ACTION ITEM! All Souls’ Day Indulgences.

From the Handbook of Indulgences

Visiting a Church or an Oratory on All Souls Day

A plenary (“full”) indulgence, which is applicable only to the souls in Purgatory is granted to the Christian faithful who devoutly visit a church or an oratory on (November 2nd,) All Souls Day.

Will you not, for love, try to gain these indulgences?  Make a plan.

Requirements for Obtaining a Plenary Indulgence on All Souls Day (2 Nov)

  • Visit a church and pray for souls in Purgatory
  • Say one “Our Father” and the “Apostles Creed” in the visit to the church
  • Say one “Our Father” and one “Hail Mary” for the Holy Father’s intentions (that is, the intentions designated by the Holy Father each month)
  • Worthily receive Holy Communion (ideally on the same day if you can get to Mass)
  • Make a sacramental confession within 20 days of All Souls Day
  • For a plenary indulgence be  free from all attachment to sin, even venial sin (otherwise, the indulgence is partial, not plenary, “full”).

You can acquire one plenary indulgence a day.

A partial indulgence can be obtained by visiting a cemetery and praying for the departed.  You can gain a plenary indulgence visiting a cemetery each day between 1 November and 8 November. These indulgences are applicable only to the Souls in Purgatory.

A plenary indulgence, applicable only the Souls in Purgatory, is also granted when you visit a church or a public oratory on 2 November. While visiting the church or oratory say one Our Father and the Apostles Creed.

A partial indulgence, applicable only to the Souls in Purgatory, can be obtained when saying the “Eternal rest … Requiem aeternam…” prayer.

Do you know this prayer?

Requiem aeternam dona ei [pl.eis], Domine, et lux perpetua luceat ei [eis]. Requiescat [-ant] in pace Amen.Eternal rest grant to them, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them. May the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen.

It is customary to add the second half of the “Eternal Rest” prayer after the prayer recited at the conclusion of a meal.

Gratias agimus tibi, omnipotens Deus, pro universis beneficiis tuis, qui vivis et regnas in saecula saeculorum.

Fidelium animae, per misericordiam Dei, requiescant in pace. Amen.

We give Thee thanks, almighty God, for all Thy benefits, Who livest and reignest, world without end.

May the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen.

My friend Fr. Finigan has a good explanation of being detached from sin and the disposition you need to gain indulgences.  HERE

Keep in mind that having high standards is a good thing.

Shouldn’t we be free from attachment to sin?  To what degree is being attached to sin okay?

In the final analysis, perhaps we have to admit that gaining plenary indulgences is rarer than we would like.

That said, it is not impossible to gain them.

I don’t think we have to be a hermit living on top of a tree beating his head with a rock to be free of attachment to sin so as to gain this plenary or “full” indulgence.

Also, we do not know the degree to which a “partial” indulgence is “partial”.  It could be a lot.  That in itself is something which should spur us on!

Generally, if someone is motivated to obtain an indulgence, he does so from true piety, desire to please God and to help oneself and others.

When it comes to complete detachment from sin, even venial, few of us live in that state all the time.

Nevertheless, there are times when we have been moved to sorrow for sin after examination of conscience, perhaps after an encounter with God as mystery in liturgical worship or in the presence of human suffering, that we come to a present horror and shame of sin that moves us to reject sin entirely.  That doesn’t mean that we, in some Pelagian sense, have chosen to remain perfect from that point on or that by force of will we can chosen never to sin again.  God is helping us with graces at that point, of course.  But we do remain frail and weak.

But God reads our hearts.

Holy Church offers us many opportunities for indulgences.  The presupposition is that Holy Church knows we can actually attain them.

They can be partial (and we don’t know to what extent that is) and full or plenary.  But they can be obtained by the faithful.

Holy Church is a good mother.  She wouldn’t dangle before our eyes something that is impossible for us to attain.

That doesn’t mean that a full indulgence is an easy thing.  It does mean that we can do it.  In fact, beatifications and canonizations have been more common in the last few decades and in previous centuries.  The Church is showing us that it is possible for ordinary people to live a life of heroic virtue.

Therefore, keep your eyes fixed on the prize of indulgences.   Never think that it is useless to try to get any indulgence, partial or full, just because

Perhaps you are not sure you can attain complete detachment from all sin, even venial.  Before you perform the indulgenced work, ask God explicitly to take away any affection for sin you might be treasuring.  Do this often and, over your lifetime, and you may find it easier and easier. Support your good project with good confessions and good communions.  You need those graces.

A person does not become expert in worldly pursuits overnight or without effort.  Why would not the same apply to spiritual pursuits? It takes time and practice to develop skills and virtues.  It takes time to develop habits of the spirit as well.

We can do this.  And when we fall short, we still have the joy of obtaining the partial indulgence and that’s not nothing.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in "How To..." - Practical Notes, ACTION ITEM!, GO TO CONFESSION, Hard-Identity Catholicism, Liturgy Science Theatre 3000 and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. APX says:

    Does it still apply to the 2nd even though the feast day is transferred this year?

  2. Supertradmum says:

    In Malta, the acting “titular” bishop has proclaimed that all the priests may celebrate All Soul’s Day in place of the usual Sunday Mass and, in fact, this acting administrator, Mgr Charles J. Scicluna, will be saying the Mass for All Soul’s Day at the Co-Cathedral on Sunday.

    Fr. Z, thanks for the reminders and the link to Fr.Tim’s site.

  3. Chris Garton-Zavesky says:

    On the venerable calendar, November 2nd is still All Souls’ Day this year, but the liturgical celebration won’t occur until November 3rd. Does this impact the days available for the plenary indulgence?

    On the adolescent calendar, November 2nd is the liturgical celebration of All Souls’ Day, so can one gain the plenary indulgence merely by assisting at a regularly scheduled Sunday Mass — providing all the other conditions are met? Come to think of it, since the new calendar allows each week to have a Vigil, could one go to Mass on Saturday, gain the plenary indulgence, and then skip Mass on Sunday completely?

  4. anniemw says:

    Wow – considering that, barring sickness, war, etc., all of us will attend Mass on Sunday, this opportunity is practically being dropped in our laps! We can do a great deal of spiritual good. Praise God! annie

  5. Spade says:

    I had to go back to Father’s post from earlier in the month on the Pope’s intentions so I figured it would be value added here:

    Lonely people. That all who suffer loneliness may experience the closeness of God and the support of others.
    Mentors of seminarians and religious. That young seminarians and religious may have wise and well-formed mentors.

  6. Liam says:

    How would the indulgence work this year since there are seemingly two dates (November 2 & 3) for All Souls’ Day depending upon which liturgical books are being used?

  7. Mike Morrow says:

    This has always been for me an extremely important event on the Church’s liturgical calendar. However, it will never seem quite natural to celebrate “The Commemoration of All the Faithful Departed” on a Sunday.

  8. Though I sometimes feel a bit wary of what some have dubbed the “canonization-factory” of recent pontificates, I also wonder if a greater number of canonizations in recent history has been thanks to a new emphasis on receiving the Eucharist more frequently. As Fr. Z rightly reminds us, receiving communion is not a requirement for attending Mass; but, if one is in the state of grace and receives it frequently, it would seem that one would be provided with greater opportunities for growth in sanctity.

  9. Austin Catholics says:

    This stuff is an example of the worst of Catholicism. Specific date and practice rules for indulgences? How is this different from superstition? Throwing salt over your shoulder for good luck or knocking on wood? Mentioning this stuff just gives ammunition to the Church-haters out there who criticize the Church for being stuck in the past.

    I’m 51 years old and have been attending Mass on Sundays my whole life and I never even HEARD of indulgences until a few years ago. Or if I did I certainly don’t remember. They are never mentioned at Mass or in the bulletin. And for good reason. A focus on indulgences makes it look like Holy Mother Church is going backwards to the Middle Ages.

    What’s next? Astrological signs as a means of determining a person’s character? I can only roll my eyes.

    [And I, frankly, must squint my eyes at this deeply stingy comment. You have never heard of indulgences until a few years ago. I suppose that make them irrelevant, pointless for everyone else, you being the arbiter of how Holy Catholic Church makes the most of the merits of Christ and the saints. Good grief. Until just a few years ago? Well! That’s settles it! How about you spend some time with the Catechism of the Catholic Church, get up to speed, and then maybe think about posting a comment on indulgences.]

  10. rcg says:

    Thank you for this post! Wife asked for the link so we may get another lurker.

  11. VexillaRegis says:

    Our pastor has made plenty of announcements of these indulgencies and I forsee a confessional line tomorrow before Mass :-).

    BTW, Fr Z, may we have a new YUPRS? The old one has expired.

  12. The Masked Chicken says:

    “I don’t think we have to be a hermit living on top of a tree beating his head with a rock to be free of attachment to sin so as to gain this plenary or “full” indulgence.”

    Wouldn’t beating his head with a rock be attempted suicide and a mortal sin?

    The Chicken

  13. Giuseppe says:

    Gotta love a “Reformation Day” post on Indulgences.
    Will a Sunday 11/2 EF mass count for the All Souls indulgence, even if the All Souls is transferred to Monday 11/3?
    NYC church closures announced this weekend, btw.

  14. Polycarpio says:

    In the law, we have this concept: a “closed class.” For example, if you say, “the children of Person X,” that group remains an “open class” while Mr. X is alive, but becomes a “closed class”–no more admitted–when Mr. X dies.

    When we say “Requiem aeternam dona eis”, who is the “eis”? Is it a closed class–well defined and exclusive, or is it more or less contingent on the occasion. For example, when the prayer is offered, are we free to think to ourselves of our departed loved ones without regard to whether they can be regarded among the “fidelibus defunctis”, or do we need to worry about that definition and who is in the group and who is not? For example, if you have a relative who was a mafioso or something, should you dare to include them in your intentions in relation to this prayer, or does the phrase imply some exclusion?

  15. Rachel K says:

    I like this opportunity very much. It’s a chance to do something spiritually very good.
    What I wonder often is, can you apply the indulgence to a particular person in Purgatory? A friend or relative? Or is that left to Almighty God to decide where it is applied?

  16. acricketchirps says:

    To turn around Joe’s question, will those attending 21st Sunday after Pentecost Mass receive the indulgence if they fulfill the requirements on Monday?

    [Don’t overly complicate this.]

  17. MarkJ says:

    Since All Souls’ Day is November 2 in the OF calendar and November 3 in the EF calendar, can we gain the All Souls’ Day Indulgence on both days this year?

    [I suppose you could!]

  18. Cantor says:

    Rachel K – Almost the same question I have. But wonder if we could pray for the indulgence to apply to the person longest in Purgatory who has nobody to pray for him/her.

  19. Giuseppe says:

    Rachel K, you can always pray for a specific person and ask that God apply your prayers toward someone. God will decide. He’s pretty good at that.

    Cantor, a beautiful thought: praying for the longest resident of purgatory. There is no restriction on what good things we can ask of God. It is up to Him to figure out how to apply His mercy.

    Polycarpio, you can pray for the soul of anyone. There is no way that praying for the soul of a public sinner can be bad. None of us know the relationship between a public sinner’s soul and God. Christ welcomed an executed criminal into paradise on Calvary. Death row.

  20. Giuseppe says:

    And Rachel, Cantor, and Polycarpio: technically, one cannot apply an indulgence to the deceased. I don’t think the Church has any jurisdiction over the dead: only God does. But I cannot imagine that prayers for someone while obtaining an indulgence would be looked upon negatively by God.

  21. Gerard Plourde says:


    Your information about Malta is interesting. Here in the US the Mass of All Souls is the prescribed Mass for Sunday in the Ordinary Form.

  22. KateD says:

    What is the prayer that releases 1,000 souls from Purgatory each day you pray it? Is it the Eternal Rest?

  23. KateD says:

    I found it.

    Our Lord told St. Gertrude the Great, that the following prayer would release 1,000 souls from Purgatory each time it is said. The prayer was extended to include living sinners which would alleviate the indebtedness accrued to them during their lives.

    Eternal Father,
    I offer Thee the Most Precious Blood of Thy Divine Son, Jesus,
    in union with the Masses said throughout the world today,
    for all the Holy Souls in Purgatory,
    for sinners everywhere,
    for sinners in the Universal Church,
    those in my own home and within my family.

    1,000 souls just went to Heaven!

  24. Grumpy Beggar says:

    It’s all GOOD when we pray for the holy souls in Purgatory.

    (I believe that comments which, on the surface, might appear uncharitable in nature towards the holy souls are probably more a result of bad catechesis – To concede a half-point (squintingly) we don’t hear mention of Purgatory in every parish as we should – so we admit those same circumstances are definitely not conducive to the mention of indulgences). Yet the souls in Purgatory are mentioned in the commemoration portion of the Eucharistic prayer of every single Mass we celebrate. They don’t mention the word “Purgatory” unfortunately, but it is definitely the souls in Purgatory whom we are praying for. When we ask God to remember those who have died, we are indeed praying for the souls in Purgatory : Those who already participate in the beatific vision, no longer need our prayers ; anyone in Hell would not want our prayers .

    To wonder if one can pray for a particular family member or for a soul considered the longest in Purgatory, is a beautiful thing – which I believe expresses the very essence of prayer for the holy souls : If we are mindful of one soul in particular , then logically, our Blessed Lord has been mindful of that particular soul’s purgation long before we were. It could well be that He has only been waiting for our prayer to move His Mercy. When praying for the holy souls in a group (particularly during recitation of the Rosary) a common intention I hear mentioned is “. . . especially the most desolate ones.” On occasion I might add ,”. . . those souls in Purgatory who have no one to pray for them.”

    God gives us His own power – to release souls from temporal punishment due to sin ! That is awesome any way you look at it. I’m reminded of the prayer the presider says quietly as he mingles a little bit of water with the wine which is to be consecrated: “By the mystery of this water and wine, may we come to share in the divinity of Christ who humbled himself to share in our humanity.”

    Indulgences are not something from the middle ages- they are central to our faith (they just don’t get explained that well too much of the time [sigh] ).

    The prayer for the eighth day of the Novena to the Divine Mercy , begins with a quote from our Blessed Lord recorded in the Diary of St. Faustina Kowalska [ 1226] :

    ” ‘Today bring to Me the souls who are in the prison of Purgatory, and immerse them in the abyss of My mercy. Let the torrents of My Blood cool down their scorching flames. All these souls are greatly loved by Me. They are making retribution to My justice. It is in your power to bring them relief. Draw all the indulgences from the treasury of My Church and offer them on their behalf. Oh, if you only knew the torments they suffer, you would continually offer for them the alms of the spirit and pay off their debt to My justice.’ ”

    This ensuing excerpt from her diary [20] – of St. Faustina’s own account of the event in her life where her Guardian Angel brought her visit to Purgatory, might inspire us a little to get into the mood; into the spirit of these indulgences for the holy souls:

    “Shortly after this, I fell ill [general exhaustion]. The dear Mother Superior sent me with two other sisters for a rest to Skolimow, not far from Warsaw. It was at that time that I asked the Lord for whom else should I pray for. Jesus said that on the following night He would let me know for whom I should pray.
    [The next night] I saw my Guardian Angel, who ordered me to follow him. In a moment I was in a misty place full of fire in which there was a great crowd of suffering souls. They were praying fervently, but to no avail, for themselves; only we can come to their aid. The flames which were burning them did not touch me at all. My Guardian Angel did not leave me for an instant. I asked these souls what their greatest suffering was. They answered me in one voice that their greatest torment was longing for God. I saw Our Lady visiting the souls in Purgatory. The souls call Her ‘The Star of the Sea.’ She brings them refreshment. I wanted to talk with them some more, but my Guardian Angel beckoned me to leave. We went out of that prison of suffering. (I heard an interior voice which said) ‘My Mercy does not want this but justice demands it.’ Since that time, I am in closer communion with the suffering souls.”
    [Saint Faustina, Divine Mercy in My Soul, Diary, 20]

    If one is intent on gaining a plenary indulgence for the holy souls, but unsure whether they can make it to a cemetery for a visit within the prescribed time frame, the Handbook of Indulgences, Norms and Grants ( © 1991 Catholic Book Publishing Company ) offers some alternative ways/works to gain a plenary indulgence-corresponding and subject to the conditions required (which one could then offer to our Lord for the holy souls):
    -adoration of the Blessed Sacrament for at least one half hour
    – devout reading of Sacred Scripture for at least one half hour
    – the devout performance of the Stations of the Cross
    – the recitation of the Marian Rosary in a church or oratory. with members of the family,in a religious Community, or in a pious association.

    What really makes the visit to the cemetery special, is that it is the only indulgence we can’t gain for ourselves – it can only be applied to the holy souls in Purgatory . . . which is about as selfless as it gets. Oh, and are we so aloof as to imagine that those souls would not intercede for us in turn ?

    I try to visit a cemetery and pray for the holy souls several times a week- all year long. I’m confident that even a partial indulgence gained for a soul in Purgatory can release some – if we specifically ask that of Our Lord. After all, how do we differentiate between a plenary and partial indulgence ? According to the same handbook (p 19 Norms For Indulgences , 2.) “An indulgence is either plenary or partial, that is, it frees a person either from all or from some of the temporal punishment due to sins.”
    So let’s reflect a moment. basically , every soul in Purgatory has already served “some” of their temporal punishment due to sin . . . right ? And I’m not afraid at all to plead the case in precisely this manner before our Blessed Lord on behalf of the holy souls while praying for them at the cemetery.

    Indulgences are not something from the middle-ages: They are tied into every single penance we perform, particularly, on a personal level to those penances given to us when we receive the sacrament of Reconciliation.

    This being the month for the holy souls and all, maybe Father Z might be able to find the time to bless us with a post concerning the impartation of the Apostolic blessing in the Anointing of the Sick.

  25. robtbrown says:

    Polycarpio says:

    In the law, we have this concept: a “closed class.” For example, if you say, “the children of Person X,” that group remains an “open class” while Mr. X is alive, but becomes a “closed class”–no more admitted–when Mr. X dies.

    It’s tangential to the subject at hand, but that particular class is no longer closed upon the death of the father.

    When we say “Requiem aeternam dona eis”, who is the “eis”? Is it a closed class–well defined and exclusive, or is it more or less contingent on the occasion. For example, when the prayer is offered, are we free to think to ourselves of our departed loved ones without regard to whether they can be regarded among the “fidelibus defunctis”, or do we need to worry about that definition and who is in the group and who is not? For example, if you have a relative who was a mafioso or something, should you dare to include them in your intentions in relation to this prayer, or does the phrase imply some exclusion?

    The identities of those in Purgatory are known only to God. We might think certain people didn’t make, when in fact they did. And vice versa.

    What about praying for someone who we think is in Purgatory but in fact was condemned? There is no dead letter office of indulgences.

  26. robtbrown says:

    Giuseppe says:
    And Rachel, Cantor, and Polycarpio: technically, one cannot apply an indulgence to the deceased. I don’t think the Church has any jurisdiction over the dead: only God does. But I cannot imagine that prayers for someone while obtaining an indulgence would be looked upon negatively by God.

    Where did you get that idea?

  27. acardnal says:

    Susan Tassone has written many, MANY books on Purgatory and praying for the souls in Purgatory and how indulgences are involved. I particularly recommend Praying with the Saints for the Holy Souls in Purgatory. Her new book with quotations from the Popes, saints, scripture and Fathers of the Church is entitled Day by Day for the Holy Souls in Purgatory.

  28. Kathleen10 says:

    Austin Catholic, please let me add that it is not in our faith’s best interest to be so overly concerned with what others think or say about us. We would do a lot better to be knowledgeable and confident about the practices of Catholicism and fret less about the opinion of unbelievers, inside or outside of the church. In every age there are people who will find something to dislike about Catholicism. If we let those people hinder us we will never rest.
    I have personally found great comfort in the practice of plenary indulgence applied to the loved ones I have lost who may be in purgatory. From what I have heard God has a way of acting on what we do in a sincere effort to please him. If there is anything I can do to help my loved ones, or other souls in purgatory I want to do it.

  29. Mike_in_Kenner says:

    May I recommend going through Fr. Z’s link to Amazon and buying the Manual of Indulgences? You can get the 2006 USCCB translation from the 1999 Latin 4th edition, which is the current set of norms and grants. Many questions asked in posts above are answered in the Manual of Indulgences.

    Some particular points raised in previous posts:

    “Grant 29–For the Faithful Departed: Section 1: A plenary indulgence, applicable only to the souls in purgatory, is granted to the faithful who, (1) on any and each day from November 1 to 8, devoutly visit a cemetery and pray, if only mentally, for the departed; (2) on All Souls’ Day (or, according to the judgment of the ordinary, on the Sunday preceding or following it, or on the solemnity of All Saints), devoutly visit a church or an oratory and recite an Our Father and the Creed.” [Section 2 explains partial indulgences for the souls in purgatory.]

    The Norms on Indulgences (in the same book) explain:

    “Norm 13. If a liturgical celebration or its external solemnity is lawfully transferred, it is understood that an indulgence attached to that liturgical celebration is likewise transferred to the same day.”

    “Norm 14. If a visit to a Church or an oratory is required to obtain an indulgence attached to a particular day, this may be accomplished from noon of the preceding day until midnight of the particular day.”

    “Norm 19. The work prescribed for acquiring a plenary indulgence connected with a church or oratory consists of a devout visit during which an Our Father and the Creed are recited, unless other directives have been laid down.”

    “Norm 20. [Explaining the 3 usual conditions for a plenary indulgence] … Section 3. The three conditions may be fulfilled several days before or after the performance of the prescribed work; it is, however, fitting that Communion be received and the prayer for the intention of the Holy Father be said on the same day the work is performed.”

    Go through Fr. Z’s link to Amazon and buy the Manual of Indulgences! It’s great!

  30. acardnal says:

    Guiseppe, Austin Catholic: Read CCC 1471 – ff.

    “An indulgence is a remission before God of the temporal punishment due to sins whose guilt has already been forgiven, which the faithful Christian who is duly disposed gains under certain prescribed conditions through the action of the Church which, as the minister of redemption, dispenses and applies with authority the treasury of the satisfactions of Christ and the saints.”

    “An indulgence is partial or plenary according as it removes either part or all of the temporal punishment due to sin.” The faithful can gain indulgences for themselves or apply them to the dead.

    All sin requires satisfaction – even forgiven sin. That is justice. An indulgence is a remission of punishment for sin which has already been forgiven. The souls in Purgatory cannot pray or offer sacrifices for themselves but we in the Church Militant can. That is a teaching of the Church because it is God’s revelation as found in Sacred Scripture and sacred Tradition.

    You might want to read Pope Benedict XVI’s encyclical, Spe Salvi. In it he wrote,

    “Grace does not cancel out justice. It does not make wrong into right. It is not a sponge which wipes everything away, so that whatever someone has done on earth ends up being of equal value. . . . . Evildoers, in the end, do not sit at table at the eternal banquet beside their victims without distinction, as though nothing had happened. ” (para 44)

    “[t]hat no man is an island, entire of itself. Our lives are involved with one another, through innumerable interactions they are linked together. No one lives alone. No one sins alone. No one is saved alone. The lives of others continually spill over into mine: in what I think, say, do and achieve. And conversely, my life spills over into that of others: for better and for worse. So my prayer for another is not something extraneous to that person, something external, not even after death. In the interconnectedness of Being, my gratitude to the other—my prayer for him—can play a small part in his purification. ” (para 48)

  31. Gerard Plourde says:

    Dear robtbrown,

    “What about praying for someone who we think is in Purgatory but in fact was condemned? There is no dead letter office of indulgences.”

    You raise an interesting point, especially by your very cogent comment that there is no dead letter office of indulgences. Because we experience things in time we have no real way of knowing what out prayers do in the reality that is eternity. Is it possible that our prayers of intersession for a person, through God’s power, can actually work to supply grace in the person’s lifetime to help them avoid a sin or to perhaps to allow them to humbly repent of sin at the hour of death? We are certainly enjoined to pray for the dead, and because Catholic theology has always taught that we in this life cannot know the eternal fate of anyone (I remember being told that we must even hold out hope for Judas, that perhaps in his final breath he repented and may have been saved) perhaps God makes out prayers efficacious in ways we can scarcely comprehend.

  32. The Masked Chicken says:

    “And Rachel, Cantor, and Polycarpio: technically, one cannot apply an indulgence to the deceased. I don’t think the Church has any jurisdiction over the dead: only God does. But I cannot imagine that prayers for someone while obtaining an indulgence would be looked upon negatively by God.”

    The Church has no jurisdiction over the dead, but it does have jurisdiction over its assets, one of which is the Deposit of Merits. It can give them to whomever it wishes. The dead, of course, can scarcely refuse them.

    The Chicken

  33. The Masked Chicken says:

    Another good (but somewhat terrifying) older book on purgatory is the classic by Fr. F.X. Schouppe, S.J., Purgatory – Explained.

    The Chicken

  34. amsjj1002 says:

    I appreciated Schouppe’s book as well as Hungry Souls: Supernatural Visits, Messages, and Warnings from Purgatory / Gerard J.M. van den Aardweg.

  35. Grumpy Beggar says:

    From : Modern Catholic Dictionary, Fr. John Hardon, S.J.

    INDULGENCE. “The remission before God of the temporal punishment due to sins forgiven as far as their guilt is concerned, which the follower of Christ with the proper dispositions and under certain determined conditions acquires through the intervention of the Church, which, as minister of the redemption, authoritatively dispenses and applies the treasury of the satisfaction won by Christ and the saints” (Pope Paul VI, Apostolic Constitution on Indulgences).

    As originally understood, an indulgence was a mitigation of the severe canonical penances imposed on the faithful for grave sins. The term “indulgence” remained, however, even after these extreme penalties were discontinued. Yet until the Second Vatican Council, the norm for determining the effectiveness of an indulgenced practice was its relationship to the ancient canonical penances, as seen in the numbers, so many years or so many days, attached to every official listing of partial indulgences.

    All this was changed by Pope Paul VI. From now on the measure of how efficacious an indulgenced work is depends on two things: the supernatural charity with which the indulgenced task is done, and the perfection of the task itself.

    Another innovation is that partial and plenary indulgences can always be applied to the dead by way of suffrage, asking God to remit their sufferings if they are still in purgatory.

  36. VexillaRegis says:

    May I, please?

    Here’s some inspiration for gaining indulgencies on All souls Day: When the saints go marching in, oh I want to be in that number!
    Mahalia Jackson and the marvellous pianist Mildred Falls

  37. Rachel K says:

    Thank you all for your helpful and erudite comments.
    acardnal, I have the Susan Tassone booke but had forgotten about it. One year I read it each day as a daily exercise through November for the Holy Souls.
    I do take my children to cemeteries to pray, often in November, especially that first week, and on and off through the year. If we have cause to pass through or by a cemetery I take the opportunity to talk to them about Purgatory etc. I teach them to pray for the Holy Souls and often remind them that some have no-one to pray for them.
    I want them to have no fear of these places or this topic as modern thinking people so often seem to have.
    I feel sure in myself that God uses all our efforts at prayer and trying to get indulgences for the Holy Souls, even when they are far from perfect. I did once have a particular person in mind when gaining the indulgence for Divine Mercy Sunday and asked God to apply it to her if it was in conformity with His Will. A wise friend said it was ok to do this and if it was not needed for her or if God wanted otherwise, it would be applied to someone else in need. I left it in God’s hands.

  38. LeeF says:

    I hope that Austin Catholic takes Father’s advice to read the Catechism and especially pays attention to the sections not only on purgatory and indulgences, but also the 3 parts of the Body of Christ and how they interact with each other, and how the Church interacts with them. Sometimes those doctrines can get drowned out by the “we are the Body of Christ” songs and drivel of the Fishwrap crowd and other soft-peddlers of the full Deposit of the Faith.

  39. Kathleen10 says:

    Sing it Mahalia!

  40. KateD says:

    Polycarpio and robtbrown – I’m sure God ascertains the intentions behind the gifts (prayers) we send up to Heaven and then uses those prayers in a way that best benefits His Kingdom.

  41. suikojay says:

    @KateD: Please be careful of your sources for information. From what I understand (according to this EWTN document: ), the “real” St. Gertrude prayer that appears to be approved goes like this: “Eternal Father, I offer Thee the most Precious Blood of Jesus, with all the Masses being said all over the world this day, for the Souls in Purgatory. ” ~ this prayer actually has the approval of: “HIS EMINENCE THE CARDINAL PATRIARCH OF LISBON” in March 4, 1936.
    And what it’s actually said about this prayer is that “Our Lord showed St. Gertrude a vast number of souls leaving Purgatory and going to Heaven as a result of this prayer, which the Saint was accustomed to say frequently during the day.” ~ It doesn’t say anything about a specific number of souls being released; I think that superstitious belief was later added. And when u think about it, too, it’s like gaining 1,000 plenary indulgences with a 10 second prayer, and that’s just impossible when one stops and thinks about it. The Church only allows for 1 plenary per day.

    Speaking of specific numbers being released, from what I understand, Pope Leo XIII actually had sent out a general Decree (thru the Acts of the Holy See) basically stating, “Promises to free one or more souls from Purgatory by the recitation of some prayer is prohibited by the Church”. This prohibition reminds me of the fact of why the specific amount of days and years were abolished for partial indulgences; Only God knows how efficacious a prayer is, we can’t attach a number to how many souls are saved or how many days of suffering have been reduced for a Holy Soul in purgatory by any particular work.


    Oh, and thx a bunch Fr. Z for blogging about this! :)

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