Paying Large Sums TO Get Out Of Purgatory Sooner?

Salvete, omnes!

OK, so, first, I wasn’t sure exactly where to post this, so I put it here…

I was reading a book on Medieval Europe and the author claimed that there is still a teaching in the Catholic Church that, if one contributes large sums of money (to the DChurch? to the poor? to what? was not clear), then that allows the contributor to get out of Purgatory sooner.

First of all, is this true? If so, could someone explain this more fully and provide context for it?


There are four general grants for partial indulgence:
*]Raising the mind to God with humble trust while performing one’s duties and bearing life’s difficulties, and adding, at least mentally, some pious invocation.
*]Devoting oneself or one’s goods compassionately in a spirit of faith to the service of one’s brothers and sisters in need.
*]Freely abstaining in a spirit of penance from something licit and pleasant.
*]Freely giving open witness to one’s faith before others in particular circumstances of everyday life.

So you can see from the second one that the answer is yes, and the sum of donation is not specified. Of course the usual conditions for a partial indulgence apply. The faithful obtains merit and remission of temporal punishment from his own action to which the Church adds the same amount of remission of temporal punishment. So it is effectively doubling the remission of temporal punishment.

“Since by their acts the faithful can obtain, in addition to the merit which is the principal fruit of the act, a further remission of temporal punishment in proportion to the degree to which the charity of the one performing the act is greater, and in proportion to the degree to which the act itself is performed in a more perfect way, it has been considered fitting that this remission of temporal punishment which the Christian faithful acquire through an action should serve as the measurement for the remission of punishment which the ecclesiastical authority bountifully adds by way of partial indulgence.”

We cannot buy our way out of Hell or Purgatory.

What Catholics know and believe is

Love God with all our mind, heart and strength
Love our neighbour as ourselves.

  1. We are all sinners, even Holy Father Pope Francis says he sins.

  2. We are to be prepared constantly for death. We do this by staying in a state of Grace, or, as we are sinners, constantly asking God’s love, mercy and forgiveness through the Celebration f the Sacrament of Reconcilliation, and re entering a state of grace.

  3. We are to live the 10 Commandments,

  4. We are obedient to the Holy See and the Magesterium

  5. We are to live as closely to how Jesus lived, conform to Jesus

  6. Do Corporal and Spiritual works of Mercy where we can.

When we die, we go to Heaven if we have no further purification to undergo, go to Purgatory otherwise, or if we reject God we go to a hell.

Not sure it would work that way vico,

I think the intention would need to be pure?

That’s another conversation…a good one though

Because Jesus said it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle, then a rich man to enter heaven

Thank you.

As the other person posted, if this is done by a contribution of one’s “goods” (i.e. money) rather than of “oneself”, then the money must be spent on items to meet the needs of people in need. The Enchiridion goes into some detail about what constitutes needs: basically necessities like food and clothing, or spiritual instruction. You cannot get out of Purgatory sooner by making a payment to the Church or to any cause which doesn’t involve meeting people’s basic needs or the need for spiritual instruction.

I presume that when evaluating how much “credit” one gets for this, Jesus would apply some test like he did for the widow’s mite. Contributing millions out of your surplus probably would not count for very much.

An old anti-Catholic whopper that just won’t die. Whomever wrote that destroyed any credibility they may have had.

A lot of Protestants think that the Church still “sells indulgences” like it did in the days of Martin Luther. I had to disabuse my husband of this notion.

Do you know the conditions for a partial indulgence?

Catechism 1471: “An indulgence is a remission before God of the temporal punishment due to sins whose guilt has already been forgiven, which the faithful Christian who is duly disposed gains under certain prescribed conditions through the action of the Church which, as the minister of redemption, dispenses and applies with authority the treasury of the satisfactions of Christ and the saints”.

From the Norms on Indulgences (1999):

[INDENT]N4. The faithful who perform with at least inward contrition an action to which a partial indulgence is attached obtain, in addition to the remission of temporal punishment acquired by the action itself, an equal remission of punishment through the intervention of the Church.


  1. In order to be capable of gaining indulgences one must be baptized, not excommunicated, and in the state of grace at least at the completion of the prescribed works.
  2. To gain the indulgence, one must have at least the general intention of doing so and must carry out the enjoined works at the stated time and in due fashion, according to the sense of the grant.

Thank you for giving us this, Vico.

Honestly, I am not very familiar with the concept of indulgence but I do believe it is a Catholic doctrine. It cropped up more last year, during the Year of Mercy. Perhaps it shows that not many Catholics are interested in this anymore, but it does not mean it is not a Catholic doctrine. Sometimes our thought can be adversely affected by people who criticise the practice of indulgence. It by itself is good, its abuse is not.

And yes, we can use our money for a good cause, like work of mercy, which is a very Christian thing to do. It is actually not buying our salvation with money, but the remorseful disposition behind it which lead us to do or give rather, for the work of mercy.

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