Why do we mention Mary and the Saints when describing the Spiritual Treasury?

The Baltimore Catechism defines the Spiritual Treasury thus:

The Church, by means of Indulgences, remits the temporal punishment due to sin by applying to us the merits of Jesus Christ, and the superabundant satisfactions of the Blessed Virgin Mary and of the saints; which merits and satisfactions are its spiritual treasury.

Since the merits of Jesus Christ are infinite, I see no reason to include the abundant but finite merits of the Saints. It’s not like the Church will ever need to tap those merits.

Notice how it refers to the merits of Jesus Christ but when talking about Mary and the Saints it speaks of satisfactions only. It does not speak of the merits of Mary and the saints.

Merits and satisfactions are not the same thing. Merits accrue only to you. Satisfactions can be transferred - ie you can fast for someone or do penance for someone in purgatory. Like Paul you can build up Christ’s body with your suffering.

newadvent.org/cathen/10202b.htm explains it better than I can.

-Tim-

The Holy Souls in Purgatory might disagree with
your view.

You will know the answer to your question if you can answer the following:

Why did God chose to send harvester to the field when He could harvest it all Himself?

God is not a minimalist. He is lavishly excessive in his graces. The greatest gift of God is himself. The second greatest is each other.

And, in the case of the merits of Jesus, to everyone else as well.

Satisfactions can be transferred - ie you can fast for someone or do penance for someone in purgatory. Like Paul you can build up Christ’s body with your suffering.

OK, but maybe I should have clarified that my question (and the Baltimore Catechism answer I cited) applies to indulgences, not the broader category of intercessory sacrifice or prayer.

In what way? I can pray for them, which is my own intercessory prayer, and does not draw upon the Spiritual Treasury of the Church. I can offer an indulgence on their behalf, which does draw upon the Spiritual Treasury, but this treasury has an infinite balance, even without any deposits of the Saints.

Why might the Church Expectant disagree with me?

That’s an interesting question. But I don’t think the answer to that question actually relates to my question.

My answer to your question would be in the form of another question, namely how God could “harvest it all himself” and still permit us free will. I would argue that this is not possible.

But my answer to your question does not help me answer my original question.

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