Plenary indulges for prayer before Cross

**Can someone explain:

  • What a plenary indulgence is?
  • Why do you get it for this specific prayer as opposed to other prayers?**

Are you a student? Or just curious?
I was thinking you might look into RCIA, but I see you list yourself as Orthodox.
Welcome to the forums.

Both, in a way, if you consider me a student in my own lifelong study course. :stuck_out_tongue:

Thank you for the welcome. :wink:


You might want to peruse the Catholic Catechism online, or maybe even get a copy.
You can find it on


I own a copy, but I can’t have a discussion with a book. :shrug:

Yeah, but most of the people are just giving you a one line answer. :wink:

This is a subject that may not be very familiar with many Catholics. They know about it, practice it, but ask them to explain, they may not give you exactly the answer that quite describes it.

I have been a life long Catholic since I was born, quite experience so to speak, and yet if you ask me, it would be something I need to look up in order to confidently know I would be coming up with the right information.

Does that make indulgence a bad theology? Of course not. History wise, that aspect of Catholic devotion had been infamously abused that now to the new generation it is almost a dirty word, which of course it is not. Thus at one time they were over emphasized and it’s surely true that today they’re under-emphasized.

Okay here it is:

From the the Catholic Online:

An indulgences is defined as “the remission before God of the temporal punishment due for sins already forgiven as far as their guilt is concerned.” The first thing to note is that forgiveness of a sin is separate from punishment for the sin. Through sacramental confession we obtain forgiveness, but we aren’t let off the hook as far as punishment goes.

Indulgences are two kinds: partial and plenary.

A partial indulgences removes part of the temporal punishment due for sins.

A plenary indulgence removes all of it. This punishment may come either in this life, in the form of various sufferings, or in the next life, in purgatory. What we don’t get rid of here we suffer there.

Catholic Answers did a good job in simple FAQ about the myths of indulgence. You can read it here.

As to why a prayer is more powerful than the other - well I don’t believe in that per se. It is true insomuch that memorized prayer can help us to bring about deep repentance and sincerity with words that we do not know otherwise. So when someone tells you a prayer is powerful, it is perhaps his personal opinion where the particular prayer inspires him to get deeper into a relationship with God.

Hope that helps. Feel free to ask. Will help if I can.

God bless you.

Reuben J

According to the Manual of Indulgences:

To gain a plenary indulgence, in addition to excluding all attachment to sin, even venial sin, it is necessary to perform the indulgenced work and fulfill the following three conditions: sacramental confession, Eucharistic Communion, and prayer for the intention of the Sovereign Pontiff. A single sacramental confession suffices for gaining several plenary indulgences; but Holy Communion must be received and prayer for the intention of the Holy Father must be recited for the gaining of each plenary indulgence. The three conditions may be fulfilled several days before or after the performance of the prescribed work.

If the full disposition is lacking, or if the work and the three prescribed conditions are not fulfilled, the indulgence will only be partial.

Confessors can commute either the prescribed work or the conditions in favor of those for whom these are impossible because of a legitimate impediment.

The faithful can obtain partial or plenary indulgences for themselves, or they can apply them to the dead by way of suffrage.

In case anyone is wondering, a couple of indulgenced works are half an hour of devout Eucharistic Adoration or a half hour of devout reading of scripture from a text approved by competent authority. If for good reason a person is unable to read the Sacred Scriptures, it can be listened to while another person is reading or if it is heard by means of a recording.

Hope this helps! :slight_smile:

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