Partial Indulgences

Previous posts herehereherehereherehere, and here.

Having listed several of the plenary indulgences that are available, I now would like to share some of the more common partial indulgences that we can obtain on a daily basis – and, indeed, multiple times in the same day. As usual, taken from the Manual of Indulgences.

I like to think of partial indulgences like a sort of “employer match”: without it, we just contribute our small amount; with it, our small amount multiplies and suddenly goes a lot farther. I think the analogy might make more sense as you browse the list below and see how we can obtain partial indulgences for most, if not all, of the common devotional acts, prayers, and good works that we routinely do!

Daily work. (The painting is “The Gleaners”, by Francois Millet. Courtesy the Google Image Product/Wikimedia Commons)

Common Partial Indulgences Available

  1. A partial indulgence is granted to the faithful who, while carrying out their duties and enduring the hardships of life, raise their minds in humble trust to God and make, at least mentally, some pious invocation (e.g., “Jesus I trust in you”, “Lord, have mercy on me, a sinner”, “Jesus, Mary, and Joseph”, “All for Jesus”, etc.).
  2. A partial indulgence is granted to the faithful who, led by the spirit of faith, give compassionately of themselves or of their goods to serve their brothers in need.
  3. A partial indulgence is granted to the faithful who, in a spirit of penance, voluntarily abstain from something that is licit for and pleasing to them.
  4. A partial indulgence is granted to the faithful who, in the particular circumstances of daily life, voluntarily give explicit witness to their faith before others.
  5. A partial indulgence is granted to the faithful who teach or study Christian doctrine.
  6. A partial indulgence is granted to the faithful who visit the Blessed Sacrament for adoration.
  7. A partial indulgence is granted to the faithful who, using any duly approved pious formula, make an act of thanksgiving after Communion (most good Catholic prayer books have “approved” prayers of thanksgiving after Holy Communion, such as the “Anima Christi”).
  8. A partial indulgence is granted to the faithful who, especially in preparation for sacramental confession, examine their conscience with the purpose of amendment; a separate partial indulgence is available to those who in addition recite the Act of Contrition (before confession).
  9. A partial indulgence is granted to the faithful who devoutly use articles of devotion properly blessed by either a priest or a deacon (e.g. rosaries, medals, scapulars, etc.).
  10. A partial indulgence is granted to the faithful who for their personal edification devoutly spend time in mental prayer.
  11. A partial indulgence is granted to the faithful who either at dawn, noon, or evening devoutly recite the “Angelus” with its accompanying versicles and prayer.
  12. A partial indulgence is granted to the faithful who devoutly address the Blessed Virgin Mary with some approved prayer (e.g. the “Hail Mary”, “Memorare”, “Hail Holy Queen”, etc.).
  13. A partial indulgence is granted to the faithful who devoutly invoke the care of their guardian angel with a duly approved prayer (e.g. the “Angel of God, my guardian dear” prayer).
  14. A partial indulgence is granted to the faithful who devoutly recite approved litanies (e.g. the Litany of the Most Holy Name of Jesus, of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, of the Blessed Virgin Mary, etc.).
  15. A partial indulgence is granted to the faithful who devoutly offer grace before and after meals (i.e. with the “Bless us, O Lord” prayer before and the “We give thee thanks, Almighty God” prayer afterwards).
  16. A partial indulgence is granted to the faithful who devoutly sign themselves with the sign of the cross using the customary words.
  17. A partial indulgence is granted to the faithful who recite an Act of Faith, Hope, and Charity in any legitimate formula; also to those who devoutly recite the Apostles’ or Nicene Creed.
  18. A partial indulgence, applicable only to the souls in Purgatory, is granted to the faithful who devoutly visit a cemetery and at least mentally pray for the dead.

While the last one in the list is specifically indicated for the souls in Purgatory, it is important to remember from the doctrine that all other indulgences can be offered for the souls in Purgatory as an act of charity, instead of applying the benefit personally to oneself.

An additional note: number nine speaks of articles properly blessed by a priest or deacon. Have you had your rosary, your scapular, your medal, etc. blessed?

Well, by this point I’ve covered a lot of ground. It might be time for you to go back and review some of the earlier posts (links below) to brush up on the reasons for indulgences and also the conditions for obtaining them. It’s sort of a lot to grasp at first, but with time it becomes second nature. In my final post in the series (probably on Monday), I’ll review this aspect of it again. Tomorrow, time permitting, I hope to post something about how those who are sick and/or homebound can obtain indulgences also, even when they are not able to fulfill all the prayers or works ordinarily required.

Previous posts hereherehereherehere, here, and here.

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