Vatican extends traditional All Saints’ indulgences

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Vatican City – With the COVID-19 pandemic still ongoing and with restrictions on gatherings still in place in some countries, the Vatican has once again extended the period during which people can earn a plenary indulgence to visit a cemetery and pray for souls of the faithful in purgatory.

Cardinal Mauro Piacenza, head of the Apostolic Penitentiary, a Vatican tribunal dealing with matters of conscience, said indulgences traditionally obtained in the first week of November can be obtained throughout the month of November, the Vatican said. Vatican October 28.

The cardinal said he was acting in response to “recent appeals received from various sacred pastors in the church due to the state of the continuing pandemic.”

Traditionally, the faithful could receive a full indulgence each day from November 1 to 8 when they went to a cemetery to pray for the deceased and met other conditions, and, in particular, when they visited a church or church. an oratory for praying. November 2, day of the dead.

Due to the pandemic and the popularity in many cultures of visiting cemeteries on Day of the Dead, some local governments and dioceses have closed cemeteries during the first week of November to avoid overcrowding. This led Cardinal Piacenza to issue a decree in 2020 extending the deadline for indulgences.

The decree for 2021 renewed these provisions.

Indulgences are granted when a Catholic goes to a cemetery to pray for the dead, confesses, attends Mass and receives the Eucharist and prays for the intentions of the Pope.

An indulgence is a remission of the temporal punishment one deserves for his sins; people will often seek indulgence on behalf of a loved one who has passed away or, especially in early November, for an unknown soul in purgatory.

The church teaches that prayer, especially Mass, and sacrifices can be offered on behalf of souls in Purgatory. The Feast of All Souls differs from the Feast of All Saints on November 1 precisely because it offers prayers for eternal peace and heavenly rest for all who have died in a state of grace, but not totally purified.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church says: “All those who die in the grace and friendship of God, but still imperfectly purified, are in fact assured of their eternal salvation; but after death, they undergo purification in order to attain the holiness necessary to enter into the joy of heaven. . “

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