Vatican extends opportunities to gain indulgences for the dead
By Adriana Masotti
The Vatican’s Apostolic Penitentiary published a decree on Thursday providing for the possibility of obtaining plenary indulgences in favour of the faithful departed throughout the entire month of November.
The decree, signed by Cardinal Mauro Piacenza, notes that the decision to once again extend the time period for gaining the indulgences was taken in response to “various pleas recently received from the various Sacred Pastors of the Church, due to the continuing state of the [Covid-19] pandemic.”
By means of the decree, the Apostolic Penitentiary “confirms and extends for the entire month of November 2021 all the spiritual benefits already granted on 22 October 2020.” That is, it allows the faithful to gain plenary indulgences for the souls in purgatory by visiting a cemetery on any eight days in November - which need not be consecutive - and praying for those who have died; normally, the indulgence is limited to the first eight days of the month.
A second plenary indulgence is also established for the day of the commemoration of the faithful departed, All Souls’ Day, November 2. The current decree allows the faithful to obtain that indulgence for the benefit of the deceased on any day of November, at their choice.
The Penitentiary notes in the decree that “from the renewed generosity of the Church, the faithful will certainly draw pious intentions and spiritual vigour to guide their lives according to the Gospel law, in filial communion and devotion to the Supreme Pontiff, the visible foundation and Pastor of the Catholic Church.”
The present Decree, like the one issued last year in the midst of the pandemic, is intended to meet the need to avoid gatherings, a potential cause of the spread of Covid-19, which still affects the world's population to varying degrees.