Vatican extends plenary indulgence for the dead to entire November

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FOR the second year in a row, the Vatican has decided to grant a plenary indulgence to Catholics who visit a cemetery to pray for the dead on any day in the month of November.

Pre-pandemic, the Church had granted this plenary indulgence for the souls in Purgatory to those who prayed in a cemetery on Nov. 1-8, the week on which All Souls’ Day falls, the Catholic News Agency (CNA) said.

But keen to prevent gatherings that could promote the transmission of the coronavirus disease (Covid-19), the Apostolic Penitentiary stretched the period of prayer to a whole month starting last year.

A plenary indulgence removes all temporal punishment due to sin.

Temporal punishment is “the penalty that God in his justice inflicts either on earth or in Purgatory for sins, even though already forgiven as to guilt,” according to

Catholics aiming to obtain this indulgence are reminded that the plenary indulgence must be “accompanied by a full detachment from sin” and that they must fulfill the usual conditions of an indulgence, which are “sacramental confession, reception of the Eucharist, and prayer for the pope’s intentions.”

Sacramental confession and reception of the Eucharist may be done up to 20 days before or after the indulgenced act, the CNA said.

Purgatory is the state of spiritual “cleansing” that occurs after one dies, as Catholics believe that only the pure can enter heaven.

The living pray for the souls of their beloved dead in Purgatory to hasten their spiritual purification and enable them to enter heaven more quickly. (CTL)