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Indulgences: Spreading the Wealth
Homiletic & Pastoral Review ^ | November 2000 | Dermott J. Mullan

Posted on 01/17/2006 3:55:48 PM PST by annalex

An indulgence is an action of the Church which spreads her treasure of merits to the suffering members of the family of God.

Indulgences: Spreading the wealth

By Dermott J. Mullan

I. Introduction

Indulgences have to do with how God handles evil and good. To God, sin is always horrible, but humans do not always think so. The Church’s teaching on indulgences is meant to impress on us some of God’s horror of sin. The Church says sin is never an isolated event: rather, each sin has after-effects, not only in the person who sins but also in other parts of creation. Some of these after-effects are long-lived, and cannot be removed merely by going to Confession. But another side of the Church’s teaching on indulgences is that good deeds also have after-effects. And God deals with the after-effects of evil and the after-effects of good in different ways: the after-effects of good are much longer lived than the effects of sin. These aspects of the Church’s teaching are meant to open our minds to the wonder of belonging to the growing family of God.

II. The Family of God: who are our siblings?

At a baby’s baptism, the priest invites all present to pray the Our Father together so that the child will one day learn the highest duty of the baptized, to “call on God as Father in the midst of the Church.” This phrase reminds us that all baptized people share the same Father, and we remember this most vividly at Mass. Everyone we see around us at Mass calls the same person Father: He is not just “my” Father, but “our” Father. We are all part of one family, the family of God.

Now a family is a place where we feel most at home. On major celebrations, it is Natural to come back home, to gather with parents, brothers and sisters. At times, there may also be members of other generations of the family, such as cousins, aunts, uncles, and grandparents.

The family of God also has its celebrations: every Sunday is meant to be one. But in the family of God, there are no cousins, aunts, uncles, or grandparents: as the saying goes: “God has no grand-children.” We are all are called to be brothers and sisters. We first learn this from the other people we can see at Mass. But there are also many others who are truly our brothers and sisters: they live in the next parish, the next town, etc.

However, an unusual aspect of God’s family is this: we also have brothers and sisters whom we cannot see with our natural eyes. Some are centuries older than we are. Among our older siblings, some are a lot better children of our Father than we are. On the other hand, some of our older siblings are in a lot of pain, and have been suffering for a very long time.

Admittedly, it takes a lot more thought to recognize these invisible folk as siblings than it does for the people we see at Mass in our parish Church. It is not easy for human nature to grasp that someone who died centuries ago, such as St. Thomas Aquinas or St. Catherine of Siena, can really be considered as an older brother or sister. Yet that is what they are: they really do call on God as their Father in the midst of the same Church as we do. Compared with Thomas or Catherine, we who are alive today are mere babies in the family of God (no matter how sophisticated we may feel at times.)

III. Youngsters in the family

Children who happen to be at the end of a large family know how special it can be to have older siblings. This is especially true at Christmas or on a birthday. The older sibling may be earning amounts of money which to a child seem stupendous. And whereas the child may be able to spend only a few pennies on a present for the older sibling, the latter can provide expensive presents that set the child’s eyes agog. Family life is strengthened when all members buy presents for on another, each contributing what he or she can afford.

The same thing is true in God’s family. In God’s family, it also happens that some of our siblings are fabulously wealthy in the world of grace: but others of our siblings have gotten themselves into trouble, and have been tormented by serious pain in purgatory ever since they died. Indulgences are ways that our mother the Church has devised to enable her wealthiest children to share their fortune with the younger members of God’s Family (such as we), and for us (poor though we are) to share what we can with our older suffering siblings.

Why does it matter that we have older siblings in the family of God? Because of the sins we commit. In order o understand how valuable it is to have rich older siblings, we need to think about sin and its effects.

IV. Sin and its after-effects: 3 or 4 generations

Sin is a deliberate breaking of God’s law. Pope Paul VI, in his Apostolic Constitution on the Revision of Indulgences (1967), writes: “The truth has been divinely revealed that sins are followed by punishments. God’s holiness and justice inflict them. Sins must be expiated. This must be done on this earth through the sorrows, miseries, and trials of this life and above all through death. Otherwise the expiation must be made in the next life through fire and torments or purifying punishments . . . . The reasons [for punishments] are that our souls need to be purified, the holiness of the moral order needs to be strengthened, and God’s glory must be restored to its full majesty . . . every sin upsets the universal order which God has established. Further, every sin does immense harm to the sinner himself and to the community of men.”

In the last sentence of the above quote, the Pope says that when I sin, there are two kinds of after-effects: (a) in myself, and (b) in the world around me. First, sin destroys grace in my soul, and will condemn me to eternal punishment (if the sin is mortal), and leaves me in a spiritually weakened state. Secondly, my sin creates, as it were, some real damage in God’s world: my sin creates something like a broken window in the edifice of human history which was never meant to be there. This weakness in myself, and the damage in creation, are two important after-effects of sin.

How far does the damage done by my sin spread out through creation? In the case of certain sins, the answer is obvious: drunkenness or infidelity or excessive gambling by a parent often lead to great suffering for innocent members of a family. But what about sins which have less obvious effects: how far do their effects go? God provides an answer, in startling terms: “I, the LORD, your God, am a jealous God, inflicting punishment for their father’s wickedness on the children of those who hate me, down to the third and fourth generation” (Exod. 20:5). This remarkable statement leaves no doubt as to how serious sin is in God’s eyes. God’s answer applies to all sins, even sins which seem to have no obvious effects on the innocent members of the family. It is a chilling thought that when I commit a sin, I may be condemning my children and (if I ever have any) my grand-children to serious consequences.

To remove sin and its after-effects requires several things. First, friendship with God must be restored, and amends must be made for offending his wisdom and goodness: this is done by a sincere conversion of mind in a good confession to a priest. Confession removes the guilt of sin, and also removes any condemnation to eternal punishment (if mortal sin was committed).

But what about the weakness in my soul, and the damage I did to God’s creation? How are they to be removed? Confession does not do it. Pope Paul teaches that there are two ways:

“The first is by freely making reparation, which involves punishment. The second is by accepting the punishments God’s wisdom has appointed. . . . The very fact that punishment for sin exists, and that it is so severe, make it possible for us to understand how foolish and malicious sin is, and how harmful its consequences are.”

The souls who are now in purgatory are those “who died in the charity of God, were truly repentant, but who had not made satisfaction with adequate penance for their sins and omissions.”

V. Goodness and its after-effects: 1000 generations

The necessity of doing penance for sins is apparent from the words of Our Lord:

“Unless you do penance, you shall all likewise perish” (Luke 13: 3). But how do I know when I have done adequate penance for my sins? There is no obvious measuring stick to use: could it be that God is a taskmaster who is never satisfied? If this were true, it would be a heavy burden indeed. But there is good news for us precisely because we are members of God’s family. The fact is, some of our older siblings were so aware of how their sins had offended God, whom they loved, that they willingly suffered severe penances in order to repair the damage which they had done to God’s world. The Church teaches that these saints, by means of their penances, more than compensated for the damage their own sins had done.

This has a remarkable effect on us. We have already seen how God reacts to sin, and to people who hate Him. Now we ask: how does God react to people who love Him? God’s answer to this question is clear, startling and specific: “I, the LORD, your God . . . bestow mercy down to the thousandth generation on the children of those who love me and keep my commandments” (Exod. 20:6).

This must be regarded as one of the most remarkable statements in all of Scripture.

It says with clarity that God responds to love of him very differently from the way in which he responds to sin: although sin is by no means allowed to go unpunished, nevertheless, the punishments are felt for “only” three or four generations, whereas the effects of good last “for a thousand generations,” or essentially forever. In human terms, we may say that God rewards good deeds more than he punishes sin. God never forgets a good deed done by a person who loves him. The effects of sins peter out after a few generations (or as Psalm 1 says: “the way of the wicked vanishes” ), but God does not allow the effects of good deeds ever to fade away.

Now, some of our older siblings performed good deeds during their lives. In view of Exod. 20:6, we now recognize that God is still blessing those good deeds to this very day. Far from diminishing with the passing of the years, the amount of blessings has continued to swell as God’s family expands. The older the family of God becomes, the more loving deeds are performed, and the more the blessings accumulate. it is as if a tidal wave of blessings has been growing over time, getting larger and larger with each passing generation.

VI. The family of God comes of age

Pope Paul describes the “treasury of the Church” as including “the infinite value which Our Lord’s merits have in the eyes of God our Father, as well as the prayers and good works of the Blessed Virgin Mary . . . . In the treasury too are the prayers and good works of all the saints . . . they attained their own salvation and at the same time cooperated in saving their brothers in the unity of the Mystical Body.”

Pope Paul admits that indulgences were not a widespread idea in the primitive Church. It took time for the doctrine to grow. The idea that pastors could set someone free of the after-effects of sin by applying the merits of Christ and of the saints grew up gradually in the Church over the centuries. The Church took time to realize that the after-effects of good deeds were building up as the years went on, growing like some sort of tidal wave of ever-increasing size.

If we can return to the analogy of the family, we see that this development makes sense. In a family, it takes some time before the parents can call on the older siblings to start to contribute to family life. For example, when a child reaches age 7-10, he/she can begin to help with raising the younger members and doing chores. And when he/she reaches age 15-20, financial contributions to the family become possible. Once enough time has passed, it seems natural to have the older siblings help out with the younger ones. So it was with the Church after the first few centuries went by: the blessings that God was showering on the great saints long after they themselves were dead gradually became available to the younger members of the Church.

Eventually the Popes decreed that certain works which were suitable for promoting the common good of the Church could replace all penitential practices. Then the faithful who were genuinely sorry for their sins, and had confessed them, and had done such works, were granted by God’s mercy, and trusting in His apostles’ power, the most complete forgiveness possible for their sins (Pope Paul VI).

VII. Indulgences: what and why?

Eternal punishment for mortal sin cannot be removed by indulgences: only the infinite power of Christ can do that in the soul of someone who is truly contrite. It is the non-eternal punishment that is the subject of indulgences, and here, even the non-infinite contributions of our older siblings can contribute.

An “indulgence” means taking away the after-effects of sin when the guilt is already forgiven. An indulgence is an action on the part of the Church to spread the treasury amassed by Christ and by our older siblings to the less fortunate members of the family of God.

Why does the Church want us to gain indulgences? First, they help us to expiate our sins. Second, they encourage us to do works of piety, penitence, and charity. Third, when we gain an indulgence, we are admitting that by our own power, we cannot adequately remedy the harm we have done to ourselves or to God’s world by our sins. Finally, indulgences remind us of the enormous liberality which God gives to those who love him: we can honestly say that we are taking advantage of blessings which God is still pouring out on people who loved him centuries ago. Indulgences make me truly feel like a member of the Church.

VIII. Pennies from the youngsters: the holy souls.

Indulgences show how closely knit we are as the family of God. They remind us of the good lives which our older siblings lived. And although these older siblings are much richer than we will ever be, nevertheless, the doctrine of indulgences does not by any means sneer at the little we can contribute. What we have to offer may seem like pennies compared with what the giants of the Church have contributed. Just as in a human family, the youngest members cannot come u with much spending money when they want to but Christmas presents: but family spirit is built up when even these youngest members contribute what they can. So it is in the Church: we who are alive today, the youngsters in the family of God, can gain indulgences to help the holy souls, our suffering brothers in purgatory. When we do this, we are practicing charity in what Pope Paul calls “an outstanding way.”

IX. Plenary and partial indulgences

Certain pious exercises carry with them indulgences which have the effect that ALL of the after-effects of sin are removed. These are called plenary (or complete) indulgences. Other indulgences remove only some of the after-effects: these are called partial indulgences. In older prayer books, you may see a period of time attached to certain prayers: this meant that the indulgence was only partial. The time period meant that if I say that prayer, the after-effects of my sin are removed to the same extent and they would have been if I had endured one of the penances of the early Church for that length of time. However, Pope Paul in 1967, in his role as chief dispenser of the treasury of the Church, decreed that no time intervals would any longer be assigned to partial indulgences.

Plenary indulgences can be gained in several ways. For example, by spending at least one half-hour in adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, or in reading the Scriptures with the veneration due the Divine Word; reciting the Rosary in a church with pious meditation on the mysteries; praying the Stations of the Cross. These indulgences are available at all times of the year. Certain practices carry plenary indulgences only at certain times of the year. For example, each day from November 1 to November 8, a plenary indulgence applicable only to the souls in Purgatory is granted to the faithful who devoutly visit a cemetery and pray for the dead. On All Souls Day, a plenary indulgence, also applicable only to the souls in purgatory, is granted to the faithful who piously visit a Church and recite one Our Father and the Creed. Other feasts of the Church on which plenary indulgences can be obtained include the Sacred Heart, Christ the King, Pentecost, Lenten Fridays, and the Easter Vigil.

X. Conditions for gaining indulgences

While it is true that indulgences are gifts to those of us who are members of Christ’s Catholic Church, there are certain conditions for gaining them. To gain a plenary indulgence, the indulgenced practice must be performed, and the following conditions must be fulfilled: (i) sacramental confession; (ii) Eucharistic communion; (iii) prayer for the Pope’s intentions (Our Father and one Hail Mary). Further, it is necessary to be free from all attachment to any sin at all, even venial sin.

Why should we pray for the Pope’s intentions? Because we have access to indulgences through the generosity of the Church, of which the Pope is the visible head on earth.

The three conditions may be fulfilled several days before or after the indulgenced work has been performed. One sacramental confession suffices to gain several plenary indulgences. But for each plenary indulgence, communion must be received, and prayers for the Pope’s intentions must be said.

No more than one plenary indulgence can be gained in one day, except on the day of death.


Dr. Dermott J. Mullan is a Professor at the University of Delaware where he does research on magnetic fields in stars. Born and raised in Northern Ireland, he first came to the USA to study for his Ph. D. He met his wife at the Newman Center at the University of Maryland. They now have ten children, ranging in age from 10 to 29. This is his first article in HPR.


TOPICS: Apologetics; Catholic; Ecumenism; Theology
KEYWORDS: atonement; communion; communionofsaints; error; indulgences; manmade; merit; mistakes; reformation; saints; treasureofmerits
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INDULGENTIARUM DOCTRINA

1 posted on 01/17/2006 3:55:50 PM PST by annalex
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To: Kolokotronis; kosta50; Dionysiusdecordealcis; jo kus; Hermann the Cherusker

Here is something on the "treasure of merits" that we wanted to discuss.


2 posted on 01/17/2006 3:59:40 PM PST by annalex
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To: annalex

Offeratory box cha-ching ping.


3 posted on 01/17/2006 4:26:28 PM PST by sanormal
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To: annalex

BTTT. One of my sons was just asking me about this the other day, and I know my explanation wasn't as clear as it could have been (on a better day ...).

I'll have him read this article.


4 posted on 01/17/2006 4:30:38 PM PST by Tax-chick (D-minus-7.)
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To: annalex

well-written article - thank you for posting it.


5 posted on 01/17/2006 6:13:13 PM PST by Nihil Obstat (Unless you do penance, you shall all likewise perish.)
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To: annalex
And in contrast, we have...

1 John 1:9

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.


6 posted on 01/17/2006 7:26:13 PM PST by PetroniusMaximus
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To: Kolokotronis; kosta50

Once again, I believe the most Orthodox response would be to ignore postings such as this one.


7 posted on 01/17/2006 8:18:27 PM PST by FormerLib (Kosova: "land stolen from Serbs and given to terrorist killers in a futile attempt to appease them.")
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To: FormerLib; Kolokotronis

Kolokotronis informed me that because of a personal circumstance involving travel he will delay his response. He is one who suggested this topic for discussion. In my experience, the Orthodox postings have been a model of intellectual probity and penetration, both when we, Catholics, see eye to eye, which is most everytime, and when we do not.


8 posted on 01/17/2006 10:00:23 PM PST by annalex
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To: PetroniusMaximus

Thank you for the quote.


9 posted on 01/17/2006 10:01:30 PM PST by annalex
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To: annalex

Spices were burnt on behalf of the deceased Kings of Judah (Jeremiah 34:5).

I wonder why. Probably just nonsense.


10 posted on 01/17/2006 10:32:46 PM PST by sanormal
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To: annalex

"Thank you for the quote."

So how do you think that quote bears upon the articles presupposition that there are two punishments for sin (eternal & temporal) we must deal with before we are fully clean?

If full cleansing & forginess required indulgences (or the "punishment" indulgences supposedly pay for) then how could the verse claim that we can obtain full forgivness and full purification though simply confessing our sins?


11 posted on 01/17/2006 11:12:49 PM PST by PetroniusMaximus
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To: sanormal

"I wonder why."

Why do you think?


12 posted on 01/17/2006 11:15:32 PM PST by PetroniusMaximus
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To: annalex

Good article about a frequently misunderstood topic.

One thing that I think comes through particularly clearly in this is the Catholic concept of the saints (and not only the "officially" canonized) and the souls in Purgatory as being still part of the community of believers, in their new and different way after death.


13 posted on 01/18/2006 2:46:45 AM PST by livius
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To: livius
Good article about a frequently misunderstood topic.

VERY frequently misunderstood. Any time the archbishop gives a blessing with a plenary indulgence attached, he explains the conditions. We should all know the conditions.

14 posted on 01/18/2006 4:45:06 AM PST by Desdemona (Music Librarian and provider of cucumber sandwiches, TTGC Ladies' Auxiliary. Hats required.)
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To: PetroniusMaximus
If full cleansing & forginess required indulgences (or the "punishment" indulgences supposedly pay for) then how could the verse claim that we can obtain full forgivness and full purification though simply confessing our sins?

I think you're constructing a contradiction where none exists. It says "if we confess, then we will be fully purified," but it doesn't tell you how that purification will take place or what can make it happen more expeditiously.

To put it in concrete terms, anyone who dies having confessed all mortal sins goes to heaven. If necessary, they are cleansed in purgatory (if not before they die). Therefore, anyone who confesses is cleansed. No indulgences are required, but that's not the same thing as saying that they aren't helpful.

The cited verse is not inconsistent with Catholic doctrine at all.

15 posted on 01/18/2006 7:45:36 AM PST by Campion ("I am so tired of you, liberal church in America" -- Mother Angelica, 1993)
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To: PetroniusMaximus

Yawn. Forgiveness does not require indulgencies. Read the damn article.


16 posted on 01/18/2006 8:17:15 AM PST by annalex
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To: annalex

"Yawn. Forgiveness does not require indulgencies. Read the damn article."

But, in Catholic thinking, are not indulgences (or suffering) required for purification from all unrighteousness?


17 posted on 01/18/2006 12:13:42 PM PST by PetroniusMaximus
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To: PetroniusMaximus

Folks get misdirected by the word "indulgence" which seems to mean something naughty.

Translated into evangenglish: An indulgence is a blessing that comes from God that has a powerful effect upon the person who recieves it.

To get this blessing the person must want to be closer to God and do something that brings Him closer, such as reading and meditating on the Scriptures or saying the Lord's prayer with devotion.

It is impossible to buy or trade these blessings as they come from God.

These blessings from God will not make up for unrepented sins. They will not spare you hell if you haven't surrendered to the Lordship of Christ. They will not earn you a higher level of heaven. They will help to bring you closer to the Lord and make you more like Him.

There is a little book that contains recommendations of proven things you can do to be closer to Christ in your walk with Him. This little book contains such ideas as:

+Memorize verses of Scripture and call them to mind throughout the day while doing your daily work
+Fast from something good and pleasing with a spirit of rejection of sin
+Devote yourself to compassionate service to those in need
+Teach or study Christian doctrine
+Begin your day with prayer
+Go on a retreat
+Spend time talking with the Lord
+Go hear a preacher or a mission
+Go to a brief mini-retreat each month
+Spend at least a half hour reading the Scriptures
+Recall your day and pray each night before bed
+Renew your baptismal promises

The book also has many recommended prayers for many different circumstances.

This book is called The Handbook of Indulgences (Enchiridion Indulgentiarum) published by the Catholic Church.


18 posted on 01/18/2006 1:49:38 PM PST by sanormal
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To: PetroniusMaximus
Yes, suffering is ordinarily necessary to obtain the Beatific Vision. It is not necessary for forgiveness. From the article:
To remove sin and its after-effects requires several things. First, friendship with God must be restored, and amends must be made for offending his wisdom and goodness: this is done by a sincere conversion of mind in a good confession to a priest. Confession removes the guilt of sin, and also removes any condemnation to eternal punishment (if mortal sin was committed).

But what about the weakness in my soul, and the damage I did to God’s creation? How are they to be removed? Confession does not do it. Pope Paul teaches that there are two ways:

“The first is by freely making reparation, which involves punishment. The second is by accepting the punishments God’s wisdom has appointed. . . . The very fact that punishment for sin exists, and that it is so severe, make it possible for us to understand how foolish and malicious sin is, and how harmful its consequences are.”

The souls who are now in purgatory are those “who died in the charity of God, were truly repentant, but who had not made satisfaction with adequate penance for their sins and omissions.”


19 posted on 01/18/2006 1:51:26 PM PST by annalex
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To: annalex
"Indulgences."

The single most inexplicable and corruptive tenet of Catholicism through the ages.

20 posted on 01/18/2006 1:55:37 PM PST by F16Fighter
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To: F16Fighter

Thank you for your valuable opinion.


21 posted on 01/18/2006 2:02:27 PM PST by annalex
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To: F16Fighter
"Indulgences."

The single most inexplicable and corruptive tenet of Catholicism through the ages.

Indulgences: a stumbling block for the Protestants and a foolishness for the Orthodox ;>

22 posted on 01/18/2006 2:06:09 PM PST by conservonator (Pray for those suffering)
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To: conservonator
"Indulgences: a stumbling block for the Protestants and a foolishness for the Orthodox ;>"

A Scriptural "stumbling block," as is "Purgatory."

Over the ages the CC has amassed an untold fortune convincing untold millions -- rich and poor -- that monetary "Indulgences" would influence and limit time spent (in leiu of penance) in "Purgatory."

23 posted on 01/18/2006 2:24:35 PM PST by F16Fighter
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To: F16Fighter
Over the ages the CC has amassed an untold fortune convincing untold millions -- rich and poor -- that monetary "Indulgences" would influence and limit time spent (in leiu of penance) in "Purgatory."

Simony has always been a sin recognized by the Church, most people, including clerics, have no problem sinning. Nothing anti scriptural about either indulgences or purgatory. Sola scriptura and sola fide, well those are horses of a different color.

24 posted on 01/18/2006 2:39:26 PM PST by conservonator (Pray for those suffering)
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To: annalex
In three days, we've had an article on indulgences and an article on the construction of St. Peters. As a Lutheran, I'm going to *bite* *my* *tongue* after saying "Tetzel!"
25 posted on 01/18/2006 2:43:41 PM PST by GAB-1955 (being dragged, kicking and screaming, into the Kingdom of Heaven....)
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To: GAB-1955
Tetzel for those of you wondering...
26 posted on 01/18/2006 2:52:14 PM PST by conservonator (Pray for those suffering)
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To: GAB-1955

Thank you. I did not post it to quarrel with the Protestants, and did not ping any. This is an in-depth article regarding the exact nature of penance following absolution of sin. It is intended for those who understand and agree with the fundamental teaching of the Church, but want to learn more. Typically, those would be my fellow Catholic and Orthodox.


27 posted on 01/18/2006 2:52:45 PM PST by annalex
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To: F16Fighter
"Over the ages the CC has amassed an untold fortune convincing untold millions -- rich and poor -- that monetary "Indulgences" would influence and limit time spent (in leiu of penance) in "Purgatory.""

Indulgences can't be bought or sold. To attempt do so would be simony. It would also be silly. It would be a bit like trying to sell the Lord's Prayer.

Indulgences do not limit time spent in Purgatory. Purgatory is not temporal (you have to be dead to get there), therefore, there is no "time" in Purgatory.

These claims are commonly part of the mythologies created by folks that don't know no better.

The Catholic Church has amassed an untold fortune in the masterpieces of Western civilization. This untold fortune costs a fortune (annually told) to restore and maintain for future generations. No thanks required. BTW, I really dig the F16C.
28 posted on 01/18/2006 2:59:08 PM PST by sanormal
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Comment #29 Removed by Moderator

To: conservonator
"Nothing anti scriptural about either indulgences or purgatory."

Any scriptural citation to make your case?

30 posted on 01/18/2006 4:11:23 PM PST by F16Fighter
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To: sanormal
"Indulgences can't be bought or sold. To attempt do so would be simony. It would also be silly. It would be a bit like trying to sell the Lord's Prayer....The Catholic Church has amassed an untold fortune in the masterpieces of Western civilization. This untold fortune costs a fortune (annually told) to restore and maintain for future generations. No thanks required."

Unfortunately, it's a practice that had been engaged in for centuries by the CC. Just how do you think they amassed this priceless fortune? The real estate alone is worth hundreds of billions.

"Indulgences do not limit time spent in Purgatory. Purgatory is not temporal (you have to be dead to get there), therefore, there is no "time" in Purgatory.

"These claims are commonly part of the mythologies created by folks that don't know no better."

"Myths"?? I beg to differ as a former Catholic.

Purgatory? Now we're talking myth. But even so, in the not too distant past monetary Indulgences certainly were encouraged in leiu of less "suffering."

Oddly, there seems not to be ANY authority who has ever definitively explained the place, process and terms of entry OR exit.

If you can shed some light on the matter, I'd appreciate it....Btw, I'm not an F16 pilot.

31 posted on 01/18/2006 4:26:33 PM PST by F16Fighter
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To: F16Fighter

"Just how do you think they amassed this priceless fortune? The real estate alone is worth hundreds of billions."

As the font of Western civilization, the treasures of the Catholic Church are priceless. These treasures are works of faith, love and devotion over 2000 years. Certainly, none would be so crass as to imply that Michaelangelo created his Pieta because he wanted to lessen time in purgatory or spring souls or some such nonsense. Certainly not.

The mythologies concerning indulgences/purgatory are commonly repeated in many circles. Their repetition certainly does not make them true.

The Catholic Church has never, ever taught that indulgences lessened time in purgatory.

This is a common myth that is in part due to the way that indulgences were categorized, in the past. Old prayer cards (and such) used to be categorized using the monastic days of penance. Folks that didn't know no better assumed that the days referred to on the back of grannies prayer card referred to the days that one would be spared of fiery sufferin' in purgy-tory if one said the pious prayer. We all know what happens when one assumes.

In my experience, former Catholics are notoriously unreliable as a source of authentic teachings of the Catholic Church.

I'll try to shed some light on Purge-a-tory in plain Evanenglish.

Purgatory is the place where the saints go to be perfectly conformed to Christ. It is a place where the grace of God strips away any last remants of selfishness so that the saints of God may blaze with the glory of God with the heavenly host. Purgatory isn't necessary. Some Christians leave this earth without any trace of selfishness and go immediately to the throne. God makes provision for the rest, out of love, to complete their perfection begun on earth and not finished. That provision is called Purgatory.

Let's all hug and hold hands. I feel a song coming on.


32 posted on 01/18/2006 5:35:19 PM PST by sanormal
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To: sanormal
"In my experience, former Catholics are notoriously unreliable as a source of authentic teachings of the Catholic Church.

I'll try to shed some light on Purge-a-tory in plain Evanenglish.

Purgatory is the place where the saints go to be perfectly conformed to Christ. It is a place where the grace of God strips away any last remants of selfishness so that the saints of God may blaze with the glory of God with the heavenly host. Purgatory isn't necessary. Some Christians leave this earth without any trace of selfishness and go immediately to the throne. God makes provision for the rest, out of love, to complete their perfection begun on earth and not finished. That provision is called Purgatory.

Let's all hug and hold hands. I feel a song coming on."

Thanks for 'splainin' Purgatory "in plain Evanenglish."

Now if you could only share in Cathenglish the secret "authentic" source of such a revelation.

(Are we singing 'Kumbaya' yet??)

33 posted on 01/18/2006 6:15:18 PM PST by F16Fighter
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To: F16Fighter
Any scriptural citation to make your case?

Sure, but 'anti' doesn't mean 'extra', it means opposed too.

Purgatory

Indulgences

34 posted on 01/18/2006 7:06:26 PM PST by conservonator (Pray for those suffering)
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To: F16Fighter

"Now if you could only share in Cathenglish the secret "authentic" source of such a revelation."

Catechism of the Catholic Church. Authentic teaching. Plain English. Fully indexed and Scripturified.


35 posted on 01/18/2006 7:27:02 PM PST by sanormal
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To: sanormal; F16Fighter
"Purgatory is the place where the saints go to be perfectly conformed to Christ. It is a place where the grace of God strips away any last remants of selfishness so that the saints of God may blaze with the glory of God with the heavenly host. Purgatory isn't necessary. Some Christians leave this earth without any trace of selfishness and go immediately to the throne."

Purgatory translates into a "second chance" for Catholics who think that if they don't pursue holiness and righteousness in this world they can deal with it in the next. In reality these people are more than likely lost - i.e. spiritually unconverted and Purgatory is they lie that lulls them into a waiting hell.

Heaven - it's clearly described in the Bible. Hell is also. Purgatory? The Scripture knows nothing of it.
36 posted on 01/18/2006 8:06:07 PM PST by PetroniusMaximus
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To: conservonator; F16Fighter
"Purgatory"

Those scriptures cited by your link are used in a dishonest way. In many cases there is no evidence from the passage that any kind of after death condition is in view, but rather the suffering and trials promised to those who would follow Jesus.

This is the sort of exegesis/isogesis I would expect from a wacky cult - not the RCC!
37 posted on 01/18/2006 8:12:09 PM PST by PetroniusMaximus
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To: annalex

"To remove sin and its after-effects requires several things."

Hebrews 9:22
In fact, the law requires that nearly everything be cleansed with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.

How were sins forgiven in the OT?

By blood alone.




"The souls who are now in purgatory are those “who died in the charity of God, were truly repentant, but who had not made satisfaction with adequate penance for their sins and omissions.”

Why are you trying to pay for somethiong that is freely offered???

Colossians 2:13
And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses;

Romans 3:24
Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:


38 posted on 01/18/2006 8:20:25 PM PST by PetroniusMaximus
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To: conservonator
While I appreciate your effort and link in having Indulgences and Purgatory explained -- and with all due respect -- "Purgatory" remains an allegory. "Purgatory" is NEVER mentioned by name in the Bible. Neither is "Indulgences."

As to "Indulgences," I'll briefly and simply comment on "Principle 1: Sin Results in Guilt and Punishment."

We are ALL "sinners." The "guilt and punishment" has been paid by the blood and stripes of Christ. That simple.

On the issue of "Indulgences," the one I address is one of monetary in nature.

Instead of "penance," money or deed was a substitute, and it could be applied to another's "account."

I believe this practice began sometime in the Middle Ages, but I won't belabor this historical point by providing link after link.

39 posted on 01/18/2006 8:28:45 PM PST by F16Fighter
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To: sanormal
"Catechism of the Catholic Church. Authentic teaching. Plain English. Fully indexed and Scripturified."

"Plain English" I'll give ya ;-)

40 posted on 01/18/2006 8:30:58 PM PST by F16Fighter
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To: F16Fighter


Go to bed...lol.


41 posted on 01/18/2006 8:36:54 PM PST by onyx (Merry Christmas everybody.)
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To: PetroniusMaximus
"Purgatory translates into a "second chance" for Catholics who think that if they don't pursue holiness and righteousness in this world they can deal with it in the next."

Totally contrived, but the reasons why are clear.

42 posted on 01/18/2006 8:37:45 PM PST by F16Fighter
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To: onyx

Hey Yooooo!


43 posted on 01/18/2006 8:38:30 PM PST by F16Fighter
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To: F16Fighter

:)

Right back atcha. Happy New Year.

44 posted on 01/18/2006 8:39:37 PM PST by onyx (Merry Christmas everybody.)
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To: PetroniusMaximus
"Why are you trying to pay for somethiong that is freely offered???"

OUCH. That's gonna leave a mark.

45 posted on 01/18/2006 8:40:24 PM PST by F16Fighter
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To: PetroniusMaximus
Why are you trying to pay for somethiong that is freely offered???

You are really making noise when you could have read the article and figured all that for yourself, if you are so inclined. It is not that difficult. Look for passages that explain the difference between forgiveness of sin (atoned by Christ) and removal of after-effects of sin (not done by Christ).

Then reflect on Matthew 18:21-34 where payment for after-effects of sin is commanded.

46 posted on 01/18/2006 9:21:15 PM PST by annalex
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To: F16Fighter
Just how do you think they amassed this priceless fortune?

Generosity from the faithful and great patrons. In a lot of places, churches and schools were built incurring great monetary debts that took decades to pay off. And then there is the maintenance. The parish that I belong to happens to be the cathedral of my archdiocese. Cleaning the ceiling - a series of masterpiece mosiacs installed over 61 years - costs about $500K to clean. Fortunately, that doesn't have to happen very often, but soot from candles does have to be cleaned off.

Where does the cash come from? We all write checks. we have a development department (incidentally the current practices in the world of development were formulated by one Joseph Cardinal Ritter) that raises money constantly for these purposes.

Incidentally, there was a recent article posted here on the Vatican archives and told of all the letters from the great Renaissance masters who were working on St. Peter's and in other places in the Vatican to the wealthy patrons asking for cash to keep projects going. All of those collections are kept in trust for future generations to be inspired and see what great passion gives the world.

47 posted on 01/19/2006 5:31:38 AM PST by Desdemona (Music Librarian and provider of cucumber sandwiches, TTGC Ladies' Auxiliary. Hats required.)
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To: F16Fighter
Now if you could only share in Cathenglish the secret "authentic" source of such a revelation.

A Jewish book which is in the Catholic Bible called Maccabbees. These are the people who give our Jewish friends Channakah.

BTW, if you know Handel's Messiah, the seventh movement "He Shall Purify" speaks to it, as well as the alto air about the refiner's fire.

48 posted on 01/19/2006 5:35:28 AM PST by Desdemona (Music Librarian and provider of cucumber sandwiches, TTGC Ladies' Auxiliary. Hats required.)
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To: F16Fighter; PetroniusMaximus
Other things not mentioned in the bible: trinity, salvation by faith alone, revelation only contained in Scripture, denominationalism, etc.

Purgatory is clearly illuminated in Scripture as are indulgences. Your unwillingness or inability to see what is present is more a function of your Protestant perspective than scriptural content.

49 posted on 01/19/2006 6:00:26 AM PST by conservonator (Pray for those suffering)
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To: PetroniusMaximus
Purgatory translates into a "second chance" for Catholics who think that if they don't pursue holiness and righteousness in this world they can deal with it in the next. In reality these people are more than likely lost - i.e. spiritually unconverted and Purgatory is they lie that lulls them into a waiting hell.

Really, I expected better of you than this little gem. You know very well that there is no "second chance" after death and if you read scripture you would know that nothing unclean can enter heaven. Purgatory is for the saved and the saved alone, it is made possible only because of the salvific work of the Lord. The damned dream of purgatory.

50 posted on 01/19/2006 6:05:19 AM PST by conservonator (Pray for those suffering)
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