I was deeply moved to learn that, in response to the eagerness of Pope Francis for the earthly comforting and the eternal salvation of many who, in this present crisis, will find themselves at the point of death without an opportunity for the sacraments of the church, an extraordinary indulgence has been granted to offer comfort and reassurance to those whose circumstances of isolation or quarantine deny a priest the access to minister to them, or whom a priest in unable to attend for any other reason.
The Decree of the Apostolic Penitentiary says, “The Church prays for those who find themselves unable to receive the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick and of the Viaticum, entrusting each and every one to divine Mercy by virtue of the communion of saints and granting the faithful a Plenary Indulgence on the point of death, provided that they are duly disposed and have recited a few prayers during their lifetime (in this case the Church makes up for the three usual conditions required). For the attainment of this indulgence the use of the crucifix or the cross is recommended.”
If there is no cross or crucifix in the house to place in the room of the dying person, no anxiety is to be felt, as a recommendation is not a condition. “Duly disposed” means that a person repents of their sins and desires the forgiveness of God.
In addition, the decree tells us that the gift of other special Indulgences is granted to the faithful suffering from COVID-19 disease, as well as to health care workers, family members and all those who in any capacity, including through prayer, care for them. The decree can be read in full at https://tinyurl.com/2020indulgence
This information first appeared in our parish newsletter.