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Decree from Rome on Plenary Indulgences in November

Plenary Indulgences in November

“An indulgence is the remission in the eyes of God of the temporal punishment due to sins whose culpable element has already been taken away. The Christian faithful who are rightly disposed and observe the definite, prescribed conditions gain this remission through the effective assistance of the Church which, as the minister of redemption, authoritatively distributes and applies the treasury of the expiatory works of Christ and the saints.

An indulgence is either plenary or partial, that is, it frees a person either from all or from some of the temporal punishment due to sins.”

(from the Apostolic Constitutions, “Indulgentiarum doctrina”)

You may remember that in March this year, the Apostolic Penitentiary of the Vatican (which regulates matters of the internal forum, i.e. the sacramental seal of confession or other reserved internal matters which are not covered by the sacramental seal) decreed the possibility of gaining plenary indulgences in a number of different ways during the pandemic. I published five posts on this matter on 26th March, which you will find on the Coronavirus page of our parishes’ website (

The Penitentiary has now issued a further decree with a number of options for the month of November. Here is a summary of them:

  1. A plenary indulgence can be gained for someone deceased by visiting a cemetery and praying for the dead, even just mentally. Until now, this possibility was limited to the days between 1st and 8th November. However, because of the pandemic, it is now being extended to all other days of November. Only one plenary indulgence per day can be obtained for a deceased person.
  2. A plenary indulgence can normally be gained for yourself on 2nd November, the commemoration of All Souls, by visiting a church or oratory and reciting the Our Father and the Creed. This is now extended to any other day of November. You can only obtain one plenary indulgence for yourself during this month. Given that some churches are still closed during the week, and if you don’t have the chance to go to Mass in a church during November, you can still obtain the plenary indulgence for yourself by fulfilling all of the conditions given below:
    1. Unite yourself spiritually with all the faithful;
    2. Be completely detached from all sin, mortal and venial;
    3. Have the intention to carry out as soon as possible the three usual conditions for the plenary indulgence for yourself, i.e. sacramental confession, reception of Holy Communion and offering prayers for the intentions of the Holy Father;
    4. 1) Recite before a picture of Jesus or Mary the prayers for the dead (e.g. Morning or Evening Prayer from the Office for the Dead, the Rosary, the Divine Mercy Chaplet, or other prayers for the dead); or 2) spend time meditating on a passage of the Gospel normally used at Funeral Masses (cf. link below); or 3) perform a work of mercy, whilst offering to God the trials and tribulations of your own life.

Link for readings used at Funeral Mass: