I was wondering whether or not old indulgences granted under the old rules, for example, in the Raccolta, expire or are superseded by the new rules of the Enchiridion Indulgentarium. That is, it is my private belief that I can still get a plenary indulgence attached to an old devotion, so long as it was stated and no official pronouncement said anything to the contrary.
Given the generally lax nature of the new rules, am I correct in holding this view? For example, the new rules say nothing about certain old pronouncements, nor about superseding old collections of indulgences. Am I then free to assume that the old rules still bind with the authority of Peter?
I am glad that you are interested in gaining indulgences. All Catholics should be!
Pope Paul VI’s Apostolic Constitution 1967 Indulgentiam Doctrina, by which indulgences were revised, states,
“Indulgences attached to the use of religious objects which are not mentioned above cease three months after the date of publication of this constitution in the Acta Apostolicae Sedis.“
Acta Apostolica Sedis is the Holy See’s usual official instrument of promulgation of law.
There were certain other indulgences – privileges of certain religious orders, for example, that required revision. Of these, the Holy Father states,
“The revisions mentioned in n. 14 and 15 must be submitted to the Sacred Apostolic Penitentiary within a year. Two years after the date of this constitution, indulgences which have not been confirmed will become null and void.”
That pretty much clears things up.
All the indulgenced prayers and devotions of the old Raccolta, except for those that have been carried over into the new Enchiridion, are null and void.
Peter binds and Peter loosens.
The old indulgenced prayers and devotions are still of great spiritual merit. However, unless they been re-confirmed in the Enchiridion or perhaps by a grant from the Sacred Apostolic Penitentiary, the indulgence attached to them no longer applies.
On that note, if you see in some older work that an indulgence of X number of days, months or, as we are on the verge of Lent, quarantines, are indicated, you can be pretty sure that that indulgence no longer applies. Today the Church applies either partial or plenary indulgences. That’s it.
So, friends, get out there during Lent and be indulgence indulgent. Gain those indulgences!
And GO TO CONFESSION!