I have on occasion written about the important Apostolic Pardon or also Blessing, to be imparted to a person who is close to death.
The Apostolic Pardon imparts to a person who is properly disposed, please God through the last sacraments, a plenary indulgence (Enchiridion Indulgentiarum 28). Hence, all temporal punishment due to sin is remitted to that person through the exercise of the “keys” by the Church and by the application of the merits of Christ and His saints to the person who is dying.
It is a magnificent gift from Christ and the Church which priests can wield.
A fellow wrote to me a little while ago saying that, after he had read about the Apostolic Pardon on this blog, he was able to make sure that his sister-in-law, a Carmelite nun, received said Pardon as she passed away.
Having pondered that experience, he took it upon himself to write a letter about the Apostolic Pardon to 177 archbishops and bishops in these USA. He wrote, asking:
I ask that you, in collaboration with the USCCB, or on your own, if necessary, implement a plan to communicate and administer the Pardon in all of your parishes. You should also insure that it is given proper instruction to all your seminarians.
Entirely reasonable and, frankly, EXACTLY the sort of thing that a bishops conference ought to be busy with.
Now I have received a note from the same fellow with excerpts of replies he has received back from bishops, including:
From an Archbishop – “Thank you for your letter regarding the Apostolic Pardon. I know that several of our priests do offer this gift to those who are approaching death. However, I will discuss it with priest leaders and review how we might better make this gift available to the people in our archdiocese. With gratitude for your love for Jesus and His Church and concern that those approaching death receive all of the graces available to them, I remain…”.
From a Bishop – “Thank you very much for your letter of April, 2018, regarding the Apostolic Pardon. I have already spoken about the Apostolic Pardon to our priests and, through your inspiration, I will explain it to the faithful of this diocese. Thank you for taking the time to write your letter to the bishops. It has made a difference to me.“
“It has made a difference to me.”
Did you dear readers get that?
Friends, don’t be afraid to make yourselves and your concerns and your aspirations known to your pastors. It could make a difference. Be always kind and respectful, of course, as well as brief.
Immense Fr. K kudos and a Gold Star for the YEAR to this fellow who wrote to the bishops about the Apostolic Pardon.
Many priests don’t know about it.
Many priests who did know have let it slip from their radar.
This reminder was salutary.
Think about this.
You are GOING TO DIE! Hence, GO TO CONFESSION!
You are on your death bed and you can feel it coming. The priest came, who forgave your sins with the Sacrament of Penance and then Anointed you for final perseverance and readied you for your last breath. You may have even received Viaticum. As your lights fade, you see the priest’s hand raised in the sign of the Cross as he says (in the traditional version):
“By the Faculty which the Apostolic See has given me, I grant you a plenary indulgence and the remission of all your sins, and I bless you. In the Name of the Father and the Son + and the Holy Spirit. Amen.”
“Ego facultate mihi ab Apostolica Sede tributa, indulgentiam plenariam et remissionem omnium peccatorum tibi concedo et benedico te. In nomine Patris, et Filii, + et Spirtus Sancti, Amen.”
Sins forgiven. CHECK
Fortified with the Sacraments. CHECK
Apostolic Pardon. CHECK
All temporal punishment remitted. CHECK
Straight to the Beatific Vision.
My Jesus, mercy and thank you.
From a sudden and unprovided death, spare us, O Lord.