Catholic Culture Trusted Commentary
Catholic Culture Trusted Commentary

Decree on Indulgences for World Day of the Sick in Favor of the Sick, Especially the Mentally Ill

by Apostolic Penitentiary

Descriptive Title

Special Indulgences Are Granted to the Faithful for the 15th World Day of the Sick


In 2006 Pope Benedict XVI granted a plenary indulgence to the faithful who would participate in the World Day of the Sick, celebrated on February 11, the Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes. He extended this indulgence to those who could not participate due to their responsibility to the sick in the hospital or at home. The Holy Father hoped that this indulgence would encourage the sick to offer their sufferings to God. He also wished to promote a spirit of "Christian piety and social solidarity" for those who suffer physically or mentally.

Publisher & Date

ZENIT, February 5, 2006

The supreme Pontiff Benedict XVI — motivated by the ardent wish that the illness and pains of mankind, borne with resignation and offered to the eternal Father through the Virgin Mary, together with the sufferings of his Son the redeemer, and above all sustained by the hope that activities and initiatives of Christian piety and social solidarity may be promoted in favor of the sick, especially those who, afflicted by mental problems, are marginalized by society and by their own families — during the audience granted on Jan. 2 to Cardinal James Francis Stafford, major penitentiary, stipulated the concession of indulgences for the faithful for the 15th World Day of the Sick, which will be celebrated on Feb. 11, feast of Our Lady of Lourdes, culminating with a Eucharistic celebration in the cathedral of St. Francis Xavier in Adelaide, Australia.

A. Plenary Indulgence

A plenary indulgence is conceded on the usual conditions (sacramental confession, Eucharistic Communion and prayers for the Supreme Pontiff's intentions) to members of the faithful who, in a spirit of total detachment from any sin, will take part attentively and devoutly next Feb. 11 in the cathedral of Adelaide or in any other place established by the ecclesiastical authority in a sacred ceremony held to beseech God for the intentions of the World Day of the Sick.

The faithful who, in public hospitals or in private houses, like "Good Samaritans" charitably assist the sick — especially those with mental problems who require greater patience, care and attention — and who, because of the service they provide, cannot participate in the aforementioned ceremony, will obtain the same gift of plenary indulgence if on that day they generously provide, at least for a few hours, their charitable assistance to the sick as if they were tending to Christ the Lord Himself (cf. Matthew 25:40), with the soul completely removed from attachment to any form of sin, and with the intention of observing, as soon as they can, the conditions required for obtaining the plenary indulgence.

Finally, the faithful who through sickness, old age or similar reason, are prevented from participating in the aforementioned ceremony, may obtain the plenary indulgence if, with the soul completely removed from attachment to any form of sin and with the intention of observing, as soon as they can, the conditions required, they spiritually participate together with the Holy Father in the aforesaid ceremony, pray devotedly for the sick, and offer — through the Virgin Mary, "Health of the Sick" — their physical and spiritual sufferings to God.

B. Partial Indulgence

The text of the decree concludes stating that a partial indulgence will be conceded to all the faithful whenever, between Feb. 9-11, with a contrite heart they raise devout prayers to the merciful Lord calling for these aspirations to be met in order to help the sick.

The present decree comes into effect only for this occasion, notwithstanding anything to the contrary.

Given in Rome, at the offices of the Apostolic Penitentiary, Jan. 18, 2006, beginning of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity.

Cardinal James Francis Stafford
Major Penitentiary

Gianfranco Girotti, O.F.M. Conv.

[Translation of Latin original by ZENIT]

ZENIT International News Agency
Via della Stazione di Ottavia, 95
00165 Rome, Italy

Message for World Day of the Sick 2006

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