Catechism Question.

The main point of my question I have bold.

1472 To understand this doctrine and practice of the Church, it is necessary to understand that sin has a double consequence. Grave sin deprives us of communion with God and therefore makes us incapable of eternal life, the privation of which is called the “eternal punishment” of sin. On the other hand every sin, even venial, entails an unhealthy attachment to creatures, which must be purified either here on earth, or after death in the state called Purgatory. This purification frees one from what is called the “temporal punishment” of sin. These two punishments must not be conceived of as a kind of vengeance inflicted by God from without, but as following from the very nature of sin. A conversion which proceeds from a fervent charity can attain the complete purification of the sinner in such a way that no punishment would remain.

Is this talking about an indulgence or something else?


Not strictly.

It’s speaking in general about the fact that there are two effects of sin, and that one of them is the temporal punishment due to sin. One of the ways that this punishment may be removed is through the penitent’s charity through which he may be completely converted. That, in particular, is the subject of the sentence you highlighted.

Another way, as the catechism mentions, is through the prayers of the saints. Also, of course, are indulgences.

So, while indulgences are the topic of that section in the catechism, they aren’t the only thing that the sentence you point out are talking about…

Perfect contrition is also able to remit all punishment for sin, but it is rather a rare occurrence. Maybe you will remember Jesus’s words in the gospel, concerning the penitent woman:

New American Standard Bible
“For this reason I say to you, her sins, which are many, have been forgiven, for she loved much; but he who is forgiven little, loves little.” Lk. 7:47

Interesting… I don’t recall having heard this. Can you provide any references?

Perfect contrition is salvific, remitting eternal punishment for one’s sins. Are you familiar with the CCC-1452 on this? I gave the whole link from the Gospel of Luke, but the account of this woman is also in Mt. 26:6-13. Especially beautiful is Jesus’ comment, “Amen I say to you, wherever in the whole world this gospel is reached, this also that she has done shall be told in memory of her.” Her forgiveness was total! Whether or not there is “temporal” punishment, we don’t know, but contrition of that intensity and sorrow will surely be blessed by God!

Yes, I am… which is why I asked you where you were getting this from. Let’s look at it:

1452 When it arises from a love by which God is loved above all else, contrition is called “perfect” (contrition of charity). Such contrition remits venial sins; it also obtains forgiveness of mortal sins if it includes the firm resolution to have recourse to sacramental confession as soon as possible.

Notice that CCC 1452 talks about the remittance of venial sins; it also talks about the possible forgiveness of mortal sins. However, it doesn’t say a single thing about the “remittance of the temporal punishment due to sin”, which is what we’re talking about in the context of purgatory. So, in the context of contrition, we’re talking about forgiveness, but in the context of indulgences, we’re talking about the temporal punishment due to sin. These two are two distinct issues, and CCC 1452 is only addressing the former, not the latter. On the other hand, CCC 1459 addresses satisfaction: “[a]bsolution takes away sin, but it does not remedy all the disorders sin has caused.”

I gave the whole link from the Gospel of Luke, but the account of this woman is also in Mt. 26:6-13… Her forgiveness was total!

Right, but again, this is about forgiveness, not about satisfaction.

I think you misread my posts, Gorgias. I was talking about “eternal” punishment being remitted (in the post you questioned) which the CCC teaches. I later stated that when it comes to “temporal” punishment, we just don’t know. My meaning was that we can never know how God will act in that regard.

It means, in simplest terms, that our justice is defined by the greatest commandments, to love God with our whole heart, soul, mind, and strength and our neighbor as ourselves. When this love is perfect, then sin is excluded; we’re perfect in holiness.

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