Fact check please!


More stories from history class:

We just started the Reformation. In order for us to fully grasp Matin Luther’s and the Church’s teachings on justification and salvation, our history teacher explained indulgences.

Here was his presentation (paraphrased):

"The Church at the time thought, ‘hey we have extra good works from Jesus, Mary, the Saints, etc, why don’t we sell these good works to our parishioners who may not do good works every day of their lives?’

The Church even had a “Treasury of Merits” which was the good works themselves. An offical Indulgence office was set up and it would be the jobs of certain priests to go town to town and sell indulgences."

He called them “professional Indulgence salesmen” (that is verbatum)

“A person could buy an Indulgence” (that was actually written down in our notes)

Oh but it gets better! Here was his definition of Purgatory:

“A place of Judgement where you go before going to either heaven or hell. You may go to heaven, or you may go to hell”

He also called the Church corrupt, saying “bribes and things of that nature were common place and often given a blind eye”

And this is what he calls Sola Fide: “Sola Frida.” Maybe that’s what it was originally called, but I’ve only heard Sola Fide.

I know theology isn’t what he teaches, but is being in line with Church teaching at a Catholic school asking too much?


:eek::eek::eek: You are a student, so I suppose some prudence is required here. Is there anyone at your school in a position of authority who is solid that you could talk to? Maybe they could help bring a stop to this sort of nonsense. I was astonished to see at the end that it was a Catholic shool. I was expecting some sort of ignorant Protestantism.


Hmm … sounds like that teacher needs a copy of the Catechism! :eek:

Do your other teachers say things like this too, or does he seem to be an exception? I seem to remember from my school daze that there were always one or two teachers who thought they were “rebels” - maybe he’s yours. :wink:

Anyway, I would suggest you schedule an appointment with your principal and tell him/her about it. Let us know what happens!


Oh my…just about everything there is wrong, and what isn’t flat-out wrong is highly skewed. To set the record straight for anyone not sure…
The Church (not just at the time has always taught that Jesus’ work was infinite, not “extra”. This Treasury of Merits (a metaphysical thing, not something the Church can “have”) can be shared in by doing pretty well any act of faith or mercy or charity.
The Church did not sell indulgences, rogue priests did. Simony is simony. Nobody was commissioned to sell indulgences.
Furthermore, I don’t even know whether the “indulgences” that were bought could even be valid, even though they were bought on good faith…
Purgatory is a place of purification, before, and only before entering Heaven.
Well, at least he was right that many people in the Church were very corrupt.

“Sola Frida.” …really? c’mon…

My sympathies to you, mate. I see no problem in calling him out on it, in class. But have your sources ready.


Nope, he’s the only one.

Do you think an e-mail would be appropriate? Or how about bringing this up with my theology teacher?

I guess I just don’t have the guts to bust this guy.

Oh, and I didn’t want to correct him in front of the class because I would

  1. be correcting him every ten seconds (quite literally)
  2. look like the the biggest nerd ever :nerd:


It might also get you an invitation to teach the class yourself :wink:


wow… that is all wrong… lol!! I don’t even know what I’d do… maybe you can send him an email and include some good Catholic sources about indulgences and purgatory :slight_smile: it seems this teacher hasn’t even read the Catechism… that’s so sad. I’ve heard that there are teachers in Catholic schools who aren’t even Catholic so really, some of them probably have some unorthodox doctrine.


If you feel comfortable talking with your theology teacher - or any other teacher or administrator - I think that’s a great idea! Is there another teacher/administrator that you like and trust?

My suggestion would be to make an appointment with him (her?), and make it clear that it’s a private matter.

And you’re right, it’s not a good idea to confront this other teacher during classtime - not that I think you’d look like a nerd :wink: ), but just because it’s the classier way to handle the situation. And you sound like a classy person. :cool:


DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.