The gift of Special Indulgences is granted to the faithful suffering from Covid-19 disease, commonly known as Coronavirus, as well as to health-care workers, family members and all those who in any capacity, including through prayer, care for them.
“Rejoice in your hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.” (Romans 12:12) The words written by Saint Paul to the Church of Rome resonate throughout the entire history of the Church and guide the judgment of the faithful in the face of all suffering, sickness and calamity.
The present moment in which the whole humanity, threatened by the invisible and insidious disease that has become part of our lives for some time now, is marked day after day by anguished fears, new uncertainties and, above all, by widespread physical and moral suffering.
Following the example of her Divine Master, the Church has always had the care of the sick at heart. As Saint John Paul II pointed out, the value of human suffering is twofold: “It is supernatural because it is rooted in the divine mystery of the Redemption of the world, and it is likewise deeply human, because in it, the person discovers himself, his own humanity, his own dignity, his own mission” (Apostolic Letter Salvifici Doloris, n. 31).
Pope Francis, too, in these recent days, has shown his paternal closeness and renewed his invitation to pray incessantly for those who are sick with the Coronavirus.
So that all those who suffer due to Covid-19, may rediscover “the same redemptive suffering of Christ” (ibid., 30) in the very mystery of their suffering, this Apostolic Penitentiary, ex auctoritate Summi Pontificis, trusting in the word of Christ the Lord and considering with a faithful spirit the current epidemic, to be lived in a spirit of personal conversion, grants the gift of Indulgences in accord with the following disposition.
The Plenary Indulgence is granted to the faithful suffering from Coronavirus, who are subject to quarantine by order of the health authority in hospitals or in their own homes, if, with a spirit detached from any sin, they will join spiritually via the media in the celebration of Holy Mass, the recitation of the Holy Rosary, the pious practice of the Via Crucis or other forms of devotion, or if they will at least recite the Creed, the Lord’s Prayer and a pious invocation to the Blessed Virgin Mary, offering this trial in a spirit of faith in God and charity towards their brothers and sisters, with the willingness to fulfil the usual conditions (sacramental confession, Eucharistic communion and prayer according to the Holy Father’s intentions), as soon as possible.
Health-care workers, family members and all those who, following the example of the Good Samaritan, expose themselves to the risk of contagion to care for the sick of Coronavirus according to the words of the divine Redeemer: “Greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends” (Jn 15:13), will obtain the same gift of the Plenary Indulgence under the same conditions.
Moreover, this Apostolic Penitentiary willingly grants a Plenary Indulgence under the same conditions on the occasion of the current world epidemic, also to the faithful who offer a visit to the Blessed Sacrament, or Eucharistic Adoration, or the reading of the Holy Scriptures for at least half an hour, or the recitation of the Holy Rosary, or the pious exercise of the Way of the Cross, or the recitation of the Chaplet of Divine Mercy, to implore from Almighty God the end of the epidemic, relief to those who are afflicted and eternal salvation to those the Lord has called to Himself.
The Church prays for those who are unable to receive the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick and of the Viaticum, entrusting each and every one to Divine Mercy by virtue of the communion of saints and granting the faithful a Plenary Indulgence on the point of death, provided that they are duly disposed and have recited a few prayers during their lifetime (in this case the Church makes up for the three usual conditions required). For the attainment of this indulgence the use of the Crucifix or the cross is recommended.
May the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God and of the Church, Health of the Sick and Help of Christians, our Advocate, help suffering humanity, save us from the evil of this pandemic and obtain for us every good necessary for our salvation and sanctification.
The present Decree is valid notwithstanding any provision to the contrary.
Given in Rome, from the seat of the Apostolic Penitentiary, on 19 March 2020.
Cardinal Mauro Piacenza