The “Apostolic Pardon” at the Hour of Death – Full Remission of Temporal Punishment Due to Sin

His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI Imparting the Apostolic Blessing upon All

By Jayson Brunelle

The “Apostolic Pardon” or, as it is sometimes called, the “Apostolic Blessing,” can be obtained from any priest at the moment of death, in articulo mortis.  Generally, after the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick has been administered, along with the Sacraments of Penance and the Holy Eucharist, or Viaticum (Bread for the journey), the priest may use either of the following formulas to impart the “Apostolic Pardon,” which liberates the soul from all temporal punishment due to sin that has already been forgiven in the Sacrament of Penance, thereby enabling the soul to gain immediate entrance into heaven.  I encourage my readers to print this post and carry a copy of this “Apostolic Pardon” in your wallet or purse in case of an emergency, as many priests, although they possess the faculties to administer this blessing, are not aware of it.  Having it on hand and readily available in an emergency situation could quite literally save you or another soul from the equivalent of years of suffering  and penance in purgatory.  Either formula may be used:

(1) “Through the holy mysteries of our redemption may almighty God release you from all punishments in this life and in the life to come. May he open to you the gates of paradise and welcome you to everlasting joy.” 

(2) “By the authority which the Apostolic See has given me, I grant you a full pardon and the remission of all your sins in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.”

The Handbook of Indulgences #28 states: “Priests who minister the sacraments to the Christian faithful who are in a life-and-death situation should not neglect to impart to them the apostolic blessing, with its attached indulgence. But if a priest cannot be present, holy mother Church lovingly grants such persons who are rightly disposed a plenary indulgence to be obtained in articulo mortis, at the approach of death, provided they regularly prayed in some way during their lifetime. The use of a crucifix or a cross is recommended in obtaining this plenary indulgence. In such a situation the three usual conditions required in order to gain a plenary indulgence are substituted for by the condition ‘provided they regularly prayed in some way.'”

9 comments

  1. My mother received this blessing a couple of days before her death in a beautiful and emotional ceremony given by a very special priest while my mother was in a hospice hospital. It gave our family great solace and peace to know our mother was heading straight to heaven upon her death.

  2. As a Catholic priest who has administered the Apostolic Pardon many times, I would like to add one clarification. According to Fr. Thomas Petri O.P., one of my theology professors, the Apostolic Pardon remits temporal punishment due to sin to the extent that one is detached from sin. In otherwards, if one confesses their sins, receives absolution and the Apostolic Pardon, but still “longs to commit” a particular serious sin (my words), not just temptation, then some purification in purgatory may be needed. What constitutes “attachment to sin”? That would require more investigation. Suffice it to say, we always have to remember that our voluntary and involuntary sacrifices, suffering, and prayers throughout life can atone for temporal punishment that we might owe due to our sins, so that even if their is still an “attachment to sin” when we receive the Apostolic Pardon, these others lifetime sacrifices will compensate for any temporal punishment that might remain.

  3. My mother received this pardon on her death bed about an hour before she passed away. She was a very holy woman and this was a gift of the Lord. Very helpful to her family also.

  4. I have asked our Lord ever since I was a little child to help me to skip over Purgatory and fly straight into Heaven and His embrace. I will be carrying this prayer about with me so that through His Grace, I may in the dying from this life, have my greatest prayer given. How wonderful is that! jane

  5. My wife received this wonderful & great blessing a few day before she passed away. What a wonderful gift to receive from the Catholic Church. I am so happy she is in Heaven. She was such a great person who lived a good & holy life, & she was so gentile. Dave.

    1. Dear Dave,

      Thank you so very much for sharing this tremendous grace given to your saintly wife and to you, for your edification and consolation!!! That’s quite remarkable, indeed! Wow! I sincerely hope and pray that my wife and I will likewise be so blessed. BTW, I got quite a kick out of your email handle, “microwavedave” … Awesome!!! 🙂

      Take Care, and May the Peace and Love of the Two Hearts be Always With You!

      Jay

  6. My husband received this blessing on Ash Wednesday a few hours before he died. What a great gift we have in the Catholic Faith. Mary Ann

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