Apostolic Penitentiary

Decree on the Granting of the Indulgence

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17 May 2024

“Now the time has come for a new Jubilee, when once more the Holy Door will be flung open to invite everyone to an intense experience of the love of God” (Spes non confundit, 6). In the Bull announcing the Ordinary Jubilee of 2025, at a moment in history in which “heedless of the horrors of the past, humanity is confronting yet another ordeal, as many peoples are prey to brutality and violence” (Spes non confundit, 8), the Holy Father calls on all Christians to become pilgrims of hope. This is a virtue which must be sourced above all in the grace of God and in the fullness of His mercy. It is to be rediscovered in the signs of the times, which, encompassing “the yearning of human hearts in need of God’s saving presence, ought to become signs of hope” (Spes non confundit, 7).

Previously, in the Bull announcing the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy in 2015, Pope Francis underlined how the Indulgence acquired “an even more important meaning” in that context (Misericordiae vultus, 22), since God’s mercy becomes the “indulgence on the part of the Father who, through the Bride of Christ, his Church, reaches the pardoned sinner and frees him or her from every residue left by the consequences of sin” (ibid.). Similarly, now the Holy Father declares that the gift of the Indulgence “is a way of discovering the unlimited nature of God’s mercy. Not by chance, for the ancients, the terms ‘mercy’ and ‘indulgence’ were interchangeable, as expressions of the fullness of God’s forgiveness, which knows no bounds” (Spes non confundit, 23). The Indulgence, therefore, is a Jubilee grace.

And so, also during the Ordinary Jubilee of 2025, by will of the Supreme Pontiff, this ‘Court of Mercy’, which is responsible for all that concerns the granting and use of indulgences, wishing to encourage the souls of the faithful and nourish the pious desire to obtain the Indulgence seen as a gift of grace specific to each Holy Year, establishes the following indications, so that the faithful may take advantage of the “norms for obtaining and rendering spiritually fruitful the practice of the Jubilee indulgence” (Spes non confundit, 23).

During the Ordinary Jubilee of 2025, all others Indulgences previously granted remain in force. All the faithful, who are truly repentant and free from any affection for sin (cf. Enchiridion Indulgentiarum, iv ed., norm. 20, § 1), who are moved by a spirit of charity and who, during the Holy Year, purified through the sacrament of penance and refreshed by Holy Communion, pray for the intentions of the Supreme Pontiff, will be able to obtain from the treasury of the Church a plenary indulgence, with remission and forgiveness of all their sins, which can be applied in suffrage to the souls in Purgatory in the following ways:

i. — Pilgrimages

The faithful, pilgrims of hope, will be able to obtain the Jubilee Indulgence granted by the Holy Father if they undertake a pious pilgrimage:

to any sacred Jubilee site: by devoutly participating in Holy Mass (where the liturgical norms allow for it, the Mass of the Jubilee might fruitfully be chosen, or one of the Votive Masses: for Reconciliation, for the Remission of Sins, for the Promotion of Charity or to Foster Harmony); a ritual Mass for the conferral of the sacraments of Christian Initiation or the Anointing of the Sick; or any of the following: a celebration of the Word of God; the Liturgy of the Hours (office of readings, lauds, vespers); the Via Crucis; the Marian Rosary; the recitation of the Akathist hymn; a penitential celebration, which ends with the individual confessions of the penitents, as established in the Rite of Penance (form ii );

in Rome: by visiting at least one of the four Major Papal Basilicas: St. Peter’s in the Vatican, the Archbasilica of the Holy Saviour (St John Lateran’s), Saint Mary Major’s, and St. Paul’s Outside the Walls;

in the Holy Land: by visiting at least one of the three basilicas: the Basilica of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem, the Basilica of the Nativity in Bethlehem, or the Basilica of the Annunciation in Nazareth;

in other ecclesiastical areas: by visiting the Cathedral or other church or sacred place designated by the local Ordinary. Bishops will take into account the needs of the faithful as well as the opportunity to reinforce the concept of pilgrimage with all its symbolic significance, so as to manifest the great need for conversion and reconciliation;

ii.— Pious visits to sacred places

Likewise, the faithful can obtain the Jubilee Indulgence if, individually or in a group, they devoutly visit any Jubilee site and there, for a suitable period of time, engage in Eucharistic adoration and meditation, concluding with the Our Father, the Profession of Faith in any legitimate form, and invocations to Mary, the Mother of God, so that in this Holy Year everyone “will come to know the closeness of Mary, the most affectionate of mothers, who never abandons her children” (Spes non confundit, 24).

During the Jubilee Year, in addition to the aforementioned places of pilgrimage, the following sacred places may also be visited under the same conditions:

in Rome: the Basilica of the Holy Cross in Jerusalem, the Basilica of St Lawrence Outside the Walls (commonly known as St Lawrence at the Verano), the Basilica of St Sebastian, (the traditional visit to “the seven Churches of Rome”, so close to the heart of St Philip Neri is also highly recommended), the Sanctuary of Divine Love (the ‘Divino Amore’), the Church of the Holy Spirit in Sassia, the Church of St Paul at the Tre Fontane, (the site of the Martyrdom of the Apostle), the Roman Catacombs; the churches of the Jubilee Pathways dedicated respectively to the Iter Europaeum and to the Female Patrons of Europe and Doctors of the Church (the Basilica of Santa Maria sopra Minerva, and the churches of St Brigid at Campo de’ Fiori, Santa Maria della Vittoria, Trinità dei Monti, the Basilica of Saint Cecilia in Trastevere, and the Basilica of Sant’Augustine in Campo Marzio);

in other places in the world: the two Minor Papal Basilicas in Assisi — those of St Francis and Our Lady of the Angels; the Pontifical Basilicas of Our Lady of Loreto, Our Lady of Pompeii, and St Anthony in Padua; any minor basilica, cathedral church, co-cathedral church, Marian sanctuary, any distinguished collegiate church or sanctuary designated by the diocesan bishop or Eparchy for the benefit of the faithful, and national or international sanctuaries, “sacred places of welcome and privileged spaces for the rebirth of hope” (Spes non confundit, 24), as indicated by Episcopal Conferences.

The faithful who are truly repentant of sin but who cannot participate in the various solemn celebrations, pilgrimages and pious visits for serious reasons (especially cloistered nuns and monks, but also the elderly, the sick, prisoners, and those who, through their work in hospitals or other care facilities, provide continuous service to the sick), can obtain the Jubilee Indulgence, under the same conditions if, united in spirit with the faithful taking part in person, (especially when the words of the Supreme Pontiff or the diocesan Bishop are transmitted through the various means of communication), they recite the Our Father, the Profession of Faith in any approved form, and other prayers in conformity with the objectives of the Holy Year, in their homes or wherever they are confined (e.g. in the chapel of the monastery, hospital, nursing home, prison...) offering up their sufferings or the hardships of their lives;

iii. — Works of mercy and penance

In addition, the faithful will be able to obtain the Jubilee Indulgence if, with a devout spirit, they participate in popular missions, spiritual exercises, or formation activities on the documents of the Second Vatican Council and the Catechism of the Catholic Church, held in a church or other suitable place, according to the Holy Father.

Despite the rule that only one plenary indulgence can be obtained per day (cf. Enchiridion Indulgentiarum, iv ed., norm. 18, § 1), the faithful who have carried out an act of charity on behalf of the souls in Purgatory, if they receive Holy Communion a second time that day, can obtain the plenary indulgence twice on the same day, applicable only to the deceased (this must take place within a Eucharistic celebration; see can. 917 and the Pontifical Commission for the authentic interpretation of the CIC, Responsa ad dubia, 1, 11 July 1984). Through this double act, a praiseworthy exercise of supernatural charity is carried out, through that bond by which the faithful still journeying on this earth are united in the mystical Body of Christ, with those who have already completed their journey, by virtue of the fact that “the Jubilee indulgence, thanks to the power of prayer, is intended in a particular way for those who have gone before us, so that they may obtain full mercy” (Spes non confundit, 22).

In a special way “during the Holy Year, we are called to be tangible signs of hope for those of our brothers and sisters who experience hardships of any kind” (Spes non confundit, 10). Therefore, the Indulgence is also linked to certain works of mercy and penance, which bear witness to the conversion undertaken. The faithful, following the example and mandate of Christ, are encouraged to carry out works of charity or mercy more frequently, especially in the service of those brothers and sisters who are burdened by various needs. More especially, they should rediscover these “corporal works of mercy: to feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, clothe the naked, welcome the stranger, heal the sick, visit the imprisoned, and bury the dead” (Misericordiae vultus, 15) and rediscover also “the spiritual works of mercy: to counsel the doubtful, instruct the ignorant, admonish sinners, comfort the afflicted, forgive offences, bear patiently those who do us ill, and pray for the living and the dead” (ibid.).

In this way, the faithful will be able to obtain the Jubilee Indulgence if they visit, for an appropriate amount of time, their brothers and sisters who are in need or in difficulty (the sick, prisoners, lonely elderly people, disabled people...), in a sense making a pilgrimage to Christ present in them (cf. Mt 25, 34-36) according to the usual spiritual, sacramental and prayer conditions. The faithful can repeat these visits throughout the Holy Year, even daily, acquiring a plenary indulgence each time.

The Jubilee Plenary Indulgence can also be obtained through initiatives that put into practice, in a concrete and generous way, the spirit of penance which is, in a sense, the soul of the Jubilee. In particular the penitential nature of Friday can be rediscovered through abstaining, in a spirit of penance, at least for one day of the week from futile distractions (real but also virtual distractions, for example, the use of the media and/or social networks), from superfluous consumption (for example by fasting or practising abstinence according to the general norms of the Church and the indications of the Bishops), as well as by donating a proportionate sum of money to the poor; by supporting works of a religious or social nature, especially in support of the defence and protection of life in all its phases, but also by supporting the quality of life of abandoned children, young people in difficulty, the needy or lonely elderly people, or migrants from various countries “who leave their homelands behind in search of a better life for themselves and for their families” (Spes non confundit, 13); it can also be obtained by dedicating a reasonable portion of one’s free time to voluntary activities that are of service to the community or to other similar forms of personal commitment.

All diocesan bishops and eparchs and those who are equivalent to them in law, on the most appropriate day of this jubilee period, on the occasion of the main celebration in the cathedral and in the individual jubilee churches, may impart the Papal Blessing with the attached plenary indulgence, obtainable by all the faithful who receive this Blessing under the usual conditions.

In order to facilitate access to the sacrament of Penance and the obtaining of divine forgiveness through the ‘Power of the Keys’, local Ordinaries are invited to grant to the Canons and Priests, who in the Cathedrals and Churches specially designated for the Holy Year, hear the confessions of the faithful, the faculties limited to the internal forum for the faithful of the Eastern Churches covered by can. 728, § 2 of the CCEO, and in the case of a possible reservation, those for can. 727, excluding, clearly, those cases listed in can. 728, § 1; while for the faithful of the Latin Church, the faculties referred to in can. 508, § 1 of the CIC.

In this regard, this Penitentiary urges all priests to offer generous availability and self-dedication to allow the greatest possible opportunity for the faithful to benefit from the means of salvation, by adopting and publishing time slots for confessions, in agreement with parish priests or rectors of neighbouring churches, by making time to be available in the confessional, planning penitential celebrations on a fixed and frequent basis, and also making the widest possible use of retired priests who do not have other defined pastoral roles. Depending on the possibilities, priests should remember, in accordance with the Motu proprio Misericordia Dei, the pastoral opportunity that also exists in hearing Confessions during the celebration of Holy Mass.

To facilitate the task of confessors, the Apostolic Penitentiary, by mandate of the Holy Father, grants to priests who accompany or join Jubilee pilgrimages outside their own Diocese the right to make use of the same faculties which they have been granted in their own Diocese by the legitimate authority. Special faculties will be conferred by this Apostolic Penitentiary to the penitentiaries of the Papal Basilicas in Rome, and to Canon Penitentiaries or Diocesan Penitentiaries established in individual ecclesiastical circumscriptions.

Confessors, after having lovingly instructed the faithful on the gravity of the sins to which a reservation or censure is attached, should determine, with pastoral charity, appropriate sacramental penances, so as to lead penitents, as far as possible to stable repentance and, depending on the nature of the case, invite them to repair any scandal and damages.

Finally, the Penitentiary warmly invites Bishops, as bearers of the triple munus of teaching, guiding, and sanctifying, to explain clearly the provisions and principles proposed here for the sanctification of the faithful, taking account of local circumstances, cultures and traditions. A catechesis appropriate to the socio-cultural characteristics of each people will propose the Gospel and the entirety of the Christian message effectively, rooting more deeply in people’s hearts the desire for this unique gift, obtained through the mediation of the Church.

This Decree is valid for the entire Ordinary Jubilee of 2025, notwithstanding any provision to the contrary.

Given in Rome, from the Offices of the Apostolic Penitentiary, on 13 May 2024, Memorial of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Fatima.

Angelo Cardinal De Donatis

Major Penitentiary

Msgr Krzysztof Nykiel