ASK FATHER: The usual requirements for gaining indulgences

From a reader…


Do all indulgenced works (eg visiting the Bl Sacrament for 30 mins) carry with them the three usual requirements (Communion, Confession & prayer for the Pope’s intentions)?

In the Norms for gaining indulgences in the Enchiridion Indulgentiarum we read that (my emphases):

23 a. Beside the exclusion of all attachment to sin, even venial sin, the requirements for gaining a plenary indulgence are the performance of the indulgenced work and fulfillment of three conditions: sacramental confession, eucharistic communion, and prayer for the pope’s intentions.
b. Several ?plenary? indulgences may be gained on the basis of a single sacramental confession; only one may be gained, however, on the basis of a single Eucharistic communion and prayer for the pope’s intentions.
c. The three conditions may be carried out several days preceding or following performance of the prescribed work. But it is more fitting that the communion and the prayer for the pope’s intentions take place on the day the work is performed.
d. If a person is not fully disposed or if the prescribed work and the three mentioned conditions are not fulfilled, the indulgence will only be partial; the prescriptions in N. 27 and N. 28 for those impeded are exceptions.
e. The condition requiring prayer for the pope’s intentions is satisfied by reciting once the Our Father and Hail Mary for his intentions; nevertheless all the faithful have the option of reciting any other prayer suited to their own piety and devotion.

I hope that helps.


About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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One Comment

  1. Ave Crux says:

    Father Z., I have read in several places that monthly Confession fulfills the obligation of the Sacramental Confession required if one wishes to obtain a plenary indulgence each day in conjunction with a prescribed work, such reciting the Rosary in common with one’s family, or even alone before the Blessed Sacrament, etc.

    Apparently it has been clarified by the Vatican that “several” can mean up to 20 days before or after the prescribed work. So I try to go – at the very least – once a month to Confession for this reason, if not more frequently for the grace it provides.

    Here is a link on the Vatican website which explains that. This was something I was never clear on until I researched it, so I wondered if it might be helpful to others:

    I assume we are safe in following these guidelines?

    [The Sacra Penitenzieria Apostolica – the highest authority under the Pope for indulgences, in a document at the time of the 2000 Jubilee, The Gift of Indulgence, says 20 days before or after the indulgenced work. After the Jubilee was concluded the SPA confirmed in an answer to a dubiun that the 20 days remains the norm.]

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