Friday, September 28, 2007

I Love Indulging

Understanding Indulgences is quite a difficult topic among Catholics. So it is expected that Protestants don't understand it ether. I came across a good explanation of it while listing to Catholic Answers Live. Patrick Madrid was the guest and did a fabulous job. It's around the 20 min mark.


Kev said...

Got this from Wikepedia. A lot to digest and very much against what the scriptures teach from a humble protestant perspective.

Temporal punishment and indulgences

In Catholic theology, the salvation made possible by Jesus allows the faithful sinner eventual admittance to Heaven. Baptism forgives all of the baptized person's existing sins; any sin committed after baptism incurs both guilt and a penalty that must be addressed. These are the sins addressed in reconciliation. With the act of penance after reconciliation, both the guilt and eternal punishment for the confessed sins are canceled, though not necessarily the entire temporal punishment. Furthermore, human beings by nature commit many venial, "light" sins daily which are unconfessed and, though they don't break communion with God, do damage one spiritually, and temporal punishment remains for these. This punishment may be remitted in Purgatory, or by indulgence. The granting of an indulgence is the spiritual reassignment, as it were, of existing merit to an individual requiring that merit.

Indulgences occur when the Church, acting by virtue of its authority, applies existing merit from the Church’s treasury to an individual. The individual gains the indulgence by participating in certain activities, most often the recitation of prayers. By decree of Pope Pius V in 1567, following the Council of Trent, it is forbidden to attach the receipt of an indulgence to any financial act, including the giving of alms. In addition, the only punishment remitted by an indulgence is existing punishment, that is, for sins already committed. Indulgences do not remit punishment for future sins, as those sins have yet to be committed. Thus, indulgences are not a “license to sin” or a “get-out-of-Hell-free” card; they are a means for the sinner to “pay” the “wages” of sin.

Indulgences are "plenary" or "partial”:

"plenary" indulgences remit all of the existing temporal punishment due for the individual’s sins. An individual can only earn one plenary indulgence per day.
"partial" indulgences remit only a part of the existing punishment.
Before the Second Vatican Council, partial indulgences were stated as a term of days, weeks, months, or years. This has resulted in Catholics and non-Catholics alike believing that indulgences remit a specific period of time equal to the length of the soul's stay in Purgatory. This was not true, rather the stated length of time actually indicated that the indulgence was equal to the amount of remission the individual would have earned by performing a canonical penance for that period of time. For example, the amount of punishment remitted by a “forty day” indulgence would be equal to the amount of punishment remitted by the individual performing forty days of penance.

The original reasoning for the "days" notation was, in the early days of the Church, a person's only means of returning to the state of grace was performing penances equal to the actions he had committed. Because a person may not receive Eucharist while not in a state of grace, he must perform these penances if he wished to be Catholic. However, because some people had been professional thieves, prostitutes, or some other sinful individual, he would have to undergo hundreds of years of penance to get remission for his sins. To alleviate this, the Church instituted certain actions or prayers which would cleanse him for the amount of time noted.

In addition to remitting punishment for the individual's own existing sins, an individual may perform the actions necessary to gain an indulgence with the intention of gaining the indulgence for a specific individual in Purgatory. In doing so, the individual both gains the indulgence for the soul in Purgatory, and performs a spiritual act of mercy.

To gain an indulgence the individual must be “in communion” with the Church, and have the intention of performing the work for which the indulgence is granted. To be “in communion,” the individual must be a baptized Catholic without any un-reconciled mortal sins (if there are any un-reconciled mortal sins, the individual has cut himself/herself off from God and cannot receive the indulgence) and must not be dissenting from the Church’s teaching. The individual must also intend to receive the indulgence.

Generally, a plenary indulgence requires the following conditions in order to be valid (in addition to the acts performed to earn the indulgence).

reconciliation, which is required for all indulgences
receiving the Eucharist
All attachment to sin must be absent.
pray for the intentions of the Holy Father. An Our Father and a Hail Mary said for the intentions of the Pontiff is sufficient, although you are free to substitute other prayers of your own choice.
It is recommended that the Communion be received at Mass on the same day that the indulgence is earned. Reconciliation may be within a prudent period before or after the act (typically, one week, though during the Great Jubilee, the Vatican specifically allowed confession within three weeks of the act). Several indulgences may be earned under the same confession (reconciliation). If any of these additional conditions is missing, the plenary indulgence will instead be partial.

Penitential redemptions were a milder form of indulgence that cut down the time of penance.[2]

Indulgenced acts

The following acts are examples of those which result in the award of an indulgence:

An act of spiritual communion, expressed in any devout formula whatsoever, is endowed with a partial indulgence.
A partial indulgence is granted the Christian faithful who devoutly spend time in mental prayer.
A plenary indulgence is granted when the rosary is recited in a church or oratory or when it is recited in a family, a religious community, or a pious association. A partial indulgence is granted for its recitation in all other circumstances.
A partial indulgence is granted the Christian faithful who read sacred Scripture with the veneration due God’s word and as a form of spiritual reading. The indulgence will be a plenary one when such reading is done for at least one-half hour [provided the other conditions are met].
A partial indulgence is granted to the Christian faithful who devoutly sign themselves with the cross while saying the customary formula: "In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen."
A partial indulgence is granted for the recitation of the Angelus.
A partial indulgence is granted to Christian faithful who on day of the liturgical feast of any saint recite in that Saint's honor a prayer taken from the Missal or other prayer approved by legimate authority.
A partial indulgence is granted for reading the Holy Scripture at least 15 minutes per day.

superbowlxlwasfixed said...

This issue was the crux of the split in the church. This is going to sound harsh, but I have a question. I would like someone to tell me where in the Bible you will find that the church has been given the ability to pardon sins for a price. This is what indulgences were. If they have changed, then how.