World Day of the Sick Indulgence
By Cindy Wooden | Catholic News Service
Pope Benedict XVI authorized the indulgences in order "to enrich" the World Day of the Sick and to highlight Christian teaching on "the value and function of suffering" accepted as a way to express sorrow for one's sins and trust in the fact that Christ's suffering is a source of salvation, said the Vatican statement released Feb. 5.
The statement was signed by U.S. Cardinal J. Francis Stafford, head of the
An indulgence is a remission of the temporal punishment a person is due for sins he or she has committed.
A plenary, or full, indulgence is being offered to those who join the official celebrations of the World Day of the Sick in
Plenary indulgences also can be obtained Feb. 11 by people who dedicate at least several hours that day to providing loving care for a sick person, especially one with an incurable or terminal illness, and by the sick themselves.
All those who want to receive the indulgence must go to confession, receive the Eucharist -- or promise to do so as soon as possible -- and pray for the intentions of the pope, all in a spirit of total detachment from the attraction of sin.
Cardinal Stafford said partial indulgences are being offered "between Feb. 9-11 to all the faithful each time they address, with a contrite heart, devoted prayers to the merciful God" on behalf of someone who is sick.