Pope grants indulgences for World Youth Day

Vatican City, Jul 7, 2008 / 09:33 am (CNA) .- Pilgrims at World Youth Day and those from around the world who pray for the ‘spiritual goals of this meeting and for its happy outcome," will be able to receive indulgences, the Vatican announced on Saturday.

According to a decree signed by Cardinal James Francis Stafford and Bishop Gianfranco Girotti, respectively penitentiary major and regent of the Apostolic Penitentiary, Pope Benedict XVI will grant two types of indulgences for the international gathering of youth.

Those who "gather at Sydney, Australia, in the spirit of pilgrimage" to participate in celebrations for 23rd World Youth Day, will be able to receive a full or plenary indulgence, the decree says. Partial indulgences will be available to "all those who, wherever they are, will pray for the spiritual goals of this meeting and for its happy outcome."

Catholics believe that due to Jesus’ granting of the powers to “loose and bind” to St. Peter in Mt. 16, the Pope, who is Peter’s successor, can grant indulgences to the faithful. An indulgence erases the temporal punishment that results from sin.  

The decree on the indulgences for the coming World Youth Day explains the more recent history of the granting of indulgences. "The youth meeting held in the year 2005 in Cologne, offered the Apostolic Penitentiary an opportune occasion, with the authority of the Supreme Pontiff, to open wide to youth the spiritual treasures of the Church, with the aim of gathering singular fruits of sanctification.”

"Hence, this year, from 15 to 20 July, in Sydney, 'in the great southern land of the Holy Spirit' (according to the expression of John Paul II), will celebrate the 23rd World Youth Day, with the theme: 'You will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you will be my witnesses.'

"Indeed," the decree adds, "young people gathered around the Vicar of Christ will participate in the sacred functions and above all have recourse to the Sacraments of Reconciliation and the Eucharist. In the Sacraments received with a sincere and humble heart, they will earnestly desire to strengthen themselves in the Spirit, and, confirmed by the Chrism of salvation, will openly witness the faith before others even to the ends of the earth. May God grant that the very presence of the Supreme Pontiff among the young people gathered in Sydney express and render it such."

The indulgences may be gained in the following ways:

"The Plenary Indulgence is granted to the faithful who will devotedly participate at some sacred function or pious exercise taking place during the 23rd World Youth Day, including its solemn conclusion, so that, having received the Sacrament of Reconciliation and being truly repentant, they receive Holy Communion and devoutly pray according to the intentions of His Holiness.”

"The Partial Indulgence is granted to the faithful, wherever they are during the above-mentioned meeting, if, at least with a contrite spirit, they will raise their prayer to God the Holy Spirit, so that young people are drawn to charity and given the strength to proclaim the Gospel with their life.”

"So that all the faithful may more easily obtain these heavenly gifts, priests who have received legitimate approval to hear sacramental confessions, should welcome them with a ready and generous spirit and suggest public prayers to the faithful, for the success of the same World Youth Day."