Gaining Indulgences


Hi all,

I was wondering whether anyone could help me with a query.

I was reading the Enchiridion Indulgentiarum’s norms at the beginning. I only have the 1968 version but I checked on the Vatican’s website and the current version has this numbered as 26.

It states that:

“The deaf and dumb can gain indulgences attached … to private prayers, if they recite them mentally or with signs, or if they merely read them with their eyes.”

My question is: does this mean that people who are not deaf and dumb (or otherwise impeded) do not gain indulgences unless they speak the private prayers aloud?

I know that the requirement to speak other prayers aloud (such as the LOTH) has been dropped, or at least is no longer mentioned. But it would seem that this remains in force.

Any help?


I doubt one would need to read aloud in order to gain an indulgence. For instance, the Church grants a plenary indulgence under the normal conditions for reading scripture for one-half hour. It need not be read aloud. There is also a plenary for a half-hour visit to the Blessed Sacrament. One would never imagine that the visit would be accompanied with prayers said aloud. I’m speaking off the cuff, although I do have the Manual of Indulgences published by the USCCB. I’ll take a look at the item you mentioned.


Ok, I looked up that citation and it is listed in the section called *Norms on Indulgences. *If you look at N23, it says, "To gain an indulgence it is sufficient to recite the prayer alternately with a companion or to follow it mentally while it is being recited by another."

This would be in the case of the rosary being recited in Church, to which an indulgence is attached. N26 elaborates on the instruction so that deaf and mute persons are not prohibited from gaining the indulgence on account of their handicap, whether or not the grant is for public or private recitations. The Norm does not thereby mean that hearing persons must recite aloud.

There are so many wonderful grants from the Church that have no requirement to recite anything, such as making a pilgrimage to a shrine, assisting at a priest's jubilee mass, a visit to the cemetery on any day from Nov. 1 to 8 and pray, "if only mentally" for the departed.

You may want to get a copy of the Manual, since it is relatively inexpensive and has good information if you desire to gain these indulgences for yourself, or as suffrage for the Poor Souls.


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