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by which a Plenary Indulgence is granted to members of the faithful who, on the occasion of the "Sixth World Meeting of Families", make the pilgrimage to Mexico City or pray at home with the family for the same spiritual intentions.

Since the family is instituted by God himself, Author of life in the natural order and at the same time Bestower of gifts of the supernatural order, and since the family must continuously perform, until the end of time, the principal task of instructing the new generations in the natural and supernatural good in order to sustain and help them to form a character in harmony with the values that can shape their lives after Christ's example, the Church and the State, each for its own part, must cooperate to achieve these praiseworthy goals together with the contribution of schools, parishes and the various Church groups.

Unfortunately, it is evident that at the present time, perhaps even more than in the past, people are leading lives that are detached in practice from how they are ideally conceived. For this very reason, it is hoped that the Sixth World Meeting in Mexico City from 13-18 of the coming month of January may imbue Christian families with the strength to pass on piously to the future generations upright principles of conscience to be nurtured with the help of God's grace.

Aspects of the doctrine and apostolic action proper to families will therefore be taken into consideration at the upcoming Meeting, as well as the special way in which the family proclaims, defends and cares for the perfection of human and Christian goods and values.

Therefore, the Supreme Pontiff Benedict XVI, in harmony with the intentions and the pastoral zeal of his Predecessors in particular Leo XIII and Benedict XV who promoted the pious devotion to the Holy Family of Nazareth expresses his hope that, in this Christmas Season, people will meditate more intensely on the mystery of the Holy Family.

In following the path trod by the late John Paul II of venerable memory, who decided that the World Meeting of Families would be held every three years, the Supreme Pontiff also desires ardently and wholeheartedly to be present, even if not physically, at the event in Mexico through the envoy Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, S.D.B., Secretary of State, to represent him there, as well as by the television and radio broadcasts of his Discourse, and especially, by granting the gift of the Plenary Indulgence, as specified in the following terms: 

The Holy Father grants to the faithful the Plenary Indulgence which may be obtained on the usual conditions (sacramental Confession, Eucharistic Communion and prayer for the intentions of the Supreme Pontiff), with complete detachment from any affection for sin, on the days in which they participate devoutly in the "Sixth World Meeting of Families".

Those truly repentant faithful who are unable to take part in this event may obtain the Plenary Indulgence on the same conditions if, united in spirit and in thought with the faithful present in Mexico City, they recite as a family the Our Father, the Creed and other devout prayers in order to invoke from the Divine Mercy the aims mentioned above, particularly at times when the Words and Messages of the Pope are broadcast via radio and television.

This Decree is applicable only for this occasion. Notwithstanding anything to the contrary.

Given in Rome, at the Offices of the Apostolic Penitentiary, 28 December 2008, on the Feast of the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph.


Cardinal James Francis Stafford
Major Penitentiary

+ Gianfranco Girotti, O.F.M. Conv.
Titular Bishop of Meta, Regent