Plenary Indulgence: detachment from all venial sins???

As many may know, there are some requirements associated with the reception of a Plenary Indulgence. Most of these are fairly simple acts and not too difficult. However there is one that seems like it could be a real DOOZY.

Here is the specific requirement:

A plenary indulgence can be gained only once a day. In order to obtain it, the faithful must, in addition to being in the state of grace:
— have the interior disposition of **complete detachment **from sin, even venial sinvatican.va/roman_curia/tr…lgence_en.html

I was hoping to see if anyone here can further define what complete detachment to a venial sin means?

Possible options:
[LIST=1]

*]1. It means you **won’t want **to commit some venial sins if placed in situations that could create the near occasion of sin for you under **ordinary **circumstances. Examples: when you walk by a smoking area you look at a cigarette you want it (though your doctor told you to not to smoke anymore), when you see a beautiful person, you fantasize for long enough to realize this is wrong but you keep going for a minute, when someone tests your patience you carefully consider several cruel replies, when you are at work you wish you could be out with your friends and not contributing to work, on Sundays you wish you could be working.

*]2. It means you **won’t want **to commit some venial sins if placed in situations that would create the near occasion of sin for you under **extraordinary **circumstances. Examples: You happily turn down your neighbor’s invitation when you accidently walked in on her annual naked-model pool and beer party. Or you don’t even think of anything naughty to say after days of grueling torture in a POW camp.

*]3. It means you are not “addicted” to venial sins - that you say “no” to venial sins under ordinary circumstances. Examples: you can say “No” to the unhealthy cigarette (because your doctor told you to), the burger on a Lenten Friday, to anger when someone provokes you with a nasty comment, to friends instead of work, to working on Sundays… though a part of you may have preferred to do these things that you said “no” to.

*]4. It means you can say “no” to committing any venial sins even when placed under extraordinary circumstances. Example, you politely thank your hosts and leave the naked pool party as described above, though a part of you may secretly have wished to stay a little longer. Or you refrain from using naughty words in the POW camp after grueling torture, though you thought up several choice words at various times.
[/LIST]

I’m thinking it means #3 but because it says complete detachment, I wanted to check in with your thoughts on this matter.

Note: this is a spin-off from another thread I recently posted regarding the Apostolic Pardon. Apologies in advance for any redundancy.

That’s a good question. I’ve seen some speculate that it means the bar is so high that few actually ever earn a plenary indulgence. Then I’ve seen others posit that the God is merciful and the Church wouldn’t make guidelines that were impossible and therefore the bar must be lower.

I’ve never really seen extensive commentary by people who know there stuff, though. I would like to see such answers to your question, too.

But, at the very least, we know that even if we do not meet the conditions for a plenary indulgence, we still get a partial one. So maybe the degree of partiality is correlated to our degree of attachment. :hmmm: Therefore total detachment equates to total remission.

Maybe this old thread will help you somewhat: forums.catholic.com/showthread.php?t=780752&highlight=Apostolic+Pardon

I think those possibilities are too complicated. I think a complete detachment from venial sin would mean there was no venial sin on your soul from the time of your last confession, not even internal sins such as covetousness and unjust anger. I don’t think it refers to what you would hypothetically do in given circumstances, because you wouldn’t know until you were in them. Therefore, I think a complete detachment from venial sin would mean what you have on your soul now. Does that make sense?

I do not think it means that…

Rather it is about “detachment” from all sin.

Not being “free from all sin”.

(but yes your right lets not get overly complicated…it is not about the future not sinning - we will have venial sins)

Tis I would say a matter of will (and of course of grace)

If one looks at some examples of grants of specific plenary indulgences (Apostolic P.) - it can perhaps be helpful -

From World Youth day: “in a spirit of total detachment from any sin”

From World Meetings of Families: “in a spirit of total detachment from any sin”

The one from the Birth of St. Paul:

“in a spirit of total detachment from any inclination to sin”

The indulgence on Divine Mercy Sunday:

“in a spirit that is completely detached from the affection for a sin, even a venial sin”

and the same for the one regarding the 40th anno of Vatican II

“in a spirit that is completely detached from affection for any sin”

I thought about that, but then realized the Church could have probably just said something like: “The recipient of the Plenary indulgence cannot commit any sin while performing the necessary works,” instead of wording it as it is. Hmmmm…

Tis I would say a matter of will (and of course of grace) (and remember one may gain one per day…under the usual conditions).

If one looks at some examples of grants of specific plenary indulgences (Apostolic P.) - it can perhaps be helpful -

Current Year of Consecrated Life: “with complete detachment from any sin”

From World Youth day: “in a spirit of total detachment from any sin”

From World Meetings of Families: “in a spirit of total detachment from any sin”

The one from the Birth of St. Paul:

“in a spirit of total detachment from any inclination to sin”

The indulgence on Divine Mercy Sunday:

“in a spirit that is completely detached from the affection for a sin, even a venial sin”

and the same for the one regarding the 40th anno of Vatican II

“in a spirit that is completely detached from affection for any sin”

If one reads thorough those various ways of saying the same condition a few times - that should be helpful.

This is a good point. Really, in all the cases other than #3, we are talking about something very, very difficult - achievable by only a master of venial sin-avoidance.

Come to think of it such a person would be in a catch 22 - If a master of sin-avoidance rarely even committed a venial sin in their thoughts, then they would rarely be able to receive a plenary indulgence because they couldn’t make a valid confession without sinning first. Correct me here if a valid confession can be made without a sin. :slight_smile:

So that leads me to think #3: freedom from all addictions (e.g. can’t say “no” without tremendous difficulty) to venial sin describes what the Church is intending by these words.

Other thoughts?

It is a matter denoted by a single sentence…

Tis I would say a matter of will (and of course of grace) (and remember one may gain one per day…under the usual conditions).

See from the Church:

If one looks at some examples of grants of specific plenary indulgences (Apostolic P.) - it can perhaps be helpful -

Current Year of Consecrated Life: “with complete detachment from any sin”

From World Youth day: “in a spirit of total detachment from any sin”

From World Meetings of Families: “in a spirit of total detachment from any sin”

The one from the Birth of St. Paul:

“in a spirit of total detachment from any inclination to sin”

The indulgence on Divine Mercy Sunday:

“in a spirit that is completely detached from the affection for a sin, even a venial sin”

and the same for the one regarding the 40th anno of Vatican II

“in a spirit that is completely detached from affection for any sin”

If one reads thorough those various ways of saying the same condition a few times - that should be helpful.

The detachment to all sin which must be purified is the “unhealthy attachment to creatures” that is a part or consequence of every sin
Catechism 1572
To understand this doctrine and practice of the Church, it is necessary to understand that sin has a double consequence. Grave sin deprives us of communion with God and therefore makes us incapable of eternal life… On the other hand every sin, even venial, entails an unhealthy attachment to creatures, which must be purified either here on earth, or after death in the state called Purgatory.

Here is a good explanation that may be helpful to many in this thread:

Plenary Indulgences: Not Impossible

Detachment from venial sin

The most problematic condition is:

…] the complete exclusion of any attachment to any sin, even venial,

This is not a new provision in the reform of Paul VI. Lépicier in his book Indulgences, their origin, nature and development reported a controversy which was widely current in his own time. Some theologians considered that the actual gaining a plenary indulgence was very rare.

…] whilst with regard to plenary Indulgences, they teach us in a dogmatical tone that exceedingly few are those who can gain it, and fewer still are those who actually do gain it – perhaps a holy nun in some remote corner of the world, or some saintly hermit dead to this life and its concupiscences. (page 341)

In countering this severe view of indulgences, Lépicier observed that falling into venial sin is not the same as having an affection for venial sin:

From the first no man, however holy, excepting Christ, and His Blessed Mother, can call himself free; but many should be, and in reality are, free from the second. How can we imagine faithful souls, that are anxious to please God, and daily seal this desire with the Bread of Life – and their generation, thank God, is not extinct – how can we imagine such as these to be wilfully attached to that which, though not causing eternal death, yet is infinitely injurious to the Divine Majesty? (page 343)

If there is any doubt about the more lenient view of “detachment from venial sin”, it is perhaps worth noting that this view was expressed in 1895 by a Roman professor of theology.

More recently, in the grant of an indulgence for the Year of the Eucharist, the Apostolic Penitentiary restated the conditions for gaining a plenary indulgence. However, when speaking of special conditions for those who are infirm, the official English translation reads:

…] as long as they are totally free from any desire to relapse into sin, as has been stated above.

We may treat the more “lenient” view as common teaching since the Church clearly intends to grant plenary indulgences that can be obtained by the faithful every day. It would not seem reasonable to do this if it were almost impossible to gain them in practice.

We may therefore encourage people to carry out the works prescribed for the gaining of a plenary indulgence (including, for many, a return to the sacrament of confession) without discouraging them by the rigorist opinion that a plenary indulgence can scarcely ever be gained in fact. It is also a good thing to pray before doing the indulgenced work, asking God to take away all affection for venial sin and conceiving in our hearts a hatred of any sin since all sins displease God who loves us so much.

Thanks for all that, Sirach. :thumbsup: That is a great explanation.

Very good. Thank you.

The requirement for someone to be totally detached from sin needs some explanation. No doubt it is the most difficult condition for obtaining the indulgence. Notably, however, the requirement is not freedom from all sin. Rather, it is freedom from attachment to sin; that is, that there is no sin which the soul is unwilling to renounce. A person should be able to tell if he is fulfilling this condition. An attachment involves a refusal to amend a situation, and a person should be able to tell if he has such an attachment. Sometimes, deep down, we really don’t want to let go of certain sins, be it gossiping or overeating or loafing on the job. This differs from the case of normal human weakness or where a person falls into the same sin many times before overcoming it. To souls such as these the Church is ready to open her treasury of aid.

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