This year, in the current circumstances due to the “Covid-19” pandemic,
the Plenary Indulgences for deceased faithful will be extended throughout the entire month of November,
with adaptation of works and conditions to guarantee the safety of the faithful.
This Apostolic Penitentiary has received many petitions from holy Pastors who have asked that this year, due to the “Covid-19” epidemic, pious works to obtain the Plenary Indulgences applicable to souls in Purgatory, be commuted in accordance with the Manual of Indulgences (conc. 29, § 1). For this reason, the Apostolic Penitentiary, on special mandate of His Holiness Pope Francis, willingly establishes and decides that this year, in order to avoid gatherings where they may be forbidden:
a. — the Plenary Indulgence for those who visit a cemetery and pray for the deceased, even if only mentally, normally established only for the individual days from 1 to 8 November, may be transferred to other days of the same month, until its end. These days, freely chosen by the individual faithful, may also be separate from each other;
b. — the Plenary Indulgence of 2 November, established on the occasion of the Commemoration of all the deceased faithful for those who piously visit a church or oratory and recite the “Our Father” and the “Creed” there, may be transferred not only to the preceding or following Sunday or to the day of the Solemnity of All Saints, but also to another day of the month of November, freely chosen by the individual faithful.
The elderly, the sick and all those who for serious reasons cannot leave their homes, for example because of restrictions imposed by the competent authority in this time of the pandemic, in order to prevent numerous faithful from crowding into holy places, will be able to obtain the Plenary Indulgence as long as they join spiritually with all the other faithful, completely detached from sin and with the intention of complying as soon as possible with the three usual conditions (sacramental confession, Eucharistic communion and prayer according to the Holy Father’s intentions), before an image of Jesus or the Blessed Virgin Mary, recite pious prayers for the deceased, for example, Lauds and Vespers of the Office of the Dead, the Marian Rosary, the Chaplet of Divine Mercy, other prayers for the deceased dearest to the faithful, or occupy themselves in contemplative reading of one of the Gospel passages proposed by the liturgy of the deceased, or perform a work of mercy by offering to God the sorrows and hardships of their own lives.
For an easier attainment of divine grace through pastoral charity, this Penitentiary earnestly prays that all priests with the appropriate faculties may offer themselves with particular generosity to the celebration of the Sacrament of Penance and administer Holy Communion to the sick.
However, regarding the spiritual conditions for fully attaining the Indulgence, it is important to recall the indications previously issued in the “Note on the Sacrament of Reconciliation in the current pandemic” issued by the Apostolic Penitentiary on 19 March 2020.
Lastly, since the souls in Purgatory are assisted by the prayers of the faithful and especially by the sacrifice of the Altar, acceptable to God (cf. Conc. Tr. Sess. XXV, decr. De Purgatorio), all priests are fervently invited to celebrate Holy Mass three times on the day of the Commemoration of all the deceased faithful, in accordance with the Apostolic Constitution “Incruentum Altaris” issued by Pope Benedict XV, of venerable memory, on 10 August 1915.
This Decree is valid throughout the entire month of November, notwithstanding any provision to the contrary.
Given in Rome, from the office of the Apostolic Penitentiary, on 22 October 2020, memorial of Saint John Paul II.
Maurus Card. Piacenza
L'Osservatore Romano, Weekly edition in English, 30 October 2020.