About the Apostolic Pardon given to the dying. Where Fr. Z admonishes you!

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.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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

    Can it be Holy Ghost?

  2. Joe in Canada says:

    It seems that if someone receives this, the Bishop should be notified, so that he can notify Rome to add the newly deceased person to the list of saints.

  3. Cicero_NOLA says:

    Though I don’t really like tattoos in general (especially after the exorcist’s admonition on this blog about cursed ink), I have thought about having a request and the formula tattooed some place visible in case I’m not in compos mentis when the time comes.

    How great for the priest who imparts this beautiful gift, too, to have a saint who literally owes his beatitude to him and can intercede for that priest.

  4. Erik says:

    My step-father recently passed on May 22. My only concern at the time was a priest to give him the last sacraments. He was given anointing of the sick and viaticum two days prior to his passing and the day of his passing, anointing of the sick with the apostolic pardon. Thanks to Fr. Z, I was able to get a hold of a priest to celebrate Gregorian Masses for my stepfather, which to my estimation, finalized on the 25th or 26th of June.

    There was something very miraculous that occured when my father passed and what I can say is that God is good, faithful and true to His promises.

  5. excalibur says:

    Erik, you did well.

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  7. gouletdrg says:

    During seminary formation, it was required for us to memorize the two forms of the Apostolic Pardon and the anointing prayers. My liturgy class, we were instructed that should a blessing prayer not include the Sign of the Cross (i.e. the entire Book of Blessings), do it anyway (If I remember, there is approval from Rome to do this) and add in the trinitarian formula in the end.
    Yes, we were taught to ensure to include the Sacrament of Reconciliation prior to Anointing if the individual is conscience. If they were not, as science has shown that hearing is the last to go, I would say the individuals name, tell them who I am (and which hand or shoulder I am touching) and ask them to recall any sins weighing on them. Then I would proceed with the pardon and anointing. My record was one breath under thirty seconds as the ICU alarms went off when I started.

  8. Ranger01 says:

    Thank you, all you good and holy priests.

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