I recently was talking to a friend about the abuse of indulgences before the “Reformation.” I wanted to read more about this time and find out the truth so I may be able to speak intelligently about it as I defend our Church. I thought I remembered seeing a link to a website with this kind of info in one of the Catholic Answers articles. Can anyone please direct me if they know of this link or direct me to a good source? Thanks a bunch.


Please visit this link.


ON Catholic Answers web-site, you’ll find:

Good Luck,



[quote=nixe]Please visit this link.

Hey. Thanks for your reply. That is a very good website. I am interested in knowing a lot more about the particulars of the abuses. Do you know of any other sources?



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  4. Abuses of Indulgences

The church is not silent on the recognition of the abuses that had occurred with the issuance of Indulgences; however, the Church was not inactive when it came to correcting the misdeeds accompanying some practices, just as the Church responded to various heresies and improper actions throughout her history.

The example of St. Cyprian is an excellent example of a case where Indulgences were not only permitted but encouraged, while at the same time not escaping the scrutiny of the Church.
Council of Clovesho (England, 747) condemned those who tried to atone for their crimes by substituting the penances of a “mercenary penitent” whom they ‘rented’ to do penance for them.
Fourth Council of Lateran (1215) declared that an indulgence for the dedication of a church should not be for more than one year, and the anniversary of the dedication should not exceed 40 days.
Pope John XXII (1330) had the brothers of the hospital of Haut-Pas imprisoned because they claimed that the indulgences granted by them were more extensive and forgiving than what the Church granted.
Pope Boniface IX (1392) in a letter to a Bishop condemned the practice of clergy that claimed they were authorized by the Pope to forgive all sorts of sins, and who extracted money from the faithful by promising them "perpetual happiness in this world and eternal glory in the next."
St. Pius V (1567) canceled all grants of Indulgences which involved any fees or other financial transactions
While we cannot deny that the abuses were widespread, it should be noted that, even when the corruption was at its worst the practice of Indulgences was still used by the Faithful in a sincere and pious way. Furthermore, the Church, rather than eliminating the practice of granting Indulgences, merely modified the granting of Indulgences to those acts which did not directly involve money


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