Indulgences and the Way of the Cross
(Viae Crucis exercitium)


A plenary indulgence is granted to the faithful, who make the pious exercise of the Way of the Cross.

In the Way of the Cross Christians recall the sufferings of Christ while going from the praetorium of Pilate, where He was condemned to death, to the mount of Calvary, where He died on the cross for our salvation.

The gaining of the plenary indulgence is regulated by the following norms:

  1. The pious exercise must be made before stations of the Way of the Cross legitimately erected.
     
  2. For the erection of the Way of the Cross fourteen crosses are required, to which it is customary to add fourteen pictures or images, which represent the stations of Jerusalem.
     
  3. According to the more common practice, the pious exercise consists of fourteen pious readings, to which some vocal prayers are added. However, nothing more is required than a pious meditation on the Passion and Death of the Lord, which need not be a particular consideration of the individual mysteries of the stations.
     
  4. A movement from one station to the next is required.

But if the pious exercise is made publicly and if it is not possible for all taking part to go in an orderly way from station to station, it suffices if at least the one conducting the exercise goes from station to station, the others remaining in their place.

Those who are "impeded" can gain the same indulgence, if they spend at least one half an hour in pious reading and meditation on the Passion and Death of our Lord Jesus Christ.

For those belonging to Oriental rites, amongst whom this pious exercise is not practiced, the respective Patriarchs can determine some other pious exercise in memory of the Passion and Death of our Lord Jesus Christ for the gaining of this indulgence.

To acquire a plenary indulgence it is necessary to perform the work to which the indulgence is attached and to fulfill the following three conditions:

  • sacramental confession,
     
  • Eucharistic Communion, and
     
  • prayer for the intention of the Sovereign Pontiff.

From the Enchiridion of Indulgences (June 29, 1968)