DECREE Fourth Edition of the Enchiridion Indulgentiarum

Author: Apostolic Penitentiary

DECREE Fourth Edition of the 'Enchiridion Indulgentiarum'

Apostolic Penitentiary

The merits, infinite in value, of Jesus Christ, the Divine Redeemer of the human race, and those of the Blessed Virgin Mary and of all the Saints, which flow superabundantly from them, are the unfailing treasury of Christ's Church and have been entrusted to her, so that they may be applied to the remission of sins and the consequences of sin, by virtue of the power of binding and loosing which the Founder of the Church himself conferred on Peter and the other Apostles, and through them on their successors, the Supreme Pontiffs and Bishops. This remission is given primarily, and in the case of mortal sins necessarily, through the sacrament of Reconciliation.

However, even after mortal sin has been forgiven and, as a necessary consequence, the eternal punishment it deserves has been remitted, and even if slight or venial sin has been remitted, the forgiven sinner can need further purification, that is, be deserving of temporal punishment to be expiated in this life or in the life to come, namely, in Purgatory. An indulgence, whose purpose is to remit this punishment, is drawn from the Church's wonderful treasury mentioned above. The doctrine of faith regarding indulgences and the praiseworthy practice of gaining them confirm and apply, with special efficacy for attaining holiness, the deeply consoling mysteries of the Mystical Body of Christ and the Communion of Saints.

The Supreme Pontiff John Paul II clearly explained all these points in the Bull of Indiction of the Great Jubilee Incarnationis mysterium.

In accordance with this act of the Magisterium, the Apostolic Penitentiary takes the opportunity offered by the now imminent opening of the sacred Jubilee and by the dissemination throughout the Catholic world of the above-mentioned Bull to republish—for the fourth time—the Enchiridion Indulgentiarum, in the form of the typical edition of 29 June 1968, which contains the disciplinary changes introduced by the Apostolic Constitution Indulgentiarum doctrina.

The principles governing indulgences have not been changed at all in this new edition, but several norms are restated in the light of documents recently published by the Apostolic See.

Moreover, the grants are arranged systematically in such a way that their number is not really reduced even though the list is shorter. The method followed in indicating the grants was chosen in order to increase the devotion of supernatural charity in the individual members of the faithful and in the Ecclesial Community.

So, first of all, a fourth general grant was added, by which a public witness of faith, in the particular circumstances of everyday life, is enriched with an indulgence. The other new grants of particular importance concern the strengthening of the foundations of the Christian family (consecration of families); communion in the prayer of the universal Church (through active participation in days universally appointed for specific religious purposes and during the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity); and the worship to be given Jesus really present in the Blessed Sacrament (Eucharistic procession).

Several earlier grants have also been broadened, for example, regarding the recitation of the Marian Rosary or the Akathistos hymn, the jubilee celebrations of sacred ordinations, the reading of Sacred Scripture and visits to sacred places.

This edition of the Enchiridion makes frequent reference to faculties granted to various episcopal assemblies (those of the Eastern Churches according to their respective juridical norms, those of the Latin rite according to canon 447 CIQ to prepare lists of prayers more commonly used in their respective territories. And, in fact, there has been a notable increase in the number of prayers included in the Enchiridion, especially those from the Eastern tradition.

By the present Decree the attached text is declared authentic and its publication is ordered by the authority of the Supreme Pontiff, as indicated in the Audience granted on 5 July 1999 to the Superiors of the Apostolic Penitentiary.

In accord with the intentions of the Holy Father, the Apostolic Penitentiary hopes that the faithful, prompted by the teaching and pastoral concern of their Bishops, will make use of sacred indulgences with heartfelt devotion to increase their piety for the glory of the Divine and Most High Trinity.

Anything to the contrary notwithstanding.

Given in Rome, at the offices of the Apostolic Penitentiary, 16 July 1999, the memorial of Our Lady of Mount Carmel.

Cardinal William Wakefield Baum
Major Penitentiary

Luigi De Magishis
Titular Bishop of Nova

Taken from:
L'Osservatore Romano
Weekly Edition in English
29 September 1999, page 6

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