plenary indulgences

:confused: I hoope I’m in the right forum for this. I was reading through the excerpts from, the “Enchiridion” in my prayerbook and now I’m really confused. What are the requirements for obtaining a plenary indulgence? Just saying the prayer or are there other requirements too? :blessyou:

Primer on Indulgences

You’ve heard it many times: “Catholics used to believe in indulgences, but we do not believe in them today.” It is said with mild embarrassment and a desire to close a chapter of Church history with which many Catholics feel uncomfortable.

Those who claim that indulgences are no longer part of Church teaching have the admirable desire to distance themselves from abuses that occurred around the time of the Protestant Reformation. They also want to remove stumbling blocks that prevent non-Catholics from taking a positive view of the Church. As admirable as these motives are, the claim that indulgences are not part of Church teaching today is false.

This is proved by the Catechism of the Catholic Church, which states, “An indulgence is obtained through the Church who, by virtue of the power of binding and loosing granted her by Christ Jesus, intervenes in favor of individual Christians and opens for them the treasury of the merits of Christ and the saints to obtain from the Father of mercies the remission of the temporal punishment due for their sins.” The Church does this not just to aid Christians, “but also to spur them to works of devotion, penance, and charity” (CCC 1478).

Indulgences are part of the Church’s infallible teaching. This means that no Catholic is at liberty to ignore or disbelieve in them. The Council of Trent stated that it “condemns with anathema those who say that indulgences are useless or that the Church does not have the power to grant them”(Trent, session 25, Decree on Indulgences). Trent’s anathema places indulgences in the realm of infallibly defined teaching.

The pious use of indulgences dates back into the early days of the Church, and the principles underlying indulgences extend back into the Bible itself. Catholics who are uncomfortable with indulgences do not realize how biblical they are. The principles behind indulgences are as clear in Scripture as those behind more familiar doctrines, such as the Trinity.

Before looking at those principles more closely, we should define indulgences. In his apostolic constitution on indulgences, Pope Paul VI said: “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 defined conditions through the Church’s help when, as a minister of redemption, she dispenses and applies with authority the treasury of the satisfactions won by Christ and the saints” (Indulgentiarum Doctrina 1).

This technical definition can be phrased more simply as, “An indulgence is what we receive when the Church lessens the temporal (lasting only for a short time) penalties to which we may be subject even though our sins have been forgiven.” To understand this definition, we need to look at the biblical principles behind indulgences.

Principle 1: Sin Results in Guilt and Punishment

When a person sins, he acquires certain liabilities: the liability of guilt and the liability of punishment. Scripture speaks of the former when it pictures guilt as clinging to our souls, making them discolored and unclean before God: “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool” (Is. 1:18). This idea of guilt clinging to our souls appears in texts that picture forgiveness as a cleansing or washing and the state of our forgiven souls as clean and white (Ps. 51:4.9).

We incur not just guilt, but liability for punishment when we sin: “I will punish the world for its evil, and the wicked for their iniquity; I will put an end to the pride of the arrogant and lay low the haughtiness of the ruthless” (Is. 13:11). Judgment pertains even to the smallest sins: “For God will bring every deed into judgment, with every secret thing, whether good or evil” (Eccl. 12:14).

more to come

Principle 2: Punishments are Both Temporal and Eternal

The Bible indicates some punishments are eternal, lasting forever, but others are temporal. Eternal punishment is mentioned in Daniel 12:2: “And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life and some to shame and everlasting contempt.”

We normally focus on the eternal penalties of sin, because they are the most important, but Scripture indicates temporal penalties are real and go back to the first sin humans committed: "To the woman he said, ‘I will greatly multiply your pain in childbearing; in pain you shall bring forth children (Gen. 3:16).

Principle 3: Temporal Penalties May Remain When a Sin is Forgiven

When someone repents, God removes his guilt (Is. 1:18) and any eternal punishment (Rom. 5:9), but temporal penalties may remain. One passage demonstrating this is 2 Samuel 12, in which Nathan the prophet confronts David over his adultery:

“Then David said to Nathan, ‘I have sinned against the Lord.’ Nathan answered David: ‘The Lord on his part has forgiven your sin; you shall not die. But since you have utterly spurned the Lord by this deed, the child born to you must surely die’” (2 Sam. 12:13-14). God forgave David but David still had to suffer the loss of his son as well as other temporal punishments (2 Sam. 12:7-12). (For other examples, see: Numbers 14:13-23; 20:12; 27:12-14.)

Protestants realize that, while Jesus paid the price for our sins before God, he did not relieve our obligation to repair what we have done. They fully acknowledge that if you steal someone’s car, you have to give it back; it isn’t enough just to repent. God’s forgiveness (and man’s!) does not include letting you keep the stolen car.

Protestants also admit the principle of temporal penalties for sin, in practice, when discussing death. Scripture says death entered the world through original sin (Gen. 3:22-24, Rom. 5:12). When we first come to God we are forgiven, and when we sin later we are able to be forgiven, yet that does not free us from the penalty of physical death. Even the forgiven die; a penalty remains after our sins are forgiven. This is a temporal penalty since physical death is temporary and we will be resurrected (Dan. 12:2).

Principle 4: God Blesses Some People As a Reward to Others

In Matthew 9:1-8, Jesus heals a paralytic and forgives his sins after seeing the faith of his friends. Paul also tells us that “as regards election [the Jews] are beloved for the sake of their forefathers” (Rom. 11:28).

When God blesses one person as a reward to someone else, sometimes the specific blessing he gives is a reduction of the temporal penalties to which the first person is subject. For example, God promised Abraham that, if he could find a certain number of righteous men in Sodom, he was willing to defer the city’s temporal (and eternal) destruction for the sake of the righteous (Gen. 18:16-33; cf. 1 Kgs. 11:11-13; Rom. 11:28-29).

more to come

Usually a plenary indulgence involves:

  1. Going to Confession before the activity.
  2. Receiving Communion just before or after the the activity

and toughest of all
3) Having no attachment to sin during the activity.

There is no way to know for a fact whether you obtained a full plenary indulgence, so I personally always assume I obtained a partial one.

aw heck… click here…catholic.com/library/primer_on_indulgences.asp

sorry to be so brief… it was longer than i thought… :thumbsup:

While we’re on the subject of plenary indulgences…

I was told recently that if one recites an Our Father, Hail Mary, and Glory Be for the Pope at the end of saying a rosary, one receives a plenary indulgence. Is that correct? Is anyone else familiar with this? Would the normal conditions apply - confession and communion? A website reference would be great because if it is true, I’d love to put it on my rosary site. TIA!

[quote=hsmom2four]While we’re on the subject of plenary indulgences…

I was told recently that if one recites an Our Father, Hail Mary, and Glory Be for the Pope at the end of saying a rosary, one receives a plenary indulgence. Is that correct? Is anyone else familiar with this? Would the normal conditions apply - confession and communion? A website reference would be great because if it is true, I’d love to put it on my rosary site. TIA!
[/quote]

this should be helpful…mattscatholicsite.com/plenaryindulgences.htm

this one might be more specific…expage.com/plenaryindulgenceworks

[quote=space ghost]this should be helpful…mattscatholicsite.com/plenaryindulgences.htm

this one might be more specific…expage.com/plenaryindulgenceworks
[/quote]

Thanks! It helps a bit, although I don’t see the specific indulgence I was told about. I’m guessing my information (based on these lists) is incorrect? :hmmm:

[quote=hsmom2four]While we’re on the subject of plenary indulgences…

I was told recently that if one recites an Our Father, Hail Mary, and Glory Be for the Pope at the end of saying a rosary, one receives a plenary indulgence. Is that correct? Is anyone else familiar with this? Would the normal conditions apply - confession and communion? A website reference would be great because if it is true, I’d love to put it on my rosary site. TIA!
[/quote]

What you were told is correct, but the Rosary has to be recited within a family or in a church. According to the official Enchiridion of Indulgences, paragraph 7 of the Foreword:

"Deserving of special mention are the following works, for any one of which the faithful can gain a plenary indulgence each day of the year . . .

  • adoration of the Blessed Sacrament for at least half an hour;
  • devout reading of the Sacred Scriptures for at least half an hour;
  • the pious exercise of the Way of the Cross;
  • the recitation of the Marian Rosary in a church, or public oratory or in a family group, a religious Community or pious Association."

Of course, the normal conditions would apply, as you said. The Enchiridion lists those in paragraph 7 of the section called “Norms”: “. . . sacramental confession, Eucharistic Communion, and prayer for the intentions of the Supreme Pontiff. It is further required that all attachment to sin, even to venial sin, be absent.”

Paragraph 10 mentions that the condition of praying for the intentions of the Supreme Pontiff “is fully satisfied by reciting one Our Father and one Hail Mary; nevertheless the individual faithful are free to recite any other prayer according to their own piety and devotion toward the Supreme Pontiff.”

I am quoting from Enchiridion of Indulgences (Authorized English Edition translated by William T. Barry, C. SS. R. (1969 Catholic Book Publishing Co., New York, New York)

Bridegroom Press puts out a really nice Calendar of Indulgences and provides a wonderful explanation of the practice. :yup:

www.bridegroompress.com
or
Bridgroom Press
P.O. Box 96
Peoria, IL 61650-0096

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