Two plenary indulgence one can receive for the souls in Purgatory by visiting a church or an
oratory and reciting an Our Father and the Creed, which can now also be done on any day in
November. A plenary indulgence remits all temporal punishment due to sin. It must always be
accompanied by a full detachment from sin.
The Vatican has decided once again to grant a plenary indulgence to Catholics who visit a
cemetery to pray for the dead on any day in the month of November.
In a typical year, the Church only grants this plenary indulgence for the souls in Purgatory to
those who pray in a cemetery in the month of November.
The Apostolic Penitentiary decree includes the particular Nov. 2 plenary indulgence one can
receive for the souls in Purgatory by visiting a church or an oratory and reciting an Our Father and
the Creed, which can now also be done on any day in November.
A plenary indulgence remits all temporal punishment due to sin. It must always be accompanied
by a full detachment from sin.
A Catholic who wishes to obtain a plenary indulgence must also fulfill the ordinary conditions of
an indulgence, which are sacramental confession, reception of the Eucharist, and prayer for the
Sacramental confession and reception of the Eucharist can occur up to about 20 days before or
after the indulgenced act.
With the decree for pandemic conditions, those who cannot leave home, such as the sick and the
elderly, can still obtain an indulgence by reciting prayers for the deceased before an image of
Jesus or the Virgin Mary.
They must also spiritually unite themselves to other Catholics, be completely detached from sin,
and have the intention of fulfilling the ordinary conditions as soon as possible.
The Vatican’s decree offered examples of prayers that homebound Catholics can pray for the
dead, including lauds or vespers of the Office for the Dead, the rosary, the Chaplet of the Divine
Mercy, other prayers for deceased among their family or friends, or performing a work of mercy
by offering their pain and discomfort to God.
According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, believers have honored and prayed for the
dead from the earliest days of Christianity.
“From the beginning, the Church has honored the memory of the dead and offered prayers in
suffrage for them, above all the Eucharistic sacrifice, so that, thus purified, they may attain the
beatific vision of God,” the catechism states in paragraph 1032.
“The Church also commends almsgiving, indulgences, and works of penance undertaken on
behalf of the dead.”
“Let us not hesitate to help those who have died and to offer our prayers for them,” it says.
Plenary Indulgences – General Conditions:
The following “General remarks on Indulgences” from Gift of the Indulgence summarizes the
usual conditions given in the Church’s law.
What is an indulgence?
An indulgence is a remission before God of the temporal punishment due to sins whose
guilt has already been forgiven, which the faithful Christian who is duly disposed gains
under certain prescribed conditions through the action of the Church which, as the minister
of redemption, dispenses and applies with authority the treasury of the satisfactions of
Christ and the Saints.
- In general, the gaining of indulgences requires certain prescribed conditions and the
performance of certain prescribed works. (In this case, those granted for the Feast of
- To gain indulgences whether plenary or partial, 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.
a. Have the interior disposition of complete detachment from sin, even venial sin.
b. Have Sacramentally confessed their sins.
c. 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).
d. 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 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
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.