Norms on Indulgences

Norms on Indulgences

[from the Enchiridion of Indulgences issued on 29 June 1968.]

  1. An indulgence is the remission before God of the temporal punishment due for sins already forgiven as far as their guilt is concerned. This remission the faithful with the proper dispositions and under certain determined conditions acquire through the intervention of the Church which, as minister of the Redemption, authoritatively dispenses and applies the treasury of the satisfaction won by Christ and the Saints.
  2. An indulgence is partial or plenary, according as it removes either part or all of the temporal punishment due for sin.
  3. No one, acquiring indulgences, can apply them to other living persons.
  4. Partial as well as plenary indulgences can always be applied to the departed by way of suffrage.
  5. The grant of a partial indulgence is designated only with the words "partial indulgence," without any determination of days or years.
  6. The faithful, who at least with contrite heart perform an action to which a partial indulgence is attached, obtain, in addition to the remission of temporal punishment acquired by the action itself, an equal remission of punishment through the intervention of the Church.
  7. The division of indulgences into "personal," "real" and "local" is abolished, so as to make it clearer that indulgences are attached to the actions of the faithful, even though at times they may be linked with some object or place.
  8. Besides the Roman Pontiff, to whom the dispensation of the whole spiritual treasury of the Church has been entrusted by Christ our Lord, they only can grant indulgences by ordinary power, to whom this is expressly conceded by law.
  9. In the Roman Curia, whatever pertains to the granting and use of indulgences is committed to the Sacred Penitentiary exclusively, saving the right of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith to examine whatever pertains to dogmatic teaching concerning indulgences.
  10. No one below the Roman Pontiff can:
    1. Give to others the faculty of granting indulgences, unless he has this right by express indult from the Apostolic See;
    2. Add another indulgence to a work already indulgenced by the Apostolic See or by someone else, unless new conditions to be fulfilled are prescribed.
  11. Diocesan Bishops, and others equated to them in law, have the right from entrance upon their pastoral office:
    1. To grant a partial indulgence to persons or in places under their jurisdiction;
    2. To impart in their respective dioceses, according to the prescribed formula, the Papal Blessing with a plenary indulgence three times a year on solemn feasts of their own choice, even if they only assist at the solemn Mass.
  12. Metropolitans can grant a partial indulgence in their suffragan Sees, as in their proper diocese.
  13. Patriarchs can grant a partial indulgence in each place, even if exempt, of their respective patriarchates, in churches of their rite outside the territory of their patriarchates, and to the faithful of their rite everywhere. Major Archbishops have the same faculty.
  14. Cardinals have the faculty of granting a partial indulgence in places or to institutes or persons under their jurisdiction or protection; in other places also, but only to persons present and for that time only.
    1. 1. All books of indulgences, as well as pamphlets, leaflets and the like, whose contents include grants of indulgences, may not be published without the permission of the Ordinary or Hierarch of the place.
    2. 2. The express permission of the Apostolic See is required to print and publish in any language the authentic collection of prayers and pious works, to which the Apostolic See has attached indulgences.
  16. Those who have asked and obtained from the Sovereign Pontiff grants of indulgences for all the faithful are obliged, under penalty of nullity of the favor thus obtained, to submit to the Sacred Penitentiary authentic copies of these same grants.
  17. If a feast or its external solemnity is legitimately transferred, it is understood that an indulgence, attached to the feast, is transferred to the same day.
  18. A visit to a church or oratory, if required to gain an indulgence attached to a certain day, can be made from noon of the preceding day to midnight at the close of the day itself.
  19. The faithful, who devoutly use an article of devotion (crucifix or cross, rosary, scapular or medal) properly blessed by any priest, obtain a partial indulgence.
  20. But if the article of devotion has been blessed by the Sovereign Pontiff or by any Bishop, the faithful, using it devoutly, can also gain a plenary indulgence on the feast of the Holy Apostles, Peter and Paul, provided they also make a profession of faith according to any legitimate formula.

    1. Indulgences attached to a visit to a church do not cease if the church is totally destroyed, provided the church is rebuilt within fifty years in the same or almost the same place and under the same title.
    2. An indulgence attached to the use of an article of devotion only ceases, when the article is completely destroyed or is sold.
  22. Holy Mother Church, extremely solicitous for the faithful departed, has decided to apply suffrages to them as abundantly as possible in every Sacrifice of the Mass, abolishing every particular privilege in this regard.
  23. To be capable of gaining an indulgence for oneself, it is required that one be

    In order that one who is capable may actually gain indulgences,

  24. Unless the tenor of the grant clearly indicates otherwise, indulgences granted by a Bishop can be gained by his subjects even outside his territory and by others within his territory who are exempt or who have or do not have a domicile elsewhere.
    1. A plenary indulgence can be acquired once only in the course of a day.
    2. But one can obtain the plenary indulgence for the moment of death, even if another plenary indulgence had already been acquired on the same day.
    3. A partial indulgence can be acquired more than once a day, unless otherwise expressly indicated.
  26. The work prescribed for acquiring a plenary indulgence connected with a church or oratory consists in a devout visit and the recitation during the visit of one Our Father and the Creed.
  27. To acquire a plenary indulgence it is necessary to perform the work to which the indulgence is attached and to fulfill the following three conditions:
    1. sacramental confession,
    2. Eucharistic Communion, and
    3. prayer for the intention of the Sovereign Pontiff.

    It is further required that all attachment to sin, even venial sin, be absent.

    If the latter disposition is in any way less than perfect or if the prescribed three conditions are not fulfilled, the indulgence will be partial only, saving the provisions given below in Norm 34 and in Norm 35 concerning those who are "impeded."

  28. The three conditions may be fulfilled several days before or after the performance of the prescribed work; it is, however, fitting that Communion be received and the prayer for the intention of the Sovereign Pontiff be said on the same day the work is performed.
  29. A single sacramental confession suffices for gaining several plenary indulgences; but Communion must be received and prayer for the intention of the Sovereign Pontiff must be recited for the gaining of each plenary indulgence.
  30. The condition of praying for the intention of the Sovereign Pontiff is fully satisfied by reciting one Our Father and one Hail Mary; nevertheless, each one is free to recite any other prayer according to his piety and devotion.
  31. The norms regarding plenary indulgences, particularly the one stated above in Norm 24, 1, apply also to what up to now have been customarily called "toties quoties" ["as often as"] plenary indulgences.
  32. An indulgence cannot be gained by a work, to which one is obliged by law or precept. unless the contrary is expressly stated in the grant; one, however, who performs a work which has been imposed as a sacramental penance and which happens to be one enriched with an indulgence, can at the same time both satisfy the penance and gain the indulgence.
  33. An indulgence attached to a prayer can be acquired by reciting the prayer in any language, provided the fidelity of the translation is vouched for by a declaration either of the Sacred Penitentiary or of any Ordinary or Hierarch of those places, where the language of the translation is the one commonly spoken.
  34. To gain an indulgence attached to a prayer, it is sufficient to recite the prayer alternately with a companion or to follow it mentally while it is being recited by another.
  35. Confessors can commute either the prescribed work or conditions, in favor of those who, because of a legitimate impediment, cannot perform the work or fulfill the conditions.
  36. Local Ordinaries or Hierarchs, moreover, can grant to the faithful, over whom they exercise legitimate authority and who live in places where it is impossible or at least very difficult to go to confession or Communion, permission to gain a plenary indulgence without confession and Communion, provided they have true contrition for their sins and have the intention of receiving these Sacraments as soon as possible.
  37. The deaf and dumb can gain indulgences attached to public prayers, if they devoutly raise their mind and affections to God, while others of the faithful are reciting the prayers in the same place; for private prayers it suffices, if they recite them mentally or with signs, or if they merely read them with their eyes.

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