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Catholics attending or watching March for Life 2021 online can gain a plenary indulgence

In a letter sent to bishops across America, Cardinal Wilton Gregory wrote, 'This year’s plenary indulgence provides for those pilgrims who will attend events in person and for those pilgrims who will attend events virtually due to the ongoing pandemic.'
Thu Jan 28, 2021 - 1:30 pm EST
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WASHINGTON, D.C., January 28, 2021 (LifeSiteNews) – As has become customary, Catholics taking part in the March for Life are able to gain a plenary indulgence for doing so, and this year the indulgence extends not only to those physically present but to those virtually attending as a result of the march being canceled.

In a letter sent to bishops across America, Cardinal Wilton Gregory wrote, “This year’s plenary indulgence provides for those pilgrims who will attend events in person and for those pilgrims who will attend events virtually due to the ongoing pandemic.”

Pilgrims can gain the indulgence by participating in the National Prayer Vigil for Life at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception on January 28, as well as by taking part in the Mass for Life on Friday, January 29. 

The indulgence can be gained by either attending in person, or virtually, if prevented from traveling for “grave reasons.” The March for Life this year was canceled except for the presence of just a few pro-life leaders representing thousands of pro-lifers who normally gather in the capital each year. 

The Diocese of Fort Worth, Texas mentioned that “an indulgence is a special gift whereby the Church applies and dispenses the merits of Christ to the faithful to cancel out the painful punishments due to sin.”

The Catechism of the Catholic Church (1471) describes an indulgence as “a remission before God of the temporal punishment due to sins whose guilt has already been forgiven, which the faithful Christian who is duly disposed gains under certain prescribed conditions through the action of the Church which, as the minister of redemption, dispenses and applies with authority the treasury of the satisfactions of Christ and the saints.” 

It may be applied to oneself or to a soul who has already died and is in purgatory. A plenary indulgence is not a pardon for future sin or a promise of security against future temptation but a removal of the temporal punishment due to sins already forgiven. 

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“All who die in God’s grace and friendship, but still imperfectly purified, are indeed assured of their eternal salvation; but after death they undergo purification, so as to achieve the holiness necessary to enter the joy of heaven,” the Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches (CCC 1030).

The much-loved Baltimore Catechism mentions that a plenary indulgence “is the remission of all the temporal punishment due to our sins.” 

There are certain conditions that accompany an indulgence; namely, confession within eight days, worthy reception of Holy Communion, a visit to a church or chapel, and prayers for the intention of the Pope. One must also be in a state of grace, without the stain of mortal sin, be free from attachment to sin, and have a general intention of gaining the indulgence. 

In order for the conditions to be met, the decree asks that priests “make themselves available for the celebration of Penance,” with a “willing and generous spirit.’

While the majority of events have been canceled, there are still a few Masses and events taking place, and Students for Life of America is holding “four days of virtual training for pro-life activists of all ages,” as well as life chains throughout the country.


  abortion, catholic, indulgences, march for life 2021, wilton gregory

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