Indulgences

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nucatholic

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Hey guys, I am a new convert to be fully embraced into the Church this Fall or Spring (God-willing) and I have been talking to my many evangelical friends about the truth of the Catholic Church. They wanted me to explain the doctrine of indulgences. What are they exactly and what are they not? The big argument is that in Luthers time there were major distortions of the doctrine that led to the “selling of salvation” to the people who had enough money. I know that there have been abuses in the Church (just like every church) but I know this is not the real doctrine. Any thoughts or comments would be very appreciated!
 
In short, an indulgence is not “salvation.” It is related to the doctrine of Purgatory in that one who receives an indulgence has some time lessened from Purgatory. In order to actually utilize an indulgence, one would HAVE to be “saved” already (every single soul in Purgatory IS saved and WILL be in Heaven). The actual “time” in Purgatory is unknown, it could be mere moments, or thousands of years - or moments may SEEM like thousands of years. There is no “defined” time of Purgatory. On the other hand, “indulgences” usually have a set period of time attached to them.

Luther, and those that followed after him, objected to the “sale” of indulgences - wherein people like Tetzel were allegedly “selling” indulgences to the living to help aid their relatives in a speedier exit from Purgatory. It is errant to say that people are/were “buying” salvation - for again - to all whom indulgences would apply, they are already “saved.”

In JMJ,
Scott<<<
Former Lutheran
 
Also given that most of us spend a lot of time here on earth trying to get a lot of money. The idea of giving the money to the Church to be put to good use doing acts of charaty ect. Is not a bad idea. I am sure for some people God do reward them with grace for giving money. Remind them how God blesses those who tide. (Spelling?)
 
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nucatholic:
Hey guys, I am a new convert to be fully embraced into the Church this Fall or Spring (God-willing) and I have been talking to my many evangelical friends about the truth of the Catholic Church. They wanted me to explain the doctrine of indulgences. What are they exactly and what are they not? The big argument is that in Luthers time there were major distortions of the doctrine that led to the “selling of salvation” to the people who had enough money. I know that there have been abuses in the Church (just like every church) but I know this is not the real doctrine. Any thoughts or comments would be very appreciated!
Indulgence = the remission of temporal punishments (either plenary or partial) due to sins that have already been forgiven.
 
Building on what’s said above–indulgences are still available if you’re interested in getting them. There are two types: plenary and partial. The partial indulgences traditionally had a number of days attached–these were actually an outgrowth of the days of public penance, when one might have to do public penance for a year (or more), depending on how heinous the misdeeds.

Indulgences don’t involve exchange of money, but particular acts–for example: “A partial indulgence is granted to the faithful who use Sacred Scripture for spiritual reading with the veneration due the word of God. A plenary indulgence is granted if the reading continues for at least one half hour.” (Enchiridion Indulgentarium , 1968. No. 50). Others involve making pilgrimages and offering particular prayers there.

A person can get the indulgence for himself or on behalf of one of the souls in Purgatory (who are, as noted above, not being afforded a second chance at salvation, but rather are saved, but not quite ready to enter the full joy of heaven. Being a person who likes little homely illustrations: I call Purgatory the mudroom of the mansion which is Heaven (not perfect, but the point is Purgatory is part of Heaven–some people enter through the front door (directly), others through the mudroom (purgatory first), but none of those will end up in Hell.
 
:dancing:

Can. 992 An indulgence is the remission in the sight of God of the temporal punishment due for sins, the guilt of which has already been forgiven. A member of Christ’s faithful who is properly disposed and who fulfils certain specific conditions, may gain an indulgence by the help of the Church which, as the minister of redemption, authoritatively dispenses and applies the treasury of the merits of Christ and the Saints.

Can. 994 All members of the faithful can gain indulgences, partial or plenary, for themselves, or they can apply them by way of suffrage to the dead.

Can. 995 §1 Apart from the supreme authority in the Church, only those can grant indulgences to whom this power is either acknowledged in the law, or given by the Roman Pontiff.

§Can. 996 §1 To be capable of gaining indulgences a person must be baptised, not excommunicated, and in the state of grace at least on the completion of the prescribed work.

:gopray:
 
Thanks alot guys for clearing some of that up for me. Hope you all have a blessed day!
 
Here is a clarification I only learned of recently - and please correct me if I’m wrong on this.

When it was the practice to grant indulgences for a certain period of time (ie. 50 days, 3 months)
I used to think that referred to 50 days or 3 months LESS time in purgatory.

I’ve been told that is incorrect.
That prior to this - christians used to perform more rigorous forms of penance over longer periods of time.
The Church then granted the indulgences as a way to satisfy the period of PENANCE (as it was previously practiced)

So…I am assuming this to mean, that if I confessed to stealing, then my penance under the old system may have extended over a period of 3 months.
But when the Church granted a 3 month indulgence for a certain devotion - I could apply that to my period of penance?​

And now the system DOES refer to time in purgatory?
A partial indulgence wipes away a portion of the time spent?
And plenary is a ticket straight up to heaven?
 
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nucatholic:
What are they exactly and what are they not?
Maybe a “real-world example” might help… imagine your teenager just did something that got him/her grounded for a month. Now imagine that about halfway through the “grounding” you decide, based on his/her actions, that the penalty should be reduced to “time served”. You’ve effectively just granted an indulgence, since the temporal punishment was for a full month!

Erich

In the beginning there was nothing.
Then God said, “Let there be light,” and there was still nothing.
But at least everyone could see it.
 
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nucatholic:
What are they exactly and what are they not?
Maybe a “real-world example” might help… imagine your teenager just did something that got him/her grounded for a month. Now imagine that about halfway through the “grounding” you decide, based on his/her actions, that the penalty should be reduced to “time served”. You’ve effectively just granted an indulgence, since the temporal punishment was for a full month!

Erich

In the beginning there was nothing.
Then God said, “Let there be light,” and there was still nothing.
But at least everyone could see it.
 
40.png
Lorarose:
christians used to perform more rigorous forms of penance over longer periods of time.
The Church then granted the indulgences as a way to satisfy the period of PENANCE (as it was previously practiced)

So…I am assuming this to mean, that if I confessed to stealing, then my penance under the old system may have extended over a period of 3 months.
But when the Church granted a 3 month indulgence for a certain devotion - I could apply that to my period of penance?​

And now the system DOES refer to time in purgatory?
A partial indulgence wipes away a portion of the time spent?
And plenary is a ticket straight up to heaven?
You are (now) correct that the original imposition of time for indulgences was directly related the the penances practiced in the past. Gaining an indulgence relieved you of that perid of time for an imposed penance. Indulgences granted for souls in purgatory (or for yourself should you go to Purgatory) indicated the same period of time but was not understood by the Church to indicate time as we experience it. In regard to Purgatory, the indulgence grants the equivalent forgiveness of temporal punishment in Purgatory as was provided by the acts done in this life. However, speculations on how this “time” is aplied are just that; speculations. I don’t believe that this has been defined as a matter of faith. We trust in the mercy of God who has given the Church the power to grant indulgences.

Plenary indulgences are often accompanied by the words “under the usual conditions” and those conditions are basically an act of perfect contrition (to the best of my knowledge anyway). An plenary indulgence will grant complete forgiveness of all temporal punishment for the forgiven sin in question. I say this because if you were to commit two sins but only experience perfect contrition for one of them, the temporal punishment for the other would remain.

As has been stated before, indulgences only apply to those sins for which you have been forgiven. In other words, they are not a means of substituting repentence and confession.
 
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