A message from the Apostolic Penitentiary on March 20 announces the granting of special indulgences for the victims of COVID-19.
The Apostolic Penitentiary, formerly called the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Penitentiary, is a dicastery of the Roman Curia and is one of the three ordinary tribunals of the Apostolic See.
It applies to those who have the virus, as well as those in quarantine, who unite spiritually through the media to the Mass, pray the Rosary, do the Way of the Cross, or other devotions, “or if at least they will recite the Creed, the Lord’s Prayer and a pious invocation to the Blessed Virgin Mary, offering this trial in a spirit of faith in God and charity towards their brothers and sisters, with the will to fulfill the usual conditions (sacramental confession, Eucharistic communion and prayer according to the Holy Father’s intentions), as soon as possible.”
The same conditions apply for health care workers, family members and all those who, following the example of the Good Samaritan, exposing themselves to the risk of contagion, care for the sick of Coronavirus.
And all the faithful can receive a plenary indulgence with the same conditions when they “offer a visit to the Blessed Sacrament, or Eucharistic adoration, or reading the Holy Scriptures for at least half an hour, or the recitation of the Holy Rosary, or the pious exercise of the Way of the Cross, or the recitation of the Chaplet of Divine Mercy, to implore from Almighty God the end of the epidemic, relief for those who are afflicted and eternal salvation for those whom the Lord has called to Himself.”
There is a special note for those who are unable to receive the Anointing of the Sick and their last Eucharist.
The Church prays for those who find themselves unable to receive the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick and of the Viaticum, entrusting each and every one to divine Mercy by virtue of the communion of saints and granting the faithful a Plenary Indulgence on the point of death, provided that they are duly disposed and have recited a few prayers during their lifetime (in this case the Church makes up for the three usual conditions required). For the attainment of this indulgence the use of the crucifix or the cross is recommended (cf. Enchiridion indulgentiarum, no.12).
Fr. Gerard Lecomte, CJM