Plenary Indulgence - Attachment to sin?


For a plenary indulgence you need the following:
Eucharistic communion
Prayer for the Pope’s intention
Without any attachment to sin, even venial, according to some sources.

It’s the last one I’m wondering about. Is it possible that no one can know for sure whether they have an attachment to sin? It may be the case that very few people are without an attachment to sin…it seems like a lofty statement. Anyone have any thoughts or examples of what does or does not qualify?


that last one is the hardest.
and I highly doubt if we truly know in this life if we are without attachment to sin at the time.

Personally, I don’t worry about that, I try to fulfill the requirements for the plenary indulgence and leave it to God’s mercy as I usually offer them up for the poor souls in purgatory that are no longer remembered and/or have no-one left to pray for them… I hate to think that for that one, miniscule moment in time, I couldn’t be without attachment to sin just long enough to help that one poor soul into heaven.


My experience with indulgences is that they vary. Most require all that the above stated except all the ones I’ve ever seen and participated in said that one had to be free of MORTAL sin. If I had a question about a particular novena, I’d ask my priest. The last novena I did was the Divine Mercy one—for it, one had to be free of mortal sin—along with all the other things mentioned by the above poster.


The Handbook of Indulgences: Norms and Grants

says the following on page 22, under the section “Norms for Indulgences”:

    1. Beside the exclusion of all attachment to sin, even venial sin, the requirements for gaining a plenary indulgence are the performance of the indulgenced work and fulfillment of three conditions: sacramental confession, eucharistic communion, and prayer for the pope’s intentions.
  1. If a person is not fully disposed or if the prescribed work and the three mentioned conditions are not fulfilled, the indulgence will only be partial; the prescriptions in N. 27 and N. 28 for those impeded are exceptions.

This is the official English translation of the Enchiridion Indulgentarium, the only legal source for indulgence grants by the Holy See. It is authoritative in this matter and the only source that counts.


I’ve thought about it too. The last item makes it almost impossible to gain a plenary indulgence.


I think–and this is just my opinion–that actually the fact that I’ve never seen an indulgence without confession being part of it, that whether or not venial sins would nullify it, the confession itself takes care of the issue. Also, since venial sins don’t require confession to be forgiven, if one wanted to be absolutely sure, just make a good act of contrition daily during the novena.


I agree! It is definitely worth the shot.


Well that is encouraging at least. If not plenary, then it is partial. (As opposed to all or nothing).


Always strive to obtain plenary indulgences when possible. Attachment to sin will affect basically all of us. Nevertheless, who knows to what degree the plenary indulgence is diminished? After all, even filling 9/10 of a cup could be considered filling it “partially”, although it is not filled fully. Yet how close it really is!


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