum, quod Ecclesia, vi potestatis sibi a Christo tributae, reserat eis universis, qui debitis dispositionibus specialia implent praescripta ad illas lucrandas. Quocirca edocebat Summus Pontifex Paulus VI: "In Indulgentia autem Ecclesia, sua postestate utens ministrae Redemptionis Christi Domini, fidelibus participationem communicat huius plenitudinis Christi in Communione Sanctorum, instrumenta salutis ipsis amplissime suppeditando" (Litt. Apost. Apostolorum Limina, 23 Maii 1974: AAS 66 [1974] 289). Hoc modo patefit "thesaurus Ecclesiae", ad cuius "quidem […] cumulum Beatae Dei Genetricis omniumque electorum a primo iusto usque ad ultimum merita adminiculum praestare noscuntur" (Clemens VI, Bulla Iubilaei Unigenitus Dei Filius, 27 Ian. 1343).

Apostolica Paenitentiaria, cuius est ea quae ad concessionem et usum Indulgentiarum spectant rite ordinare, fideliumque animos ad earum obtinendarum pium desiderium recte concipiendum et fovendum excitare, Pontificio Consilio de Nova Evangelizatione Promovenda enixe rogante, attente perspectis Congregationis pro Doctrina Fidei Adnotationibus de Anno Fidei cum pastoralibus indicationibus, ad Indulgentiarum donum per Fidei Annum acquirendum, sequentes statuit dispositiones iuxta ipsius Augusti Pontificis mentem editas, quo christifideles impensius ad cognitionem et amorem Doctrinae Ecclesiae Catholicae incitentur et inde uberiores usque spiritales fructus hauriant.

Totum per Fidei Annum, a die 11 Octobris 2012 usque ad integram diem 24 Novembris 2013 indictum, plenariam temporalis poenae, pro peccatis luendae, misericorditer in Domino consequi valebunt Indulgentiam, quam etiam animabus fidelium defunctorum per modum suffragii applicare possunt, omnes et singuli christifideles vere paenitentes, rite confessi, eucharistica Communione refecti et ad mentem Summi Pontificis orantes:

a.- quotiescumque tribus saltem sacrarum Missionum contionibus aut tribus institutionibus de Actis Concilii Vaticani II et Articulis Catechismi Catholicae Ecclesiae in qualibet ecclesia aut loco apto habendis interfuerint;

b.- quotiescumque quamlibet Papalem Basilicam, christianorum catacumbas, Cathedralem Ecclesiam, Sacrum Locum pro Anno Fidei ab Ordinario loci designatum (ex. gr. inter Basilicas Minores et Sanctuaria Beatae Mariae Virgini, Sanctis Apostolis et Sanctis Patronis dicata) in forma peregrinationis inviserint et ibi alicui sacrae functioni pie interfuerint vel saltem per congruum temporis spatium piis vacaverint considerationibus, concludendis Oratione Dominica, Fidei Professione, qualibet legitima formula adhibita, atque invocationibus Beatae Mariae Virginis et Sanctorum Apostolorum vel Patronorum;

c.- quotiescumque, diebus ab Ordinario loci pro Anno Fidei determinatis (ex. gr. in sollemnitatibus Domini, Beatae Mariae Virginis, in festis Sanctorum Apostolorum et Sanctorum Patronorum, in Cathedra Sancti Petri), in quolibet loco sacro sollemni pie interfuerint eucharisticae celebrationi vel liturgiae horarum, addita Fidei Professione, qualibet legitima formula adhibita;

d.- die in Anno Fidei libere eligendo pro pia visitatione baptisterii vel alii loci, in quo Baptismatis sacramentum receperunt, dummodo vota baptismalia qualibet legitima formula renovaverint.

Singuli Episcopi Dioecesani seu Eparchiales, necnon ii qui iure ipsis aequiparantur, opportuniore eiusdem temporis die, occasione praecipuae celebrationis (ex. gr. die 24 Novembris 2013, in sollemnitate D. N. Iesu Christi Universorum Regis, qua claudetur Annus Fidei) impertiri valebunt Benedictionem Papalem, cum adnexa plenaria Indulgentia a christifidelibus lucranda, qui eandem Benedictionem pia mente acceperint.

Christifideles vere paenitentes, qui sollemnibus celebrationibus interesse non poterunt ob graves causas (uti in primis Moniales omnes, quae in coenobiis degunt sub claustri perpetui disciplina, Anachoretae et Eremitae, christifideles qui in carcere custodiuntur, senes, infirmi necnon christifideles qui, in nosocomiis aliisque curationis locis, aegrotantibus continua opera adsunt…) plenariam consequi valebunt Indulgentiam, eisdem condicionibus, si, spiritu et mente coniuncti cum fidelibus praesentibus, praesertim dum Summi Pontificis vel Dioecesani Episcopi Verba, instrumentis televisificis et radiophonicis propagabuntur, Orationem Dominicam, Symbolum Fidei et alias preces ad Anni Fidei fines, in propria domo seu ubi impedimentum eos detinet (ex. gr. in sacello monasterii, nosocomii, loci curationis, carceris…), oblatis doloribus suis vel incommodis propriae vitae.

Quo igitur accessus ad sacramentum Paenitentiae et ad divinam veniam per Ecclesiae claves consequendam facilior pro pastorali usu evadat, Ordinarii locorum rogantur ut canonicis eisque sacerdotibus qui, in Cathedralibus Templis et in Ecclesiis pro Anno Fidei designatis, fidelium confessiones audire valebunt, facultates pro foro interno tantum concedant, de quibus pro fidelibus Ecclesiarum Orientalium in can. 728, § 2 CCEO, necnon ab iis, quae forte reservata sint vi can. 727 eiusdem Codicis, exclusis, ut patet, casibus consideratis in can. 728, §1; pro fidelibus autem Ecclesiae Latinae, prout habetur in can. 508, § 1 CIC.

Confessarii vero, paenitentibus monitis de gravitate peccatorum, quibus adnexa est reservatio vel censura, proportionatas sacramentales paenitentias determinent, tales nimirum quae ad stabilem morum emendationem maxime conducant, et, pro casuum natura, reparationem scandali et damnorum (si forte secuta sint) imponant.

Apostolica Paenitentiaria Exc.mos Episcopos, quibus spectat triplex munus docendi, regendi et sanctificandi, enixe rogat ut principia et praecepta hic pro eorumdem fidelium sanctificatione indicata, explicare distincte curent, attentis praesertim locorum, culturae et traditionum adiunctis, quibus nimirum fit ut uni eidemque Ecclesiae dispensationi clarius et vividius menti exhibendae, cordique firmius et profundius inserendae, melius inserviat peculiaris adhibita cuique genti catechesis.

Praesenti per Annum Fidei tantum valituro. Quibuscumque in contrarium facientibus non obstantibus.

Datum Romae, ex aedibus Paenitentiariae Apostolicae, die 14 mensis Septembris anno Domini 2012, in Exaltatione Sanctae Crucis.

Emmanuel S. R. E. Card. Monteiro de Castro
Paenitentiarius Maior

Christophorus Nykiel