QUAERITUR: Urbi et Orbi blessing

From a reader:

I’ve read in several places, and heard at the time, that the twice-yearly papal Urbi et Orbi blessing grants forgiveness of all sin, and that there is a plenary indulgence attached to it. If the former is true, does this negate the need for confession of mortal sins up to that point, seen as they have been absolved by the Holy Father?

The Urbi et Orbi blessing the Holy Father gives at Christmas and New Year, and also on his election as Pope, forgives temporal punishment due to sin.   This is not super absolution which forgives sins without people having to confess them in the normal way.  It is not a "general absolution" of mortal sins given to the City and the World.

Truly these blessings are a great occasion for all the members of the Church. Catholics should pay attention to them.

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  1. My understanding is that the Urbi et Orbi blessings, which the Pope gives at Christmas and Easter (er, not New Year, Father) grant a Plenary Indulgence and, as every Plenary Indulgence, it removes the penance of all sins, as long as the mortal ones are confessed some days before or some days after, together with receiving Holy Comnmunion and praying for the Pope’s intentions. These conditions are always announced before the actual blessing by the Cardinal-Protodeacon.

  2. Larry says:

    I am not certain on the issue of a post blessing confession of sins. Need some clarification on this point. IN any event there can be no attachment to ANY sin in order to obtain a plenary indulgence.

  3. Kimberly says:

    Does anyone know if this is the samw as “The Apostalic Blessing”?

  4. Yes, of course there must be no attachment to any sin to obtain a plenary indulgence. The “post” confession is to make it more easy for the penitent who maybe cannot go to confession before. Those are the rules for a plenary indulgence.


    No. The Apostolic Blessing is a special blessing given by the Pope or any bishop on solemn occasions, while the “Urbi et Orbi” blessing is a blessing for Rome and the whole world given only by the Pope twice a year.

  5. Mark says:

    Aquinas says any Pontifical Blessing remits venial sin.

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