To receive a plenary indulgence
The Extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy includes the possibility of obtaining a plenary indulgence through performing works of corporal and spiritual works of mercy (feeding the hungry and visiting the sick, counseling the doubtful and comforting the afflicted, etc.), with a passing through a Holy Door, as well as the usual means and conditions for obtaining an indulgence.
Requirements for able-bodied Catholics:
◗ Take a pilgrimage. Make a journey to your local Holy Door (a physical portal in your local cathedral, shrine or other designated Church) or to one of the Holy Doors in the four papal basilicas in Rome. Crossing through a Holy Door is a spiritual journey that signals, as the Holy Father said, “the deep desire for true conversion.”
◗ Go to confession.
◗ Receive the Holy Eucharist “with a reflection of mercy.”
◗ Make a profession of faith.
◗ Pray for the pope and for his intentions.
Requirements for the elderly, confined and the ill:
◗ Pope Francis said that they may obtain the indulgence by “living with faith and joyful hope this moment of trial,”
◗ Receiving the Eucharist,
◗ Or by attending Mass and community prayer, “even through the various means of communication.”
Requirements for those in prison:
◗ The incarcerated may obtain the indulgence in their prison chapels.
Said Pope Francis: “May the gesture of directing their thought and prayer to the Father each time they cross the threshold of their cell signify for them their passage through the Holy Door, because the mercy of God is able to transform hearts, and is also able to transform bars into an experience of freedom.”
Requirement for the deceased:
◗ Through the prayers of the faithful, indulgences may be obtained for the dead.
Requirement for all Catholics:
Perform a spiritual or corporal work of mercy. Pope Francis said that an indulgence may be obtained when a member of the “faithful personally performs” one of these merciful acts.
Spiritual Works of Mercy Corporal Works of Mercy
Instruct the ignorant Feed the hungry
Counsel the doubtful Give drink to the thirsty
Admonish sinners Clothe the naked
Bear wrongs patiently Shelter the homeless
Forgive all injuries Visit the sick
Comfort the afflicted Visit the imprisoned
Pray for the living and the dead Bury the dead
Here are the normal conditions for receiving a plenary indulgence:
- It is necessary that the faithful be in the state of grace at least at the time the indulgenced work is completed.
- A plenary indulgence can be gained only once a day. In order to obtain it, the faithful must, in addition to being in the state of grace:
- have the interior disposition of complete detachment from sin, even venial sin;
- have sacramentally confessed their sins;
- receive the Holy Eucharist (it is certainly better to receive it while participating in Holy Mass, but for the indulgence only Holy Communion is required); and
- pray for the intentions of the Supreme Pontiff.
- It is appropriate, but not necessary, that the sacramental Confession and especially Holy Communion and the prayer for the Pope’s intentions take place on the same day that the indulgenced work is performed; but it is sufficient that these sacred rites and prayers be carried out within several days (about 20) before or after the indulgenced act. Prayer for the Pope’s intentions is left to the choice of the faithful, but an Our Father and a Hail Mary are suggested. One sacramental Confession suffices for several plenary indulgences, but a separate Holy Communion and a separate prayer for the Holy Father’s intentions are required for each plenary indulgence.
- For the sake of those legitimately impeded, confessors can commute both the work prescribed and the conditions required (except, obviously, detachment from even venial sin).
- Indulgences can always be applied either to oneself or to the souls of the deceased, but they cannot be applied to other persons living on earth.
Adapted from the decree on the plenary indulgence for the 2000 Jubilee Year.