What are indulgences?

What are Indulgences?

Indulgences are the remission before God of the temporal punishment due to sins whose guilt has already been given. The faithful Christian who is duly disposed gains the indulgence under prescribed conditions for either himself or the departed. Indulgences are granted through the ministry of the Church which, as the dispenser of the grace of redemption, distributes the treasury of the merits of Christ and the Saints.

Catechism of the Catholic Church, §1471-9, 1498

Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, §312

Norms for Indulgences at the Commemoration of All Souls

From twelve o’clock noon on 1 November until midnight on 2 November, all who have confessed, received Holy Communion and prayed for the Pope’s intentions (one Our Father and Hail Mary, or any other prayer of one’s choice) can gain one plenary indulgence by visiting a church or oratory, and there reciting one Our Father and the Apostle’s Creed.

This indulgence is applicable only to the souls of the departed.

Confession may be made at any time within the week preceding or the week following 1 November.

Holy Communion may be received on any day from 1 November to 8 November.

The faithful who visit a cemetery and pray for the dead may gain a plenary indulgence applicable only to the Holy Souls on the usual conditions once per day from 1 to 8 November. The conditions mentioned above apply also to this.