17 March 2009

Who Couldn't Use a Plenary Indulgence?

Canon Wiener was kind enough to send the upcoming schedule at St. Francis de Sales Oratory. The feast of St. Benedict is approaching, a patronal feast of the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest. Any member of the faithful assisting at Mass at an Institute Oratory or Chapel may obtain a plenary indulgence under the usual conditions.

The schedule:

Thursday, March 19th
Feast of St. Joseph, Spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary and Patron of the Universal Church
8 am low Mass with organ (Blessing of the Saint Joseph’s Bread)
6:30 pm Solemn High Mass (Saint Joseph’s Bread available)

Saturday, March 21st

Feast of St. Benedict of Nursia, Patron of the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest
8 am low Mass with organ
12:10 pm Solemn High Mass - Gentlemen’s Schola
Plenary Indulgence in all Masses of the Institute available

Sunday, March 22nd
4th Sunday in Lent – “Laetare Sunday”
8 am low Mass with organ
10 am Solemn High Mass - St. Nicholas Children’s Choir

Wednesday, March 25th
The Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary
8 am low Mass with organ
12:15 pm low Mass with organ
6:30 pm Solemn High Mass – Gentlemen’s Schola

Note that in addition to the described work, obtaining a plenary indulgence also has the following conditions (see
Norms which are summarized below):

Sacramental confession. A single sacramental confession suffices for gaining several plenary indulgences; but Communion must be received and prayer for the intention of the Sovereign Pontiff must be recited for the gaining of each plenary indulgence.

Eucharistic Communion.

Prayer for the intention of the Sovereign Pontiff. The condition of praying for the intention of the Sovereign Pontiff is fully satisfied by reciting one Our Father and one Hail Mary; nevertheless, each one is free to recite any other prayer according to his piety and devotion.

It is further required that all attachment to sin, even venial sin, be absent. If the latter disposition is in any way less than perfect or if the prescribed three conditions are not fulfilled, the indulgence will be partial only.

Norms on Indulgences
[from the Enchiridion of Indulgences issued on 29 June 1968.]

An indulgence is the remission before God of the temporal punishment due for sins already forgiven as far as their guilt is concerned. This remission the faithful with the proper dispositions and under certain determined conditions acquire through the intervention of the Church which, as minister of the Redemption, authoritatively dispenses and applies the treasury of the satisfaction won by Christ and the Saints.

An indulgence is partial or plenary, according as it removes either part or all of the temporal punishment due for sin.

No one, acquiring indulgences, can apply them to other living persons.

Partial as well as plenary indulgences can always be applied to the departed by way of suffrage.

The grant of a partial indulgence is designated only with the words "partial indulgence," without any determination of days or years.

The faithful, who at least with contrite heart perform an action to which a partial indulgence is attached, obtain, in addition to the remission of temporal punishment acquired by the action itself, an equal remission of punishment through the intervention of the Church.


Anonymous said...


I mean, how does on actually "assist" at or participate at the old Mass?

I have the Latin-English missal.

But it is impossible to keep and follow along with where the priest is. I'm always getting lost. I have no idea where he is at most of time.

I can get back in timing when the priest hits a major and noticEable part, like the Gloria or the Kyrie.

But most of time I'm lost.

So, I repeat, what are the mass attenders supposed to do during the Latin Mass?

Here's what I do. I read and pray parts of the Mass in English, even though I know I am not in sync with the priest. Then I just make may own prayers to God about things that are on my mind. Then I look at and reflect on the images of saints and God in the Church. I attend either at St. Frances de Sales Oratory or St. Mary's Assumption [SSPX]. Both have beautiful, traditional interiors.

Is there anyone out there that does something different at the Traditional Mass that I don't know about? Is there something I need to learn?


thetimman said...

Javier, every person who attends Mass and unites his intentions with the Priest "assists" at Mass. Participation with the TLM, just as it is with the NO, is at its peak as an interior participation. Ask yourself, at the consecration in the novus ordo, what are you saying out loud? Answer: the same as at the consecration in the TLM: nothing. And yet this is the apex of the Mass.

In the TLM, at High Mass, you have parts to sing aloud, or even recite aloud. There is more to "active" (more accurately, "actual") participation than merely saying something out loud. Mystery, quiet, the Church's music and chant, all draw us into the Divine mystery and the Sacrifice of Calvary.

It doesn't matter if you don't "keep up" with the Priest. His action at the altar is efficacious just the same. Pray from your heart. Use the missal if it helps. Don't if it doesn't. Love God, offer your prayers, and ask Him to help you. Ask Mary to use and perfect your efforts.

I would recommend talking to your spiritual director or confessor. God bless you.

Anonymous said...

The Liturgical Movement began in the mid-nineteenth century (with monks in Germany), got a new lease on life in America in the early twentieth century and received a certain kind of "officialdom" with the development of a liturgical commission by Pope Pius XII in 1943(or was it '47?), which turned out to be the immediate preparatory task force for the liturgical work of Vatican II (although not always carefully followed). The rhetoric associated with these movements (not necessarily the German 19th century project, but afterwards) stressed the enhancement of the participation of the laity in the Mass. Interestingly enough, before the 1950s, this never meant that the role of the poeple should be changed or that the liturgy should be renovated. Throughout most of this development, the "enhancement of the laity's participation in the liturgy" always had more to do with making the rubrics and the words of the liturgy more easily comprehensible to the people. "Greater participation" meant, specifically, understanding better what was going on, not taking an active role in the sanctuary. (I do not say this to criticize later developments that drew the laity more into various functions of the liturgy, I'm just making an historical clarification here.) Accordingly, there is no single correct way to use the missal at the Latin Mass, nor is it required or even especially important to follow word by word as much as possible. What seems consistent with the Church's motives is that the missal be consulted (or read)during Mass to do whatever is helpful to the individual in understanding what is occurring at a particular moment in the Holy Sacrifice and to be drawn into that. If an attempt at a word-for-word reading seems helpful, do that (although if it is a frenetic task, it probably isn't that helpful for you). If simply scanning the ritual words sufficiently to recall what this particular Mass prayer teaches or says is sufficient to draw you more deeply into that moment of the Mass, then that is a good practice. (For example, even if you can neither hear the words clearly nor understand them easily, you know exactly what is happening at the altar when the priest is pronouncing the words of consecration, so there is probably little need to ever try to follow that precious part of the Mass with your missal; surely you can be very present to the consecration at this point in your life without an y help from a missal.) Many of us found the various statues or other religious iconography that graced our churches the enhanced our entering into the movement of a particuar portion of the Mass in days past (and in the present, too, at beautiful churches like StFrdeS.)Is that helpful?

Anonymous said...


I like what TheTimMan wrote, that he prefers "actual participation" rather than "active participation." Bravo. That's a good one.

Here's what I want to achieve at the Traditional Mass: I want to figure out a way to be in pretty close sync with what the the priest and the servers are praying up at the altar for the entire time of the altar.

I think the text of the Traditional Mass is very edifying, profound, beautiful, Catholic, and uplifting, and really brings glory to God. (Unlike the Novus Order mass which is wishy-washy, watered down, drab, blaise, etc.)

I want to participate by praying along with the priest and the servers.

I guess that makes me odd. But that's what I want to do.

I guess, deep down, I think that would be best for many or most other Catholics too who attend the Traditional Mass.

There is a very great danger of just useless daydreaming, I have found personally.

It is just a shame to not know what the priest and the servers are saying, I feel. The Mass is not just a matter of the heart and the spirit, but the head (mind) too.

I think I might create a new little paperback mass book (without the changeable readings and prayers) that makes it easier to keep in sync with the priest and the servers, and to get back in sync with them when you get lost.

I guess deep down I think that everyone who is participating at the Traditional Mass should be participating in a role that is just like what the servers up at the altar are doing, except without the audible vocalizations.

I think the Traditional Mass has little chance of a major comeback as long as people don't know how to participate at, and arent' given and shown a way to participate that will seem meaningful to them.

Just telling a newcomer to listen to the music and meditate on the images in the church building really isn't going to be enough for most of today's Catholics.

Anyone agree?

It might give this title to my little mass book:


Or how about:


Anyone want to see my little mass book when and if I get it done? I'd like to make it available to a few "testers" who would try it out and give me feedback.

My goal is to help million and millions more Catholics return to the Traditional Mass. Or, at least one or two Catholics. Whatever is God's will.


thetimman said...

Javier, thanks, but the "actual participation" idea is one mentioned by several good liturgical writers, and is closer to the meaning of the Latin phrase used.

May I recommend a few books? Angelus Press' Missal or the Baronius Press Missal both vie for the gold standard of Missals. If keeping up is still difficult, you may want to start with Angelus Press' "For the Visitor at Mass" booklet (approximate title). sanctamissa.org has wonderful resources for the TLM, including videos for priests to use to practice the TLM, and for servers. You can see and hear everything, hit pause, etc.

Some other great books: Dom Prosper Gueranger's "Liturgical Year" has great reflections for the ordinary and the propers of Mass for each day of the year. It will set you back a bit, so if that is not in the realm of possibilities try Gueranger's one-volume "The Holy Mass". T

Try also Maria Montessori's "The Mass Explained to Children"--(seriously-- no offense, I have it myself; she is the famous founder of the Montessori method, and this book is great for adults brought up in the post V2 wasteland. ). Children were a lot more knowledgeable when she wrote this.

There are others, and I invite any reader to recommend resources. God bless.

Anonymous said...


I'll check out those resources, Timman. Thank you.