Steps to gain Indulgencia Plenaria

Earning the Jubilee is the most common way of referring to the act of gaining the plenary indulgence granted during the celebration of a Holy Year or Compostela Jubilee Year.

Origins of indulgences

Sin is any willful act or omission against the law of God, which consists in saying, doing, thinking or desiring something against the Commandments.

In Catholic doctrine, indulgence, unlike penance or reconciliation, is not a sacrament and does not forgive sin per se, but exempts from penalties of a temporal nature that the faithful would otherwise have to purge during their earthly life or in purgatory.

One of the ways of paying the temporal punishment is through indulgences, which consist in the partial or total remission of the temporal punishment for sin. These can be granted by the Pope, bishops and cardinals and, if they are total, are called plenary.

If a person fulfils the requirements for the plenary indulgences of a holy year, he or she is popularly said to have “won the Jubilee”.

How does it differ from the absolution we receive in confession?

A distinction must be made between fault and penalty. When we sin, that is, when we do wrong against God, the Church, ourselves or others, it will be our fault. The penalty, on the other hand, is the consequence of that sin.

In confession, God erases the guilt of our sins and part of the penalty we should serve after death, but does not totally condone it.

Throughout life, and depending on our sins, there is always a part of the penalty to be atoned for. That penalty that cannot be erased by confession. There are 3 ways to purify them: by offering good deeds and the sufferings of this life, in purgatory or through indulgences.

How to receive the indulgencia plenaria

Strictly speaking, obtaining the Compostela plenary indulgence does not require the performance of popular rites such as entering through the Holy Door of the Cathedral of Santiago or embracing the statue of the Apostle St. James.

To obtain the plenary indulgence of Compostela, it is necessary to fulfil the following 3 requirements:

  1. Visit the cathedral on any day of the holy year, as it houses the relics of St. James.
  2. Pray with true devotion some prayer (the Church recommends the Creed and the Our Father), ask for the Pope’s intentions and, if possible, attend Mass.
  3. It is also necessary to receive the sacraments of penance – confession – and communion as a demonstration of a renewed commitment to Jesus. These requirements can be fulfilled a fortnight before or after the visit to Compostela Cathedral.

Once all the above has been done, the concession is automatic: the Church states that every pilgrim to Compostela can obtain the plenary indulgence or grace of the Jubilee on his or her own if these 3 conditions are sincerely fulfilled.

Indulgencia plenaria for a deceased person

The Church also allows Catholics to apply for the souls of family members or loved ones who are in purgatory.

To gain a plenary indulgence for a deceased person, the Church requires the following steps:

  1. On 2 November, the Day of Commemoration of the Faithful Departed, a pious visit is made to a church or oratory. During this visit, the Creed and an Our Father should be recited. In addition, the intention to avoid any venial or mortal sin must be formulated.
  2. It is necessary to go to confession, receive Holy Communion and pray an Our Father and a Hail Mary for the Pope’s intentions.

These conditions can be fulfilled a few days before or after the feast of the Dead, but it is advisable that Communion and prayer for the Pope’s intentions take place on the same day.

After fulfilling these conditions, the person for whom we ask a plenary indulgence can leave purgatory and enter Heaven.

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