Temporal punishment after confession


After receiving absolution in confession for both mortal and venial sins, and doing the prescribed penance, does temporal punishment still remain? Does this mean spending time in purgatory? I thought the penance was meant to reduce or eliminate the temporal punishment? Can other things, like works of mercy, also work to reduce or eliminate the temporal punishment?


Yes, the penance does reduce (but not completely remove) temporal punishment. If you die right after performing your penance and there is still some temporal punishment remaining, then you are correct, this means a stay in purgatory.

And yes, there are many other things you can do to reduce or eliminate temporal punishment. They can be found in the Enchiridion of Indulgences, ourladyswarriors.org/indulge/.


Only those who die in a state of grace are in purgatory.

When you commit a mortal sin after baptism, there is eternal punishment and temporal punishment that you must pay. After confession all of your sins are forgiven and your eternal punishment (if the sins were mortal) is removed. There is still temporal punishment to pay. The penance that the priest gives you lessens you temporal punishment.

Our penance, sufferings, prayers, and indulgences lessen some of our temporal punishment.

An indulgence can pay for part or all of our temporal punishments that we earn from sin that we commit. When we die, if we have not paid for all of our temporal punishments, we will pay for them in purgatory.

**A partial indulgence remits part of our temporal punishment. A plenary indulgence remits all of our temporal punishment we have earned up to that point.

We can gain indulgences for the poor souls in purgatory and pray for them.


Thank you, both of you! I remember having learned about indulgences in the past but I was fuzzy in my memory.
I read the links, especially about an indulgence for praying the Rosary, which can be partial or plenary depending on the circumstances. It can be plenary when prayed in a family group or church. (It’s partial if prayed solo). Does anyone know if a husband and wife praying it together counts as a “family group?”


I would count husband and wife as a family. :slight_smile:

Keep in mind the other requirements for obtaining a plenary indulgence. In addition to performing the indulgenced act, you must also (1) go to Confession; (2) receive Communion; (3) pray for the Pope; and (4) be detached from all sin, even venial sin.

If any of these requirements are not met, then the indulgence will be partial, not plenary.

You might also like to read the section in the Catechism on indulgences.


The Enchiridion Of Indulgences
7. 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 – saving, however, the provision of Norm 24, § 1, according to which no one can gain more than one plenary indulgence in the course of a single day:
– adoration of the Blessed Sacrament for at least one half an hour (n. 3);
– devout reading of the Sacred Scriptures for at least one half an hour (n. 50);
– the pious exercise of the Way of the Cross (n. 63);
– the recitation of the Marian Rosary in a church or public oratory or in a family group, a religious Community or pious Association (n. 48).

26. To acquire a plenary indulgence it is necessary to perform the work to which the indulgence is attached and to fulfill the following three conditions: sacramental confession, eucharistic Communion, and prayer for the intention of the Sovereign Pontiff. It is further required that all attachment to sin, even venial sin. be absent.
If the latter disposition is in any way less than perfect or if the prescribed three conditions are not fulfilled, the indulgence will be partial only, saving the provisions given below in Norm 34 and in Norm 35 concerning those who are “impeded.” 26

  1. The three conditions may be fulfilled several days before or after the performance of the prescribed work; it is, however, fitting that Communion be received and the prayer for the intention of the Sovereign Pontiff be said on the same day the work is performed. 27

  2. A single sacramental confession suffices for gaining several plenary indulgences; but Communion must be received and prayer for the intention of the Sovereign Pontiff must be recited for the gaining of each plenary indulgence. 28

  3. The condition of praying for the intention of the Sovereign Pontiff is fully satisfied by reciting one Our Father and one Hail Mary; nevertheless, each one is free to recite any other prayer according to his piety and devotion. 29


You do not have to go to Purgatory. St. Therese said God made Purgatory as the exception, not the rule that it has become.
You should always pray to God for the following

  1. Live in His holy Will.
  2. Go to Heaven with no Purgatory.
  3. pray the golden arrow prayer.
  4. pray for all souls in Purgatory(and they will pray for you when allowed to or released).

Also monthly confession and my favorite is asking the Blessed Mother, all of the angels and saints to interceed for me and teach me how to act to be in God’s will.
Acts of Hope, love, charity, and contrition will also help.
I hope this helps.

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