VATICAN CITY, JAN 14, 2005 (VIS) - A Decree from the Apostolic Penitentiary, dated December 25, 2004 and published today, states that during an audience granted on December 17, 2004 to Cardinal James Francis Stafford and Fr. John Francis Girotti, OFM.Conv., respectively penitentiary major and regent of the Apostolic Penitentiary, "the Holy Father wished to enrich with indulgences several determined acts of worship and devotion to the Most Holy Sacrament, which are indicated below. ... The Decree will be in force during the Eucharistic Year, starting with the day of its publication in the L'Osservatore Romano. Notwithstanding any disposition to the contrary."
Following are excerpts:
"A Plenary Indulgence is granted to all faithful and to each individual faithful under the usual conditions (sacramental confession, Eucharistic communion and prayer in keeping with the intentions of the Supreme Pontiff, with the soul completely removed from attachment to any form of sin), each and every time they participate attentively and piously in a sacred function or a devotional exercise undertaken in honor of the Blessed Sacrament, solemnly exposed and conserved in the tabernacle.
"A Plenary Indulgence is also granted, under the aforesaid conditions, to the clergy, to members of Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, and to other faithful who are by law obliged to recite the Liturgy of the Hours, as well as to those who customarily recite the Divine Office out of pure devotion, each and every time they recite - at the end of the day, in company or in private - Vespers and Night Prayers before the Lord present in the tabernacle.
"The faithful who, through illness or other just cause, are unable to visit the Blessed Sacrament of the Eucharist in a church or oratory, may obtain a Plenary Indulgence in their own homes, or wherever they may be because of their ailment, if, ... with the intention of observing the three usual conditions as soon as possible, they make the visit spiritually and with the heart's desire, ... and recite the Our Father and the Creed, adding a pious invocation to Jesus in the Sacrament.
"If they are unable to do even this, they will receive a Plenary Indulgence if they unite themselves with interior desire to those who practice the normal conditions laid down for Indulgences, and offer the merciful God the illnesses and discomforts of their lives."
The Decree asks that priests, especially pastors, inform the faithful "in the most convenient manner" of these dispositions, prepare, "with generous and ready spirit," to hear confessions and to lead the faithful "in solemn public recitation of prayers to Jesus in the Sacrament." The faithful are likewise exhorted "to give open witness of faith and veneration for the Blessed Sacrament" as proposed in such acts as Eucharistic procession and adoration, and Eucharistic and spiritual communion."