The Church’s senior tribunal, which handles all matters of the internal forum and indulgences, the Sacred Apostolic Penitentiary (SPA), has issued a decree concerning the annual opportunity to gain indulgences for the souls in Purgatory in time of COVID.
Right now the decree is only in Latin, Italian, and German.
In effect, because of COVID-19, the SPA has extended the indulgence in the Enchiridion Indulgentiarum (conc. 29, §1) for the whole month of November.
The plenary indulgence granted for visiting a cemetery to pray for the dead from 1-8 November is extended to other days of the month as the faithful choose.
The plenary indulgence for 2 November for the faithful who visit a church or oratory and recite an Our Father and the Apostles Creed can be transferred to the previous or following Sunday or to All Saints or even on another day of November as the faithful choose.
The elderly or sick or those who for some reason cannot leave their dwelling, even because of a government lockdown, can also obtain the plenary indulgence, provided that they are completely detached from sin and have the intention of fulfilling as soon as possible the three usual conditions of sacramental confession, Holy Communion, and prayer for the intentions designated by the Pope. They obtain the plenary indulgence by praying before an image of the Lord or the Blessed Virgin pious prayers for the dead such as Lauds and Vespers from the Office for the Dead, the Chaplet of Divine Mercy, or other prayers for the dead, or meditate on a Gospel passage proposed by the Liturgy for the Dead, or do a work of mercy by offering their pain and discomfort to God.
The SPA strongly urges priests lavishly to provide the Sacrament of Penance and Communion for the infirm.
The SPA reminds about the document of 19 March 2020 about the Sacrament of Penance in time of pandemic.
The SPA warmly invites all priests to celebrate Holy Mass three times on 2 November 2020 in accordance with the 1915 Apostolic Constitution Incruentem altaris of Pope Benedict XV.
The decree was signed on 22 October, the Feast of St. John Paul II.
It is a work of Mercy to pray for our beloved dead.