Benedict XVI sends Apostolic Blessing, Indulgence for opening of Extraordinary Form church

Brick by brick across the Mersey River:

Press Release from the Diocese of Shrewsbury

Sunday 18th March 2012

For immediate release:

Pope Benedict XVI offers blessing and indulgence to mark reopening of landmark Wirral church

Pope Benedict XVI is offering a Papal Blessing with an attached Plenary Indulgence for all the faithful who attend the grand opening of the Shrine Church of Ss Peter and Paul and St Philomena, New Brighton, Wirral, on March 24
The Mass will mark the opening of the shrine church following the closure of the parish church in 2008. The Shrine Church will be a special place of prayer and devotion open every day for adoration of the Most Holy Eucharist. The church will also serve as a centre in the Diocese of Shrewsbury for the celebration of the Holy Mass and other sacraments in the Latin Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite. The Parish of Holy Apostles and Martyrs is served from the Parish Church of English Martyrs and Father Philip Moor, the parish priest, will assist at the opening Mass.
The church will become the first in Britain to be entrusted to the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest, a society of Apostolic life of Pontifical Right.
The Celebrant at the Mass, which begins at 10.30am, will be Monsignor Gilles Wach, the French founder of the Institute, and the homily will be preached by the Rt Rev. Mark Davies, the Bishop of Shrewsbury.
People are expected to travel from different parts of the country and some from overseas to the church that the Bishop of Shrewsbury hopes will become a special centre of devotion for people from the immediate area and far beyond.

The Vatican, which has taken an interest in the establishment of the shrine church, has issued the following decree announcing the Papal Blessing and Plenary Indulgence (see notes below) to all the faithful who attend the Mass:

THE APOSTOLIC PENITENTIARY, empowered by a faculty granted to it in a special way by our Holy Father Benedict XVI, by Divine Providence Pope, happily grants his Lordship the Most Reverend Mark Davies, Bishop of Shrewsbury, that, on the 24th March next, on which the pastoral care of the Church of Saints Peter and Paul and St Philomena is solemnly entrusted to the members of the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest, after the offering of the Divine Sacrifice, he may impart to all the faithful present, who, their souls entirely separated from attachment to sin, take part in the sacred mysteries, a Papal Blessing with an attached Plenary Indulgence, which may be gained under the usual conditions (sacramental Confession, Eucharistic Communion and Prayer for the intentions of the Supreme Pontiff).

Those faithful unable for a reasonable cause to be present at the sacred rites may devoutly receive this Papal Blessing and the Plenary Indulgence, according to the norms, if they follow the rites with a pious intention of mind by means of radio or television broadcast.

Nothing to the contrary withstanding.

Given at Rome, from the Apostolic Penitentiary, on 14th February in the year of Our Lord 2012.

This great story brings up an interesting point.

Consider the issue of pearls before swine.

Perhaps Holy Church ought to restrict the granting of indulgences only to those who believe in them.

We know these traditional groups promote the obtaining of indulgences, and many other groups and even parishes and even, dare I say it, dioceses, … how to put it… don’t care.  Even when the Holy See grants indulgences to some groups or places, people don’t seem to care.

So, give them to those who care!

Tongue in cheek, of course.  But not really.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. UncleBlobb says:

    Abbot Radulfus would be pleased.

  2. Ryan M says:

    Perhaps Holy Church ought to restrict the granting of indulgences only to those who believe in them.

    Well, the usual conditions apply, and I suspect that those who disbelieve in indulgences are largely those who disbelieve in the necessity of confession, so at the end of the day I would guess that Holy Mother Church effectively has so restricted them.

  3. Phil_NL says:


    Not so sure if Prior Robert would like a neighbouring church to be so much in the limelight. But I reckon we can be happy if no Benedictine herbalist stumbles upon a corpse…

    (for those who don’t follow: see )

  4. medievalist says:

    The translation of the indulgence (and from the style there must be a Latin original somewhere!) is clearly from the new and improved ICEL :-)

  5. oldcanon2257 says:

    Deo Gratias!!!

    Perhaps H.E. Most Reverend Edward Braxton of the Diocese of Belleville, USA could take similar action and entrust the pastoral care of the St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Mount Carmel, Illinois (to which Fr. William Rowe was formerly assigned) to either FSSP or ICRSS.

    If you don’t know who Fr. Rowe is, please refer to this earlier post from Father Z:

  6. JordanH says:

    I thought that you had to intend to gain an indulgence to get it. So, for example, if you read the bible, take communion, get sacramental confession and say the appropriate prayers on a given day, but didn’t realize this qualified you for an indulgence (possibly partial), you’d get no indulgence. Thus, those who don’t believe in indulgences could never get them.

    I don’t think that those who don’t believe in the power of indulgences don’t necessarily believe in confession. I once told someone about my enthusiasm for participating in The Stations of the Cross during Lent because I could also gain an indulgence and this person looked at me with obvious contempt, although I’m sure this person also went to confession regularly.

    I went through RCIA in 2007 and Indulgences were not mentioned. I know no Catholics personally who attempt to gain indulgences except myself, or if they do, it’s never mentioned. In fairness, this might not be something you talk about much.

    I think a lot of people believe that they are at best a quaint old practice and at worst, actually damaging to the Faith.

  7. acardnal says:

    You may be right about having the intention to merit the indulgence. A priest once told us that after making our Morning Offering we should pray to gain any available indulgence we may have “merited” that day.

  8. acardnal says:

    Above should have read “. . . we may merit that day.”

  9. JordanH says:


    I can’t find anything on this on my quick Google, but it does make sense in that you are required to intend it for yourself or someone you assume is in Purgatory. If you don’t intend it at all, to whom is it assigned?

  10. chantgirl says:

    Praise God! We’re members of St. Francis de Sales Oratory in St. Louis, and I’m excited that the Institute is getting another beautiful church going. The Institute has been helping to get mainstream Catholics to the TLM. It has done wonderful things here and I’m sure will do so in the UK. I’m pretty sure this means that Cardinal Burke will be visiting the UK soon ;)

  11. James Joseph says:

    I believe the late, great Christopher Farley said it best:

    “That is AWESOME!!”

  12. asperges says:

    Shrewsbury is very blessed to have that particular Bishop and now the Institute within his diocese.

    I imagine that those who shut their hearts to indulgences cannot expect to benefit from them. For the rest of us, for the lesser ones, I am sure we can and do profit from them assuming a right disposition without the need to have a ‘card stamped’ by request at each occasion for Heaven to approve them. Those greater and specifically aimed for – ‘advertised’ indulgences: Holy year, Pastoral Visits, for the Holy Souls in November etc – we do need to set our stall out for and fulfil the specific requirements and I don’t think we can just get them passively.

  13. ContraMundum says:

    I thought like JordanH and acardnal on this.

  14. Tradster says:

    Regarding the allowance for the plenary also applying to those unable to attend participating via television or radio. Does anyone know if there will be a feed that may be watched and/or heard over the Internet?

  15. discerningguy says:

    Is this sending a real message? That’s the first thing I thought of when I read this. I’ve never heard of a Papal Blessing and plenary indulgence being granted for the opening (or re-opening, re-dedication, whatever, etc.) of a church. I think the Holy Father is clearly trying to say something.

  16. New Sister says:

    A Bishop appearing on EWTN once advise that we include our intention to gain indulgences in our morning offering. So I changed to an older version which includes, “…O my Jesus, I desire today to gain every indulgence and merit that I can, and I offer them, together with myself, to Mary Immaculate, that she may best apply them to the interests of Thy Most Sacred Heart…”.

  17. acardnal says:


    Here is a list of 70 Plenary and Partial Indulgences granted by the Holy See. Perhaps #66 applies if they are going to consecrate the altar. This list is not all inclusive because I believe some rights are reserved to the Pope such as Jubilee Years. In any event, it is a wonderful list for Fr. Z’s readers!

  18. acardnal says:


    The more I research indulgences, the more convinced I am that one must have the intention to obtain one when performing the indulgenced act. Per my previous post and New Sister’s above, please consider adding a prayer to your Morning Offering/Prayers where you make it known to God that it is your intention to obtain any indulgence this day if you merit them by your works (as listed in the Enchiridion of Indulgences). AND it’s a good idea to go to Confession every TWO weeks, that way you meet the requirement of “eight days before or after the work is performed.” Again, my previous pastor Fr. Fasano in the Diocese of Arlington taught us these things and I am grateful to him.

  19. Batfink says:

    I would have loved to attend this Mass, but I am leading a group to our national Catholic youth Congress in London that day. I wonder if they specifically timed the re-opening to exclude part-time traddies like me who would consider attending TLM with the taint of guitars still echoing … ;-)

    @acardnal – Thanks for the link! Do you know if one has to specifically state each time one wishes the indulgences gained to be applied to the Holy Souls in Purgatory? I prayed years ago that any and all indulgences I gained be given to the Holy Souls and I repeat this intention when I remember but that isn’t every time. Not that I’m trying to reduce God’s mercy to technicalities, but I am just wondering if there is a norm to follow.

    It’s a good idea to go to Confession every two weeks anyway, at least for me :-)

  20. Yorkmum says:

    Batfink – I would love to have attended this Mass too, but I’ll be at the Latin Mass Society Annual pilgrimage in honour of St Margaret Clitherow in York on the same day. It is a real North of England traddie clash!

    Still these things can’t be helped. I have several friends who will be in New Brighton praying for us in York and likewise we in York will be praying for everyone at St PPP’s.

    On another brick by brick note – Two English Bishops will be at Extraordinary Form Masses that day since the Bishop of Middlesbrough Rt Rev Terence Patrick Drainey is presiding at the pilgrimage Mass in York.

  21. irishgirl says:

    This is great news!
    And I’m glad that it’s in the Diocese of Shrewsbury!
    The more I hear about His Excellency, Bishop Mark Davies, the more I like him!

  22. joanofarcfan says:

    I hope they didn’t gut the place first and then hand it over…like in Chicago.

  23. Rachel K says:

    We are so pleased and excited about this- we live within an hour’s drive of New Brighton. I can’t wait to go along with our children to spend some time in adoration (sadly, we are away for the opening Mass). Who knows what good fruits there may be from having this Shrine? Also feeling, once again, very grateful to God for Bishop Davies.

  24. Mightnotbeachristiantou says:

    Does anyone have information of will this be broadcasted on the internet, any non-internet broadcasts, or radio productions.

  25. amsjj1002 says:

    Here’s a link to the full text of Bishop Davies’ sermon, with some video of it:

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