Pope Benedict XVI grants special indulgences for World Day of the Sick

11 Feb 2006


11 FEBRUARY 2006



The Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, has granted a special plenary indulgence
to Catholics who take part in ceremonies in celebration of the 14th World Day
of the Sick today.

In churches, hospitals and nursing homes across Ireland, special Masses and
blessing of the sick are taking place throughout the day. In asking God’s
blessing on all who are sick, Pope Benedict has made special mention in this,
his first message for World Day of the Sick (see www.catholichealthcare.ie for
full text), of those affected by mental disability noting that they can be
“more easily marginalised by society and their own families.”

Catholics who today visit hospitals and homes, and charitably assist, as good
Samaritans, those who are sick “especially those who because of some mental
disability require greater patience diligence and attention” will receive a
plenary indulgence.


Notes for Editors
* The Catholic Healthcare Commission was established in 2000, representing
the Bishops’ Conference and the Conference of Religious of Ireland. The
Commission was formed to promote common interests in matters of healthcare
and its services. See www.catholichealthcare.ie for Pope Benedict XVI’s
message for the 14th World Day of the Sick and for all previous papal messages. Details on diocesan events to mark this day for 2006 are also
on this site.

* According to the section entitled ‘Obtaining indulgence from God through
the Church’ as contained in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, the following
paragraphs state:

1478: An indulgence is obtained through the Church, who by virtue of the
power of binding and loosing granted her by Christ Jesus, intervenes in
favour of individual Christians and opens for them the treasury of the
merits of Christ and the saints to obtain from the Father of mercies the remission of the temporal punishments due for their sins. Thus the Church
does not want simply to come to the aid of these Christians, but also to
spur them to works of devotion, penance and charity.

1479: Since the faithful departed now being purified are also members of
same communion of saints, one way we can help them is to obtain indulgences
for them, so that the temporal punishments due for their sins may be remitted.

* World Day of the Sick is a day of intense prayer for all who are suffering
pain, infirmity and sickness. In this way we will express our solidarity
with those who suffer, a solidarity arising from our awareness of the mystery
of suffering and its place in God’s loving plan for every individual. Those
who dedicate themselves to the world of health care enter into the most intimate
part of the individual into his/her existence, as a spiritual being. As we care
for the sick and needy we bring the good news of the Gospel alive by offering
ourselves as authentic signs of love, “the Kingdom of God is close at hand”
Mark 1: 15

* World Day of the Sick was established in 1993 by Pope John Paul II and is
being celebrated this year in Adelaide, Australia.

* Each year the World Day of the Sick is celebrated on 11 February internationally
in a different Marian shrine. For this year, the Catholic Church is focusing
on calling the attention of public opinion to the problems connected with mental
disturbance that now afflicts one-fifth of humanity and is a real social-health
care emergency.

Further information:

Martin Long Director of Communications (086 172 7678)
Brenda Drumm Communications Officer (087 233 7797)