According to a decree issued today by the Vatican’s Apostolic Penitentiary, a plenary indulgence is being granted for Catholics who are afflicted with COVID-19 and those who care for them, as well as those who pray for them.
The Catholic Herald is reporting on the announcement which extends the indulgence to victims, caregivers, and all Catholics around the world who pray for an end of the pandemic, healing for the afflicted, and the repose of the deceased.
Those who are infected with the virus and who are quarantined at home or in the hospital by order of authorities, are asked to participate spiritually in a devotion such as the rosary or the Way of the Cross.
It also extends to the faithful who pray for the victims of the pandemic.
“To receive the indulgence, always under the usual conditions, Catholics not sick with COVID-19 may offer at least half an hour of adoration before the Blessed Sacrament or half an hour of prayer with scripture, or the recitation of the rosary or chaplet of divine mercy ‘to implore from the Almighty God an end to the epidemic, relief for those who are suffering, and eternal salvation of those whom the Lord has called to himself’,” the Herald reports.
In order to receive a plenary indulgence a person must be free from any attachment to sin and fulfill the ordinary conditions for an indulgence such as sacramental confession, reception of the Eucharist and prayer for the intentions of the Pope. Because churches are closed and the faithful are unable to receive the Eucharist at the present time, they must have the will to satisfy this condition as soon as possible.
As the Herald reports, other devotions which may grant the indulgence are participation in Mass through the internet, and the recitation of the Creed, the Our Father, and a “pious invocation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, offering this trial in a spirit of faith in God and charity towards their brothers and sisters.”
Healthcare workers and family members who have exposed themselves to the risk of contagion in caring for those ill with COVID-19 are also granted the indulgence under the same conditions.
Those who are on the brink of death from COVID-19 can also receive the indulgence provided they are properly disposed and in the habit of prayer.
As the decree states: “The Church is praying for those who find it impossible to receive the sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick and Viaticum, entrusting each and every one to divine Mercy by virtue of the communion of saints.”
“The Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God and of the Church, Health of the Sick and Help of Christians, our Advocate, would like to come to the aid of a suffering humanity, driving back from us the evil of this pandemic and obtaining all the good necessary for our salvation and sanctification,” the document concluded.
The indulgence is granted “from the authority of the Supreme Pontiff,” with a decree signed by Cardinal Mauro Piacenza, penitentiary major of the Apostolic Penitentiary.
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