What are Indulgences?

What are indulgences I really can’t understand or grasp this concept and it seems really complicated to me.

I’m sure I probably have a ton going to confession almost weekly even for venial with grave matter sins or sometimes just plain venial sins being judgmental or uncharitable.
Going to Mass every sun
Wearing a sacred heart medal which technically is a scapular medal which I am enrolled in but no longer active in.

I don’t concentrate on devotional promises because to me there Un-Scriptural and don’t line up with he deposits of faith and are Superstitious.
Also I think they can make a person scrupulous and sort of doing a devotion to get cookie points with God. it becomes sort of the person doing a devotion only because they get something out of it and not out of the goodness and kindness and love of their heart.
Similarly I don’t concentrate on building up indulgences for the same reason it kind of goes hand in hand with the medieval concept of good works.
Helping old ladies across the street to get on God’s good side and not what good works really are doing kind acts of love or charity out of the goodness of ones heart which has grace through belief in Jesus Christ and following his commandments.
Good works comes from Grace.
We do good works because we have Grace.
Grace leads us to do good works.
Faith is dead with out good works.
I would rather build these things up unconsciously with Grace and the holy spirit then on purpose which would loose all meaning as I would be doing them for personal gain.

This aspects of Catholicism confuse me.

Can someone explain this to me it’s very confusing to me and I don’t understand some of the requirements to get indulgences or how all this works.

I do pray devotional promises such as the Rosary sometimes every once in a while sometimes daily but never to gain anything.
The Rosary helps me clear my mind sometimes and concentrate on more important aspects of life and things I should concentrate prayer towards.

According to the Church:

“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”

This link may help because it has a pretty straightforward approach and has Scripture and Catechism references to go along with it. What a lot of people don’t understand about indulgences is that they are still about receiving purifying grace from God. Many people just see the work as “earning a grace” or worse, “buying grace”. That is not what is happening with indulgences. Indulgences are tapping into the Treasury of Grace merited by Jesus (Infinite) and the Saints (super abundant) with the intention of letting God more fully purify you. This article on EWTN might also be helpful.

When a sin is forgiven, there remains a stain or attachment to the sin on the soul. This stain must be purified in purgatory, however by indulgences the stain can be purified on Earth.

To acquire an indulgence one must be in a state of grace and have at least a habitual desire to obtain an indulgence.

have we answered your question?

More or less.
I understood prior had to with removing or lessening temporal sin.
From what I gather is that you have to go to confession 8 solid weeks before and go specifically to begin the indulgence then go back to confession.
I’m at work so I only got so far speeding through it but ill come back to it and read it more thoroughly.

I understood prior had to with removing or lessening temporal sin.


From what I gather is that you have to go to confession 8 solid weeks before and go specifically to begin the indulgence then go back to confession.

i did not understand you???

To put it simply an indulgence is the removal of part or all the temporal punishment due in Purgatory.

The early church would do long and grueling penances that are considered a full penance and would remove all the punishment due to sin. Today we do small penances that do not fully remove the punishment. Indulgences are like a super penance that is equal to old school penance. In the middle ages a penance would be said to have 2 months attatched to it for example. That’s not 2 months less time in Purgatory, that’s saying that the indulgence is worth 2 months of old school penance. Today we just say it’s partial or full.

You’re confused.

Partial indulgences, those that remove only part of the temporal punishment, require only that the person do the act and be in a state of grace.

Plenary indulgences, those that remove all of a person’s temporal punishment, require that within 20 days before or after the act, the person must go to confession, receive communion, and pray for the intentions of the Pope. One act of receiving communion or praying for the intentions of the Pope can correspond to only one plenary indulgence, although a single confession suffices for multiple. Also a person must be free of attachment to sin, including venial when performing the act. A person can obtain only one plenary indulgence a day.

Exception to the above: the Apostolic Pardon can be given by a priest to people who are in imminent danger of death, in the absence of a priest the person can request it for themselves if they are conscious, it is plenary as long as the person had a habit of prayer during life.

Receiving an indulgence requires only a general intention to receive indulgences, not a specific intention to receive that indulgence at that particular time.

Indulgences were a concept I struggled with quite a bit. I can’t say I understand them completely, yet, but brain research has helped me understand them better.

Here’s how I understand it using brain research:

We used to think that a brain was static: whatever neurons and synapses you were born with was all you had for life.

We now know that the brain is moldable; “plastic” is the term I’ve seen used: we can form new neurons and synapses all the time.

As a matter of fact, every decision we make forms neural pathways. Habits are well established neural pathways.

Every time we chose to sin, we create a neural pathway or reinforce an existing pathway.

When we go to confession, we are saying - in one sense - we regret making those pathways.

Penance, then, helps us create pathways for choosing good (or reinforce already existing ones).

However, those old (sinful) pathways still exists and some are very well established and are easier to use (more habitual) than the new (good) pathways.

In performing Indulgences, we are exercising the good pathways and atrophy-ing (is that a word?) the bad ones.

We are removing, slowly, the habit of doing sinful things and reinforcing the habit of doing good.

Now this is merely on the neural, brain level. There is a spiritual component too that may actually be more important, but the principal is the same: With Indulgences we are cleansing our spirit of the desire to make sinful decisions, and we’re repairing the damage we’ve done to our spirit by doing those bad things.

Personally, at my consecration to Mary, I asked that no Indulgence ever be applied to me, that either I chose to apply it to someone else or that Mary chose who needs it the most and apply it there. I’m uncomfortable with the idea of earning an indulgence for myself, but that’s just me and I don’t “fault” anyone for earning indulgences for themselves.

Hope this helps.
God Bless, :signofcross:
Poor Knight for Christ and His Church

This seems imprudent for two reasons.

First, there are some indulgences (such as the Apostolic Pardon) which can only be acquired for oneself, thus if these are rejected, they will be of no use to anyone.

Second, never receiving an indulgence would mean that you would have to be temporally punished in purgatory for every sin you ever committed. That would mean you would stay there for a very long time.

Sorry I that’s when I skimmed through the article the first time.
I was at work.

You have to go to confession then take communion soon after and be in a state of grace to gain a plenary indulgence.

You just have to be free from venial sin and make an act of contrition and to gain a plenary indulgence.

Those were the days remember self flagellation.

I have read about that it sometimes took years to do penance.

My favorite was laying in the street letting everyone who walked by kick me.

Yes, and the actual penances due various sins by justice are still the same. They simply aren’t given. It’s simply a matter of substitution, i.e, someone else is stepping in and taking the punishment or penance due for you.

This is what an indulgence is, someone else out of charity intercedes and bears your burden. Our Lord, and the sufferings of the saints in Christ.

That’s why it’s a very holy act to bear penances, not only for one’s own sake but for the sake of others.

I don’t do any that can only be applied to me. And I cannot accidentally earn an indulgence so there is no problem here.

If I make it to Purgatory I will be very happy to serve whatever cleansing / purgation time I have created for myself. God knows what’s best for me. I’d rather see others not have to suffer as much even if it means me suffering more.

God Bless, :signofcross:
Poor Knight for Christ and His Church

Actually it is not necessary to receive an indulgence, that you intend to receive that specific indulgence at that specific time, if you have a general intention to receive indulgences.

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