Vatican City, November 29, 2005
According to a decree made public today, Benedict XVI will grant the
faithful a Plenary Indulgence for the forthcoming Solemnity of the
Immaculate Conception (December 8, 2005). The decree is signed by
Cardinal James Francis Stafford and Fr. John Francis Girotti, O.F.M.
Conv., respectively penitentiary major and regent of the Apostolic
"December 8," the text reads, "will mark forty years since Servant of
God Paul VI, Supreme Pontiff, who had already proclaimed the Virgin
Mary as Mother of the Church, in closing Vatican Council II,
dedicated great praise to the Virgin who, as Mother of Christ, is
Mother of God and spiritual Mother to us all.
"On this Solemnity, the Supreme Pontiff Benedict XVI, when he
renders public homage of praise to Mary Immaculate, has the
heartfelt desire that the entire Church should join with him, so
that all the faithful, united in the name of the common Mother,
become ever stronger in the faith, adhere with greater devotion to
Christ, and love their brothers with more fervent charity. From here
- as Vatican Council II very wisely taught - arise works of mercy
towards the needy, observance of justice, and the defense of and
search for peace."
For this reason, the decree continues, the Holy Father "has kindly
granted the gift of Plenary Indulgence which may be obtained under
the usual conditions (sacramental Confession, Eucharistic communion
and prayer in keeping with the intentions of the Supreme Pontiff),
with the soul completely removed from attachment to any form of sin,
on the forthcoming Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception, by the
faithful if they participate in a sacred function in honor of the
Virgin, or at least offer open testimony of Marian devotion before
an image of Mary Immaculate exposed for public veneration, adding
the recitation of the Our Father and of the Creed, and some
invocation to the Virgin."
The document concludes by recalling that faithful who "through
illness or other just cause," are unable to participate in a public
ceremony or to venerate an image of the Virgin, "may obtain a
Plenary Indulgence in their own homes, or wherever they may be, if,
with the soul completely removed from any form of sin, and with the
intention of observing the aforesaid conditions as soon as possible,
they unite themselves in spirit and in desire to the Supreme
Pontiff's intentions in prayer to Mary Immaculate, and recite the
Our Father and the Creed."