Pope authorises indulgences for Adelaide Day of Sick

On the occasion of the three-day World Day of the Sick commemoration in Adelaide from Thursday, the faithful can receive special indulgences for caring for people who are ill or suffer from mental illness.

Catholic News Service reports that Pope Benedict XVI authorised the indulgences to encourage Catholics to show "Christian compassion and social solidarity toward the ill, especially toward those affected by mental illness," according to Cardinal Francis Stafford, head of the Apostolic Penitentiary, the Vatican tribunal that regulates indulgences.

The Vatican published the cardinal's statement on Friday, announcing the indulgences and outlining the requirements for receiving them.

An indulgence is a remission of the temporal punishment due for sins committed.

The focus of the 14th World Day of the Sick in Adelaide will be mental health and the importance of offering proper care and support for people who suffer from mental illness.

Cardinal Stafford said the special indulgences include the normal requirements set by the church for all plenary indulgences: that within a reasonably short period of time the person goes to confession, receives the Eucharist and prays for the intentions of the pope, all in a spirit of total detachment from the attraction of sin.

Special plenary indulgences, he said, would be given to those who fulfill the normal requirements in conjunction with participating "with devotion" in a sacred ceremony in the St. Francis Xavier Cathedral in Adelaide or "any other place established by ecclesial authorities" dedicated to celebrating World Day of the Sick.

Cardinal Stafford said Catholics who, "like good Samaritans," work to help those who are ill -- especially the mentally ill -- and will not be able to attend a World Day of the Sick ceremony because they will be on duty could still earn the indulgence. On Feb. 11 they must "generously offer their loving assistance to the sick for at least a couple of hours," caring for them as they would care for Christ, he said.

Meanwhile the Adelaide Advertiser reports today that one of the speakers at the three-day conference has said that childhood mental health intervention must begin at pregnancy in order to reverse the increasing trend of behavioural and emotional disorders among young South Australians.

Dr Prue McEvoy, a child psychiatrist at the Women's and Children's Hospital, warned that the mental health and emotional well-being of pregnant women has a direct link to the development of their child.

"While attention tends to be focused on the physical health of pregnant women, just as much needs to be done to reduce mental health stressors," Dr McEvoy said.

Dr McEvoy, chairwoman of the Adelaide Archdiocese's Child Protection Council, will address more than 200 health professionals and Catholic clergy from across the globe on the issue of mental health and pregnancy at the conference.

Pope authorizes indulgences for caring for the mentally ill (Catholic News Service 3/2/06)
Emotional wellbeing starts in the womb (The Advertiser 6/2/06)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
World Day of the Sick
Apostolic Penitentiary | Decree according to which Special Indulgences are conceded on occasion of the «14th World Day of the Sick» (January 18, 2006)

Church "drawn into politics" by accepting Govt hospitality (CathNews 1/2/06)
Wollongong priest to link mental health with human dignity (CathNews 24/1/06)
Personalities aid World Day of Sick mental illness focus (CathNews 9/1/06)
Pope announces mental health focus for Adelaide World Day of Sick (CathNews 9/12/05)
Adelaide to host World Day of the Sick (CathNews 30/9/05)
Cameroon hosting today's World Day of the Sick (CathNews 11/2/05)
Lourdes celebrates World Day of the Sick (CathNews 10/2/04)
Call for better community care for aged on World Day of the Sick (CathNews 11/2/03)

Indulgences for the World Day of the Sick (Vatican Information Service 3/2/06)
Holy See announces Plenary Indulgence for World Day of Sick (Catholic News Agency 3/2/06)
Plenary indulgence available for World Day for the Sick (Catholic World News 3/2/06)
Pope Grants Indulgences on World Day of Sick (Zenit 3/2/06)
Pope salutes pro-life group (Reuters 5/2/06)
Pope: a clash of cultures on the issue of life (AsiaNews.it 4/2/06)
Pope thanks world's religious, celebrates day for consecrated life (Catholic News Service 2/2/06)
Pope, Curia to discuss reconciliation with SSPX (Catholic World News 3/2/06)
Hill Christened After Pope John Paul II (The Universe 4/2/06)
Pope Praises the Example of Those Consecrated (Zenit 2/2/06)
Consecrated Women: Pivotal for Evangelization (Zenit 2/2/06)

6 Feb 2006