I simply have an issue with indulgences of paying to the Priest to pardon the sins of a loved one or a deceased one in purgatory.

I cant help but think that the Church put to its advantage, the profit of saving souls by buying them out of it.

Can anyone tell me what’s the true Catholic motive in the doctrine of indulgences? because i know my doubts is just out of human imperfection and im really hoping i could better understand this doctrine and why this is incorporated in our church.

You should read this
Hope it helps.

Well, you can certainly be granted indulgences without payment.

When one sins, the sins can be forgiven through reconcilliation. But the result of those sins still exists. In other words, if I punch you and break your glasses, I can be forgiven for punching you, but the fact of the broken glasses remains. If I fix or pay for new glasses, than both the sin and the result of that sin is completly gone. You granted me an indulgence.

We can be granted indulgences in many ways, which are free. Many scapulars have indulgences attached, membership in certain confraternities also have indulgences attached and other prayers and devotions will grant you indulgences. The Holy See is the arbitor of what will and what will not grant you indulgences.

As far as paying, it is simply tradition to pay for a Mass for a loved one. It is not at all expensive and it another way we support our Church for there service to us. We don’t expect to eat at a resturant for free, so why should we expect the Church to give away a service without alittle compensation, which goes to keeping the Church open for such things. Nothing sisnister that I know of!:slight_smile:

As a start, read the CCC, paragraphs 1434, and 1471-79.

It doesn’t take any money at all to earn an indulgence, although it is possible for money given as alms to be a part of it. But none of that is “paying to Priests.” Stating it that way does sound like Fr. Whoever is dispensing indulgences for profit, but in practice that’s not at all what happens.

  1. Sin results in guilt and punishment
  2. Punishments are both temperal and eternal.
  3. Temperal penalties may remain when a sin is forgiven.
  4. God blesses some people as a reward to others
  5. God remits temperal penalties suffered by some as a reward to others.
  • This is the kicker 1Kings11:11-13. God was clear Solomon’s kingdom was not torn down not for Solomons sakebut for the sake of David. If david had not pleased God. God would have removed the entire kingdom.
    There are other examples. God promised Abraham that if he could find a certain number of righteous men in Sodom he was willing to defer the city’s destruction for the sake of the righteous.

Do remember there is a difference in temperal salvation and eternal salvation. We can’t earn someones eternal Christ did that! Indulgences only have to do with the temperal aspects of sin

I simply have an issue with indulgences of paying to the Priest to pardon the sins of a loved one or a deceased one in purgatory.

Good cause the Catholic Church does too! such would be a sin…and not a way get an indulgence :slight_smile:

I cant help but think that the Church put to its advantage, the profit of saving souls by buying them out of it.

nope…no buying…souls are free :slight_smile: (just kidding…really no buying souls…

Can anyone tell me what’s the true Catholic motive in the doctrine of indulgences? because i know my doubts is just out of human imperfection and im really hoping i could better understand this doctrine and why this is incorporated in our church.

So Indulgence is a way of fixing the damage, or giving yourself a fair shot; (since you’ve sinned, you have been forgiven, but the damage of your sin remains) so in a way, to fix that damage is to pay indulgences.

Ive read the example about the temporal punishment of Adam and Eve.

They might have been forgiven by God for eating the forbidden fruit but they still have to endure the pain of mortality before He sends humanity again to perfection. (btw, does the bible explicitly say God forgave Adam and Eve? because as far as i remember, God threw them out of eden, thats it… no forgiveness… i could be wrong though)

Same with Israel, God might have tolerated and forgave Israel with their idolatry but He still left the israelites in the wilderness for forty years.

and same with every individual, each ones sins with temporal punishment and that punishment is to pay indulgence.

correct me if im wrong though…this is what i got so far

I believe it is implied, as making sacrifices to the Lord was part of their life (as evidenced in the Cain-Abel incident).

A sippet from that article:

To gain any indulgence you must be a Catholic in a state of grace. You must be a Catholic in order to be under the Church’s jurisdiction, and you must be in a state of grace because apart from God’s grace none of your actions are fundamentally pleasing to God (meritorious). You also must have at least the habitual intention of gaining an indulgence by the act performed.

To gain a partial indulgence, you must perform with a contrite heart the act to which the indulgence is attached.

To gain a plenary indulgence you must perform the act with a contrite heart, plus you must go to confession (one confession may suffice for several plenary indulgences), receive Holy Communion, and pray for the pope’s intentions. (An Our Father and a Hail Mary said for the pope’s intentions are sufficient, although you are free to substitute other prayers of your own choice.) The final condition is that you must be free from all attachment to sin, including venial sin.

If you attempt to receive a plenary indulgence, but are unable to meet the last condition, a partial indulgence is received instead.

Below are indulgences listed in the Handbook of Indulgences (New York: Catholic Book Publishing, 1991). Note that there is an indulgence for Bible reading. So, rather than discouraging Bible reading, the Catholic Church promotes it by giving indulgences for it! (This was the case long before Vatican II.)

• 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.”

Now, if we are honest with ourselves, can we say that any of that was given to us from God in scripture? The answer is certainly “no”. My first temptation was to analyze and pick apart my objections to the doctrine of indulgences, but it is much more fitting to see what God does tell us in scripture about dealing with sin in our Christian lives:

God, our loving Father, disciplines us and while probably none of us enjoy discipline, this passage in Hebrews 12 is an encouragement to me:

" 1 Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
The Discipline of God

3 For consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls. 4 You have not yet resisted to bloodshed, striving against sin. 5 And you have forgotten the exhortation which speaks to you as to sons:

  “ My son, do not despise the chastening of the LORD,
  Nor be discouraged when you are rebuked by Him;
   6 For whom the LORD loves He chastens,
  And scourges every son whom He receives.”

7 If you endure chastening, God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom a father does not chasten? 8 But if you are without chastening, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate and not sons. 9 Furthermore, we have had human fathers who corrected us, and we paid them respect. Shall we not much more readily be in subjection to the Father of spirits and live? 10 For they indeed for a few days chastened us as seemed best to them, but He for our profit, that we may be partakers of His holiness. 11 Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it."

I was going to say more, but there really is a lot of meat to swallow in that passage. More importantly, it really does address the reality of how God deals with us as we struggle with sin and good instruction for godly living.

That’s just for starters…more to come.

Has anyone here had a chance to compare what Hebrews says with respect to the discipline of God in our lives with what the Catholic Church does in handing out plenary and partial indulgences?

What comparison would you have us draw?

I just have time for one for now:

Hebrews indicates that God Himself works in the life of the Christian which results in “the peaceable fruit of righteousness” ( v. 11) versus drawing indulgences from an imaginary treasury by performing “meritorious” works.

The power of the keys granted to St. Peter and his successors, and the unlimited power to bind and loose granted to St. Peter, the other Apostles and their successors (Mathew 16:19; 18:18) included everything that barred men from heaven, i.e. sin and punishment.

St. Paul exercised this power in the case of the incestuous Corinthian. He first ordered the Church of Corinth to excommunicate him for his sin (1 Corinthians 5:5), and then, after he had manifested his sorrow, the Apostle pardoned him, and remitted his punishment. “For what I have pardoned, if I have pardoned anything, for your sakes have I done it, in the Person of Christ” (2 Corinthians 2:10).

In the early Church indulgences were granted by the Bishops, who shortened the severe canonical penances of the time at the intercession of the martyrs, who gave the penitents letters of intercession (Cf. St. Cyprian, Epis., xiii, 2; x., 4; De Lapsis, xvi). That this remission was valid in God’s sight is maintained by Tertullian. When the era of persecution was over, the Bishops continued to remit the canonical penances, as we learn form the Council of Ancyra (314) and Nicea (325). From the eight century onwardsthe severe penances of the early Church were commuted into prayers, fasting, pilgrimages to Rome among other things.

By your words “handing out” you seem to say that indulgences are easily gained. But, as you posted early from the article, one must be in a state of grace and are, preferably, free from all attachment to sin. Which means you are pretty disciplined already. So it is not like we are “handing out indulgences” that in any way get in the way of God’s discipline. Rather, to gain an indulgence one must exercise discipline and reverence to God. So the Hebrews passage and the doctrine of indulgences are hardly in opposition, which is to say “in no opposition whatsoever.”

Note: God works through the Church on Earth (he loves us, you know).

I am not entirely familiar with the doctrine surrounding the treasury or depository (or some word like that) of faith, but it is certainly not imaginary.

You obviously don’t understand indulgences. This is no insult, as most CAtholics don’t understand them either.

Okay…fair enough. :slight_smile: I don’t pretend to understand indulgences, and I’ve come to the conclusion that it really isn’t important to understand indulgences.

I remember a few months ago there was a man who called into Catholic Answers Live. His question to the guest host, a priest, had to do with obtaining a plenary indulgence and that particular question left the priest in an awkward position because he couldn’t satisfactorily answer the question. So not even priests are settled with all the ins and outs of indulgences.

But what struck me the hardest, was this caller’s fervent hope that others would pray on his behalf after his death so that those prayers would hasten his entry into heaven (as in “indulgences can always be applied to the dead by way of prayer.” [Indulgentarium Doctrina 3]. ) That quotation was taken from A Primer on Indulgences - .

I heard the urgency and despair in the caller’s voice as he uttered his hope that there would be people praying for him and he finished off with “I need all the help I can get”. My heart just went out to him and I wished that I could talk with him and give him the true gospel of Christ, for had he known, received and understood the gospel of Jesus, he would not have been desperate as he was. Instead, he would have had the peace of God within him.

Oh, how important it is to trust in Christ alone for our salvation! Outside of Him, there is only anxiety and despair and confusion. That’s why it isn’t important to understand indulgences. If we are in communion with Christ, we don’t need to fear death and we can rely on His great gift of eternal life with Him because He is absolutely faithful and true to what scripture tells us:

Romans 8:1
There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.

Every Catholic truly trusts in Christ for our salvation. Even when it sounds like we depend on works, we do not, for our works can only be accomplished through His Grace! Indulgences are of no value for the forgiveness of sin. Forgiveness comes through Christ alone. Catholics do recognize that sin has both eternal and temporal consequences. The eternal part is taken care of by Christ. To better explain what I am talking about, I will use the example of King David. King David raped Bath-Sheba and had her husband, Uriah, killed. When accused by Nathan the prophet, he repented, and was forgiven. However, there was still a punishment, an amount of suffering, that David had to endure: the death of his son that was being carried by Bath-Sheba. DO not mourn for the child, as he never had personal sin. But David was distraught over this death, and he was better for it after he went through the suffering. Likewise when we do acts of penance, we are better for it, and stronger Christians. Indulgences serve as acts of penance, as they are many times connected with prayer, almsgiving , and pilgrimages. That is the short explanation of indulgences. I wish I could do it better, but alas, I have only been Catholic about 2 1/2 years, and I am constantly leaning more about the depth of our rich faith.

We Protestants also believe that sin has consequences and yes, that is how the Lord dealt with David. However, I don’t see a connection with that and indulgences. Are you saying that David obtained an indulgence through that punishment? If so, was it a partial or pleneray indulgence?

A indulgence is a from of penance. As an example, if, on the feast day of St. Francis, if you go to confession (within a week), receive Holy communion (also within a week), lose all attachment to sin, and make a pilgrimage to Steubenville, OH and spend time in prayer (i believe it is an hour for the intentions of Pope Benedict) at the Portinicula Chapel at Franciscan University of Steubenville, you can receive a plenary indulgence. Notice they are not bought or sold (which was the abuse that got Luther up in arms–and was addressed at the Council of Trent), and modern language also discards things like “300 days indulgence.” This concept of acts of penance purifying us can be found in the New Testament. This is why St. Paul said we should “rejoice in our sufferings.” The doctrine of indulgences is explained more fully in the Catechism 1474-1479. As for Davi, I cannot say if it was partial or plenary, but I do know that when we unite our sufferings with the sufferings of Christ, then it is for our spiritual benefit. This is why we refer to it as “redemptive suffering”

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