Vatican grants 'indulgence' for Madrid pilgrims
The Vatican on Thursday granted a "plenary indulgence" -- forgiveness from temporal penance for sins -- for attendees at the Catholic World Youth Day celebrations later this month.
Anyone who is not able to attend but prays "for the spiritual aims of this meeting and for its successful outcome" will get a partial indulgence, said the Sacred Apostolic Penitentiary -- a Vatican court for the forgiveness of sins.
Indulgences are an arcane Roman Catholic Church practice administered by the Vatican that helped inspire Martin Luther's Protestant Reformation in the 16th century.
The Catholic Church traditionally grants indulgences on World Youth Days.
Pope Benedict XVI will travel to Madrid on August 18 for the last four days of the six-day World Youth Day festival at which around a million young Catholics from around the world are expected.
The Vatican said the indulgences would be conditional on pilgrims going to confession and taking communion and will be granted only following attendance at the final mass in Madrid on August 21.
Even then pilgrims will only receive the indulgence if, "having gone to confession and truly repented, they receive Holy Communion and pray in accordance with the intentions of the Holy Father," the Vatican added.
© 2011 AFP