Dec 31, 2007

Conditions for Gaining the Jubilee Indulgence

Online Edition Vol. VI, No. 6-7: September / October 2000

Conditions for Gaining the Jubilee Indulgence

Following is the text of the Vatican’s decree governing the Jubilee indulgences. (Minor portions omitted are marked with ellipses.)

All the faithful, properly prepared, can fully enjoy, throughout the Jubilee, the gift of the indulgence, in accordance with the following norms.

The high point of the Jubilee is the encounter with God the Father, through Christ the Savior present in his Church and in a special way in the sacraments. For this reason, the whole Jubilee journey, prepared for by pilgrimage, has as its starting point and its conclusion the celebration of the sacraments of Penance and of the Eucharist, the Paschal Mystery of Christ, our peace and our reconciliation; this is the transforming encounter which opens us to the gift of the indulgence for ourselves and for others.

After worthily celebrating sacramental confession, which ordinarily … must be individual and complete, each member of the faithful, having fulfilled the required conditions, can receive or apply the gift of the plenary indulgence during a suitable period of time, even daily, without needing to go to confession again. It is fitting, however, that the faithful should frequently receive the grace of the sacrament of Penance, in order to grow in conversion and in purity of heart. Participation in the Eucharist, which is required for all indulgences, should properly take place on the same day as the prescribed works are performed.

These two culminating moments must be accompanied first of all, by the witness of communion with the Church, manifested by prayer for the intentions of the Roman Pontiff, and also by acts of charity and penance, following the indications given below; these acts are meant to express the true conversion of heart to which communion with Christ in the sacraments leads …

With regard to the required conditions, the faithful can gain the Jubilee indulgence:

1) In Rome, if they make a pious pilgrimage to one of the patriarchal basilicas, namely, the Basilica of St. Peter in the Vatican, the Archbasilica of the Most Holy Savior at the Lateran, the Basilica of St. Mary Major and the Basilica of St. Paul on the Ostian Way, and there take part devoutly in Holy Mass or another liturgical celebration such as Lauds or Vespers, or some pious exercise (e.g., the stations of the cross, the rosary, the recitation of the Akathistos Hymn in honor of the Mother of God); furthermore, if they visit, as a group or individually, one of the four patriarchal basilicas and there spend some time in Eucharistic adoration and pious meditations, ending with the "Our Father", the profession of faith in any approved form, and prayer to the Blessed Virgin Mary. To the four patriarchal basilicas are added, on this special occasion of the Great Jubilee, the following further places, under the same conditions: the Basilica of the Holy Cross in Jerusalem, the Basilica of St. Lawrence in Campo Verano, the Shrine of Our Lady of Divine Love, and the Christian Catacombs.

2) In the Holy Land, if, keeping the same conditions, they visit the Basilica of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem, or the Basilica of the Nativity in Bethlehem or the Basilica of the Annunciation in Nazareth.

3) In other ecclesiastical territories, if they make a sacred pilgrimage to the cathedral church or to other churches or places designated by the ordinary, and there assist devoutly at a liturgical celebration or other pious exercise, such as those mentioned above for the city of Rome; in addition, if they visit, in a group or individually, the cathedral church or a shrine designated by the ordinary, and there spend some time in pious meditation, ending with the "Our Father", the profession of faith in any approved form, and prayer to the Blessed Virgin Mary.

4) In any place, if they visit for a suitable time their brothers and sisters in need or in difficulty (the sick, the imprisoned, the elderly living alone, the handicapped, etc.), as if making a pilgrimage to Christ present in them (cf. Mt 25:34-36), and fulfilling the usual spiritual and sacramental conditions and saying the usual prayers. The faithful will certainly wish to repeat these visits throughout the Holy Year, since on each occasion they can gain the plenary indulgence, although obviously not more than once a day.

The plenary indulgence of the Jubilee can also be gained through actions which express in a practical and generous way the penitential spirit which is, as it were, the heart of the Jubilee. This would include abstaining for at least one whole day from unnecessary consumption (e.g., from smoking or alcohol, or fasting or practicing abstinence according to the general rules of the Church and the norms laid down by the bishops’ conferences) and donating a proportionate sum of money to the poor; supporting by a significant contribution works of a religious or social nature (especially for the benefit of abandoned children, young people in trouble, the elderly in need, foreigners in various countries seeking better living conditions); devoting a suitable portion of personal free time to activities benefiting the community, or other similar forms of personal sacrifice.

Given in Rome, at the Apostolic Penitentiary, on November 29, 1998, the First Sunday of Advent.

William Wakefield Cardinal Baum
Major Penitentiary

Bishop Luigi De Magistris



The Editors