November 1st is here and today is the Solemnity of All Saints, and a Holy Day of Obligation. It is also the first day of the eight days of gaining a Plenary Indulgence each of those eight days for the Poor Souls in Purgatory by visiting a cemetery. You can gain a Plenary Indulgence each of these eight days (Under the Usual Conditions) for the Poor Souls. But what is the whole Under the Usual Conditions thing mean? Well, it means this….
How many times have you heard, “You may gain a plenary indulgence under the usual conditions?”
But first, what is an ‘indulgence’?
According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, “An indulgence is “the remission before God of the temporal punishment due for 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.
There are two types of indulgences: plenary and partial.
- A plenary indulgence frees a soul from all of the temporal
punishment due to its sins.
- A partial indulgence frees a soul from some of the temporal
punishment due to its sins.
But what is temporal punishment due to sins? Temporal punishment is a ‘penalty imposed’ on us, either on earth or in Purgatory, where we must satisfy a debt that we owe to God for our sins.
A catechism teacher once gave a simplistic example of forgiveness with temporal punishment due. An older boy was told by his father to not throw a baseball toward the house, but the boy did it anyway and broke a window out. When the boy showed how sorry he was and apologized – the father forgave him for disobeying and for breaking the window. However, the father then imposed a penalty on him. The child would have to pay for the repair of the window.
Likewise, to gain a plenary indulgence, certain conditions are required. Those conditions are what is necessary for the ‘under the usual conditions’ part. The conditions to gain a plenary indulgence are:
- You must be in a state of grace, meaning you must receive
the sacrament of confession within twenty days of the work
(several plenary indulgences may be earned per one saramental
- Receive Eucharistic communion (one plenary indulgence
may be earned per reception of the Eucharist)
- Pray for the pope’s intentions (an Our Father, Hail Mary,
Glory Be or other appropriate prayer)
- Have NO attachment to sin (not even venial). In other words,
make a complete act of your will to be attached to no sin for the
intention of gaining the indulgence.
- Do the work. You could use any one of these four works;
- Adoring the Blessed Sacrament for at least thirty minutes.
- Devoutly reading Sacred Scripture for at least thirty minutes.
- Devoutly performing the Stations of the Cross.
- Reciting the Rosary with members of the family, or in a church, oratory, religious community association.