From a reader:
Your recent answer to a question about prayers and Masses for non-Catholic departed brings to mind a question some friends and I were deliberating over. With regard to the indulgences we can gain for the departed during the month of November by praying at a cemetery:
are the intended recipients the Catholic departed, or could we go to a non-Catholic, or, say, even Jewish cemetery to pray and gain the indulgence?
Here is the text of the concession of the indulgence from the Enchridion Indulgentiarum as it is on the Vatican’s website.
Pro fidelibus defunctis
§ 1. Plenaria indulgentia, animabus in Purgatorio detentis tantummodo applicabilis, conceditur christifideli qui
1°55 singulis diebus, a primo usque ad octavum novembris, coemeterium devote visitaverit et, vel mente tantum, pro defunctis exoraverit;
2°56 die Commemorationis omnium fidelium defunctorum (vel, de consensu Ordinarii, die Dominico antecedenti aut subsequenti aut die sollemnitatis Omnium Sanctorum) ecclesiam aut oratorium pie visitaverit ibique recitaverit Pater et Credo.
§ 2. Partialis indulgentia, animabus in Purgatorio detentis tantummodo applicabilis, conceditur christifideli qui,
1°57 coemeterium devote visitaverit et, vel mente tantum, pro defunctis exoraverit;
2°58 Laudes vel Vesperas Officii defunctorum, vel invocationem Requiem aeternam devote recitaverit.
Competentes Coetus episcopales curabunt addere in editionibus Enchiridii pro sermonum varietate preces pro defunctis magis in suis territoriis usitatas et christifidelibus caras.
Requiem aeternamdona eis, Domine, et lux perpetua luceat eis. Requiescant in pace. Amen.
From this we see only the word “coemeterium” without further distinction. I think we can say that it is better to go to a Catholic cemetery. But that is not what the grant of the indulgence says.
Also, the grant states seems to make some distinctions. We see “pro defunctis” without further specification: “for the dead”.
There are “animabus in Purgatorio detentis … souls detained in Purgatory”. They wouldn’t be in Purgatory if they weren’t going to be in heaven with the blessed one day.
It doesn’t say “Catholic souls detained in Purgatory”.
So, while I think it is better to go to a Catholic cemetery, which is consecrated ground and is, well, ours, it seems you could go to any cemetery.