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Oct 27
Seeking Indulgences for the Faithful Departed During the COVID-19 Pandemic

In November, the Church remembers in a special way the faithful departed. Traditionally, in the first week of November, many Catholics seek indulgences for loved ones whose souls are being purified in Purgatory before they can enter Heaven.

However, the COVID-19 pandemic has made obtaining these indulgences more difficult for some people. Many are sick or forced to quarantine and, in some parts of the world, churches and cemeteries are closed. As a result, the Vatican has released a decree that adapts this year's process for receiving a indulgences for those in Purgatory.

Those who are unable to attend a cemetery and pray for the dead between November 1 and November 8, 2020 (as is traditional), will now be able to do this on any date in November and receive a plenary (full) indulgence for a soul in Purgatory.

Anyone who is unable to attend a church on All Souls' Day (November 2) to recite the Our Father and the Creed to receive an indulgence for a soul in Purgatory may now do so on any day in November.

Those who will be unable to leave their homes at all during November, can receive an indulgence for a soul in Purgatory by reciting a list of prayers before an image of Jesus or the Blessed Virgin Mary.

The faithful who are seeking an indulgence for a soul in Purgatory must meet the following conditions:

  • Have an interior disposition that is completely detached from sin (even venial)
  • Receive confession
  • Receive the Eucharist (preferably at Mass)
  • Recite prayers for the intentions of the Holy Father (one Our Father and one Hail Mary is considered the minimum)

If some of the above conditions are not met, the indulgence becomes partial rather than plenary. Those who are unable to leave their home at this time are advised to meet the above conditions as soon as possible.

Indulgences removes part or all of the temporal punishment of sin before God.

To read the decree, please click here

The Crux provides more information on the decree here.

And to learn more about indulgences more generally, please click here.   


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