Privilegium Altaris

Privilegium Altaris is a privilege granted by the pope that masses for the dead said before a certain altar may procure an indulgence to the deceased. Forever and for all days (privilegium perpetuum et quotidi (anum) this privilege has been granted by Benedict XIII (de dat. 20 Julii, 1724, "omnium saluti") to all patriarchal, metropolitan, and cathedral churches for the high altar. Generally it is granted for seven years only (septennium), running from the day of the grant. The indulgence can be obtained for the dead if a mass of requiem (called sometimes a black mass) be said before the privileged altar; but if the rite do not allow of a votive mass, nor, in consequence, of a requiem (i.e. in fest. displici, coram exposito, etc.), the application or intention "pro defuncto" is sufficient, as in such a case no mass of requiem can be said even at the privileged altar. On the Day of Al-Souls all priests before altars can use this privilege (Decret. Congreg. Sacr. Indulg. 19 Maii, 1761). — Aschbach, Kirchen-Lex. s.v. SEE ASYLUM.

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