Catholics who participate in events connected with the 2012-2013 Year of Faith can receive a special indulgence, the Vatican said.
Pope Benedict authorized the granting of a plenary, or full, indulgence to highlight the Year of Faith and encourage the “reading, or rather, the pious meditation on” the documents of the Second Vatican Council and the Catechism of the Catholic Church, a Vatican decree said.
An indulgence is a remission of the temporal punishment a person is due for sins that have been forgiven.
The plenary indulgence is also being offered to pilgrims who visit sacred shrines, to Catholics who participate in local events connected to the Year of Faith, and to those who may be too ill or otherwise prevented from physical participation.
The decree said conditions for the special Year of Faith indulgence include the normal requirements set by the Church for all plenary indulgences: that the person goes to Confession, receives the Eucharist and prays for the intentions of the pope.