question about Indulgences


So I was reading this pamphlet about the Rosary the other day and It talked about Indulgences in the with the Rosary. It mentioned 2 different types: Partial and Plenary. I would really appreciate it if someone were to explain what the difference is between a Plenary and a Partial Indulgence. Thanks.


A Partial Indulgence pays off part of the punishment due in purgatory for your sins. You need to be in a state of grace (free of mortal sin) to obtain one.

A Plenary Indulgence pays off ALL of the punishment that was due up until the time you performed the indulgenced act. This requires four things apart from the doing of the indulgenced act itself -

*]sacramental confession within 2 weeks before or after
*]reception of Communion on the same day
*]prayer for the Pope and his intentions on the same day (usually just an Our Father, Hail Mary and Glory Be)
*]and the real kicker - you must be free of attachment to sin, mortal or venial. This would appear to mean that you can’t have any habitual or recurring sins. But this only applies if you’re trying to gain a Plenary Indulgence for yourself rather than for a soul in Purgatory.


These are the conditions for a plenary indulgence:

From Indulgentiarum Doctrina (10):

Although indulgences are in fact free gifts, nevertheless they are granted for the living as well as for the dead only on determined conditions. To acquire them, it is indeed required on the one hand that prescribed works be performed, and on the other that the faithful have the necessary dispositions, that is to say, that they love God, detest sin, place their trust in the merits of Christ and believe firmly in the great assistance they derive from the Communion of Saints.

From The Gift of the Indulgence:

  1. To gain indulgences, whether plenary or partial, it is necessary that the faithful be in the state of grace at least at the time the indulgenced work is completed.
  2. 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 sin;
    — have sacramentally confessed their sins;
    — receive the Holy Eucharist (it is certainly better to receive it while participating in Holy Mass, but for the indulgence only Holy Communion is required);
    — pray for the intentions of the Supreme Pontiff.
  3. It is appropriate, but not necessary, that the sacramental Confession and especially Holy Communion and the prayer for the Pope’s intentions take place on the same day that the indulgenced work is performed; but it is sufficient that these sacred rites and prayers be carried out within several days (about 20) before or after the indulgenced act. Prayer for the Pope’s intentions is left to the choice of the faithful, but an “Our Father” and a “Hail Mary” are suggested. One sacramental Confession suffices for several plenary indulgences, but a separate Holy Communion and a separate prayer for the Holy Father’s intentions are required for each plenary indulgence.


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