Wednesday, 14 May 2008


I see that the Holy Father is getting generous with the old indulgences again. That's a healthy sign. He's granted a plenary for those participating in the day of prayer for China on May 24th. I got this notice on the regular Zenit mailings:

HONG KONG, MAY 13, 2008 ( Benedict XVI is offering the opportunity to gain a plenary indulgence to those who participate in the events surrounding the May 24 World Day of Prayer for the Church in China.
In a notice to parishes, the Hong Kong Diocese announced May 9 that at the request of Cardinal Joseph Zen, bishop of Hong Kong, the Pope is making a plenary indulgence available to the faithful.
To receive the plenary indulgence, the faithful should participate in one of the solemn functions to be held May 15-25 in the diocese, as well as fulfilling the customary conditions.
Those who are unable to participate due to sickness or other grave reasons can also obtain the indulgence by uniting themselves spiritually with those present at the celebrations, offering their prayers and sufferings to the God of mercy for the Church in China.
"It is the wish of the Holy Father that the faithful will more and more yearn for and put into practice the supernatural virtues, especially faith, hope and charity, and that they will strengthen their communion with the Roman Pontiff, who is the visible foundation of the unity of the whole Catholic Church," the diocese said.
Benedict XVI proclaimed May 24, memorial of Our Lady, Help of Christians, a World Day of Prayer for the Church in China in his May 27, 2007, letter to Chinese Catholics.

Now, I think that this time of prayer is a very good idea, and I'd like to participate in some way. Since living several thousand miles from Hong Kong may be construed as a grave reason for me not physically participating in the celebrations, I wonder if I'd qualify for the indulgence?


Joseph Shaw said...

I don't think indulgences are ever limited to a diocese; sometimes they are specific to members of a religious order, but that's rather different. This sounds more like the kind of indulgence attached to the Jubilee Year or places of pilgrimage: you get it by going to a certain place *or by some other participation in cases of grave inconvenience.* So surely, we can all get this indulgence, bearing in mind the other requirements for gaining a plenary indulgence.

I don't know if this is the intention, but a world-wide day of prayer for China, with the offer of a plenary indulgence, sounds like a very good idea. Next the Holy Father should do this for Iraq, and the Catholics there.

PeterHWright said...

Fascinating !

A thought from a layman who knows no Canon Law.

It doesn't say the Indulgence is limited to the diocese of Hong Kong. After all, you don't declare a World Day of Prayer with the intention of limiting to one diocese or even to one country .

Being prevented by distance from phsically participating in one of the solemn functions, one is nevertheless able to unite onself spiritually with those present.

Therefore, subject to fulfilling the usual conditions, this form of participation would seem to be indulgenced.

Adam said...

The Chancery Notice appears to restrict the plenary indulgence "to the faithful in the Diocese of Hong Kong". The Chinese language version says the same.