Two recent email exchanges brought up the importance of the Apostolic Pardon (AP). It is also sometimes called the Apostolic Blessing.
The AP is a special indulgence given by a priest to a person who is dying which remits all temporal punishment due to sins.
The AP does not, itself, forgive sins. The AP should be received in the state of grace. Hence, it is generally imparted after sacramental confession of sins (if possible) and/or the sacrament of anointing, and possibly with Viaticum (final reception of the Eucharist).
If there is no priest available at the time, a person can gain a plenary indulgence at the time of death if they are properly disposed and under the usual conditions. That means you need to be aware of it and be thinking about it when the time comes! That means you have to be thinking about death NOW, not later. NOW. NOW. NOW.
We have to practice dying, in a certain sense, so that we will be good at it when it comes.
With Summorum Pontificum we have also the traditional form of the AP along with two newer forms.
The older, traditional form of the AP:
“Ego facultate mihi ab Apostolica Sede tributa, indulgentiam plenariam et remissionem omnium peccatorum tibi concedo et benedico te. In nomine Patris, et Filii, + et Spirtus Sancti, Amen.”
“By the Faculty which the Apostolic See has given me, I grant you a plenary indulgence and the remission of all your sins, and I bless you. In the Name of the Father and the Son + and the Holy Spirit. Amen.”
Two newer forms:
“Ego facultáte mihi ab Apostólica Sede tribúta, indulgéntiam plenáriam et remissiónem ómnium peccatórum tibi concédo, in nómine Patris, et Fílii, + et Spíritus Sancti. Amen”
“By the authority which the Apostolic See has given me, I grant you a full pardon and the remission of all your sins in the name of the Father, and of the Son, + and of the Holy Spirit.”
“Per sancrosáncta humánæ reparatiónis mystéria, remíttat tibi omnípotens Deus omnes præséntis et futúræ vitæ pœnas, paradísi portas apériat et ad gáudia te sempitérna perdúcat. Amen.”
“Through the holy mysteries of our redemption, may almighty God release you from all punishments in this life and in the life to come. May He open to you the gates of paradise and welcome you to everlasting joy.”
Frankly, that last one seems … meh… let’s just say that the sign of the Cross is important.
Some people have taken it upon themselves to print up cards with the AP along with a statement like, “I am Catholic. Please call a priest.”, or words to that effect.
Finally, it is amazing that there are priests who to not know about this.