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A Plenary Indulgence is granted to the faithful
this year on 8 December,
Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary,
the 40th anniversary of the closure of the Second Vatican Council,
by the Supreme Pontiff, Servant of God Paul VI.


God's marvellous and beneficial works for his People must always be remembered with thanksgiving, especially on those feast days that are anniversaries of events most important to the life of the Church.

The eighth of December, Holyday of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, is now at hand. On that day it will be 40 years since the Servant of God Paul VI, the Supreme Pontiff who had already proclaimed the Virgin Mary as Mother of the Church, in closing the Second Vatican Council, highly praised Our Lady, who as Mother of Christ is Mother of God and the spiritual Mother of us all.

On this Solemnity, when the Supreme Pontiff Benedict XVI will be paying a public tribute of praise to the Immaculate Virgin, he deeply desires that the heart of the whole Church be united with him so that all the faithful, gathered in the name of our common Mother, may be further strengthened in the Faith, bound with greater devotion to Christ, and love their brothers and sisters with more fervent charity:  as the Second Vatican Council taught with great wisdom, this results in works of mercy for the indigent, the observance of justice, and the defence and search for peace.

Therefore, the Holy Father, who has very much at heart that the love and trust of the faithful towards the Virgin Mother of God be increased and that their lives, with the help and example of her holiness, be faithfully conformed to the wise teachings of the Second Vatican Council, in hierarchical communion with himself and with his Bishops, has benevolently granted the gift of the Plenary Indulgence.

On the upcoming Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception, the faithful may obtain this Indulgence on the usual conditions (sacramental Confession, Eucharistic Communion and prayer for the intentions of the Supreme Pontiff), in a spirit that is completely detached from affection for any sin, if they participate in a sacred rite in its honour or at least offer an open witness of Marian devotion before an image of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception, displayed for public veneration, adding the recitation of the Our Father and the Creed and exclamatory invocations to Mary Immaculate, such as "You are All Fair, Mary, and in you there is no stain of original sin!", or "O Queen, conceived without original sin, pray for us!".

Lastly, all the faithful who are prevented from participation by ill health or by another just cause, may obtain on that same day the same gift of the Plenary Indulgence at home or wherever they may be, as long as, with their minds detached from any sin and with the resolution to fulfil the above-mentioned conditions as soon as possible, they are united with spiritual resolve and desire with the intentions of the Supreme Pontiff in prayer to Mary Immaculate and recite the Our Father and the Creed.

The present Decree comes into effect only for this occasion. Notwithstanding anything to the contrary.

Given in Rome, at the Offices of the Apostolic Penitentiary, 18 November 2005, on the Dedication of the Basilicas of the Apostles Sts Peter and Paul

Cardinal James Francis Stafford
Major Penitentiary

Gianfranco Girotti, O.F.M. Conv.