What is indulgence?


Yes I’m not sure what it means.

Also I heard there is partial and plenary, how does that work? Is it true that the Church used to charge people money for it?

Why does Protastens hate it so much? I heard they believe Jesus already took our punishment on the cross and thats why we don’t need to do anything any more. In that case why do we have to stop sinning since we wont be punished for every sin we committed?

As Catholics, isn’t all our sins are forgiven through the Sacrament of Reconciliation? then why do we need indulgences?

Are we required to take part in indulgences, or is optional?

Thank you all who are responding. And if you could recomened a book or articles that is even better. I would like to learn as much details as posible.


Study first the Church’s teaching on Indulgences

Section X, para. 1471 to 1473.

Also see the Compendium of the Catechism Q312: vatican.va/archive/compendium_ccc/documents/archive_2005_compendium-ccc_en.html

That’s what the Church teaches. Ask if you have any further questions after that.


Buying or selling any spiritual gift is and has been always condemned by the Church since the beginning.

The sin is called “SIMONY”. Look it up.

Indulgences are understood as stemming from the power given by Jesus to the Church (through the Apostles first and their successors the Bishops later) to bind and loose on Heaven and Earth.

As the other poster noted check the documents from the Vatican on what the indulgences actually mean.

By the way in order to merit to achieve an indulgence one has to be in a state of grace.
That means to have repented, gone to confession, having received absolution and leading a sinless (from mortal sin) life.


OOOhhhh, how I love indulgences! After reading about them, I realized I was doing things that were considered indulgences, but since I didn’t know, I couldn’t apply to it.

Indulgences are not required; in fact, I’d say a large majority of Catholics do not do them, and many may not even know about them.

Our sins ARE forgiven, if we ask for them to be by going to Confession as taught by the Faith. I view Purgatory as a ‘cleansing’ station. While the sin is gone and forgiven, it lives a ‘stain’ behind, and oh how I want to go to Heaven as clean as possible! If you are in Purgatory, you ARE going to Heaven! Wooo hooo!

I think that Protestants believe that Catholics try to ‘work’ their way into Heaven, which is not true; nor are indulgences working our way towards Heaven. I don’t recall if the Church truly sold indulgences or not (if so, it was a looooooooong time ago), but that is not a legitimate practice; also, people used to think that an indulgence could be measured by ‘days in Purgatory’. That is also not applicable.

All indulgences must be achieved in a state of grace; if not in the state of grace (no mortal sin), what a great time to go to Confession, which is one required part of achieving an indulgence anyway. Secondly, receiving the Holy Eucharist while still in that state of grace. Thirdly, performing the ‘work’, which may be reciting the Rosary in public with a group, out loud. (Did this just last Saturday, after Confession, before Mass…so took care of all three parts at once.) However, you can do all three within a 10 day span; they don’t need to be all at once. Since Confession is required, I tend to do that one first, but not always.

A partial indulgence remits a portion of what we are due to suffer in Purgatory. A plenary remits our entire time in Purgatory. I believe you can pray for the partial to be applied to a soul in purgatory, but only yourself (bad grammar, sorry) can receive a plenary. Divine Mercy Sunday is a great time for a Plenary Indulgence!! :slight_smile:

I have the St. Joseph prayer book, which in addition to having hundreds of amazing prayers, has a great section on indulgences. They can be quick or simple ones, and some might be novenas, which are 9 days. Going to the graveyard on All Souls Day is included in an indulgence, I believe. There are many!

God bless you!


The Catechism** 1471** tells us that “An indulgence is a remission before God of the temporal punishment due to sins whose guilt has already been forgiven"

For a biblical example, If you look at 2 Samuel, the story of King David and Bathsheba. David lusted after Bathsheba, wife of Uriah the Hittite. He had her brought to him and she became pregnant by king David. In order to hide this, he had Uriah killed. Later David repented and confessed his sin and so was forgiven. David would not die because God had taken away his sin (12:13) but his son that his sin had produced would die.

Again, “An indulgence is a remission before God of the temporal punishment due to sins whose guilt has already been forgiven"

The best way to answer your questions is to get a Catechism if you don’t have one. I hope this helps.


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