Hey everyone! Hope everyone is doing well! I have a Catholic friend and he and I were having a discussion on indulgences. He stated that he did not believe in them and that no man has the right to declare what God gives. He also stated that the Church has a chance that She isn’t always guided by the Holy Spirit. He also said that human hands have meddled in the Church. I explained that indulgences are tough to get and that God ultimately gives them, but I am not too sure on what else to say to him. I have given him the Catechism and some words by Apologists to help him, but I am not too sure on what else I can say to him. Can anyone provide any words of advice or information on indulgences. Any help is appreciated. Thanks and God bless! :slight_smile:

This is an easy one: “What you shall bind on earth shall be bound in Heaven, and what you shall loose on earth shall be loosed in Heaven.”

And both of you do understand what indulgences are, right? It’s the substitute for the same amount of merit you would get if you prayed that length of time. A one year’s indulgence is simply the merit you’d get if you prayed for a year. Plenary indulgences are different.

I heard that the old way of explaining indulgences (100 days vs. 3 years, or something like that) was related to the purification under Mosaic law. Do you know where you heard it’s related to prayer? That actually makes a bit more sense to me but now I’m unsure.

Thanks and pax et bonum,

Your friend is Catholic…but doesn’t believe Church teaching…so why call yourself Catholic in that situation?

There is a plenary indulgence this year on the 13th May through to 13th October for Our Lady of Fatima Anniversary. Read up on the conditions of how to try to get one . I need all the indulgences I can earn due to decades of ignoring God.

Say you go to confession and receive absolution. Your sins are forgiven but there is a penance. An indulgence would be the abrogation of the penance.

Catholics understand there to be two consequences of sin. Ultimately, both consequences are related to sin creating a disunion with God. Serious sins can lead to a consequence of eternal damnation. All sins also bring to bear temporal punishment. This can be related to parental discipline. My young adult child could do something so horrendous that I might potentially evict him from my house. However, he is sincerely repentant, and I forgive him. He can stay. (This can be likened to the forgiveness of eternal punishment received in Baptism of Confession). However, I might still punish the child as a form of discipline. This isn’t for my pleasure, but because I love them, and because this discipline can help build character and help transform them into a better person. That is, in a sense, what purgatory is for. To complete any temporal punishment not attained in this life, for our purification and detachment from sin.

Indulgences have no bearing on forgiveness of eternal punishment. They cannot save you. They cannot be applied towards future sins. But they can mitigate the temporal punishment of past sins, which the Church has the authority to do from Christ. They can apply his infinite merits and the finite merits of the saints to satisfy your temporal punishment due. Traditionally, indulgences were assigned a time frame. This hearkens back to the ancient Church when sins were assigned heavy penances. If you got a one year indulgence, this wasn’t one year out of purgatory, it was equal to one year of ancient Christian penance for sin for the remission of the temporal punishment due. The Church has moved away from that standard of measurement, even so.

Indulgences are also for our edification. They aren’t transactions, they require a proper disposition and intent on the part of the person receiving the indulgence. Indulgences are also no longer granted for charitable giving and alms due to issues with corruption in practice.

But the Church has every right to grant indulgences through the authority of binding and loosing, setting penances, etc… We just see the consequences of sin differently than many of our Protestant brethren, as being two-fold, and unless one understands that, Purgatory and indulgences won’t make sense.

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