Cardinal Mauro Piacenza is the Major Penitentiary, the head of the Apostolic Penitentiary, the ecclesial tribunal responsible for issues related to the forgiveness of sins in the Church. In this interview with Vatican News, Cardinal Piacenza explains the Decree published on Friday, which grants special indulgences to those suffering from Covid-19 (the “coronavirus”), and to their caregivers, friends and family, and those who assist them by their prayers. An indulgence “is a remission before God of the temporal punishment due to sins whose guilt has already been forgiven, which the faithful Christian who is duly disposed gains under certain prescribed conditions through the action of the Church which, as the minister of redemption, dispenses and applies with authority the treasury of the satisfactions of Christ and the saints” (St Paul VI, Indulgentiarum doctrina, Norm. 1; cf. The Catechism of the Catholic Church, “Indulgences”, para. 1471-1479. Vatican News (VN): Can you explain the origin of the decree on the indulgence in this time of emergency on account of Covid-19? Cardinal Major Penitentiary Mauro Piacenca (MP): The supreme law of the Church is the salvation of souls. The Church is in the world to proclaim the Gospel and to offer the sacraments; that is, the superabundance of gifts and divine grace that are put at the disposition of all. The crisis we are going through at this time, now unfortunately affecting many countries throughout the world, is manifest to everyone. We are living in a situation of emergency: there are hospitals that are at risk of not being able to receive the sick; there are sick people who are forced to live in isolation, and sadly, even to die without the comfort and closeness of their loved ones; there are sick people who are lacking the closeness of a priest for the Anointing of the Sick and for Confession. There are very many people in quarantine, and entire cities in which the population remains closed up in their homes because of the norms issued by the authorities to contain the contagion.