Vatican City, Oct 23, 2020 / 09:00 am
The Vatican has extended the availability of certain plenary indulgences for the souls in Purgatory, amid concerns about avoiding large gatherings of people in churches or cemeteries and including those confined to home due to the pandemic.
According to a decree Oct. 23, certain indulgenced acts, which can help to remit the temporal punishment due to sin for those who have died in a state of grace, can be obtained throughout the entire month of November 2020.
The decree was signed by Cardinal Mauro Piacenza, major penitentiary of the Apostolic Penitentiary.
In an interview with Vatican News, Piacenza said that bishops had requested an extended timeframe for the plenary indulgence, considering the importance of the commemoration of the feasts of All Saints’ Day on Nov. 1 and All Souls’ Day on Nov. 2.
In the interview, Piacenza said that, although the availability of livestreamed Mass was good for the elderly who cannot attend the liturgy in person, “some people have gotten a little used to celebrations on television.”
This “can mark a certain disinterest in presence in [liturgical] celebrations,” he said. “There is therefore a pursuit by the bishops to implement all possible solutions to bring people back to the Church, always respecting everything that needs to be done for the particular situation in which we unfortunately find ourselves.”
Piacenza also noted the importance of the availability of the sacraments during the feasts of All Saints and All Souls, which for some countries can have very high sacramental attendance and participation.
With the penitentiary’s new decree, those who cannot leave home can still participate in the indulgence, and others can have more time to attend Mass, to receive the sacrament of confession, and to visit the cemetery, while still following local coronavirus measures on crowds, he said.