According to the Catechism, some little tidbits on indulgences:
1472 To understand this doctrine and practice of the Church, it is necessary to understand that sin has a double consequence. Grave sin deprives us of communion with God and therefore makes us incapable of eternal life, the privation of which is called the "eternal punishment" of sin. On the other hand every sin, even venial, entails an unhealthy attachment to creatures, which must be purified either here on earth, or after death in the state called Purgatory. This purification frees one from what is called the "temporal punishment" of sin. These two punishments must not be conceived of as a kind of vengeance inflicted by God from without, but as following from the very nature of sin. A conversion which proceeds from a fervent charity can attain the complete purification of the sinner in such a way that no punishment would remain.83
1473 The forgiveness of sin and restoration of communion with God entail the remission of the eternal punishment of sin, but temporal punishment of sin remains. While patiently bearing sufferings and trials of all kinds and, when the day comes, serenely facing death, the Christian must strive to accept this temporal punishment of sin as a grace. He should strive by works of mercy and charity, as well as by prayer and the various practices of penance, to put off completely the "old man" and to put on the "new man."84
We must also look at the doctrine behind "Purgatory:"
1030 All who die in God's grace and friendship, but still imperfectly purified, are indeed assured of their eternal salvation; but after death they undergo purification, so as to achieve the holiness necessary to enter the joy of heaven.
And finally some tidbits from the CCC on penance:
V. The Many Forms of Penance in Christian Life
1434 The interior penance of the Christian can be expressed in many and various ways. Scripture and the Fathers insist above all on three forms, fasting, prayer, and almsgiving,31 which express conversion in relation to oneself, to God, and to others. Alongside the radical purification brought about by Baptism or martyrdom they cite as means of obtaining forgiveness of sins: effort at reconciliation with one's neighbor, tears of repentance, concern for the salvation of one's neighbor, the intercession of the saints, and the practice of charity "which covers a multitude of sins."32
1435 Conversion is accomplished in daily life by gestures of reconciliation, concern for the poor, the exercise and defense of justice and right,33 by the admission of faults to one's brethren, fraternal correction, revision of life, examination of conscience, spiritual direction, acceptance of suffering, endurance of persecution for the sake of righteousness. Taking up one's cross each day and following Jesus is the surest way of penance.34
1436 Eucharist and Penance. Daily conversion and penance find their source and nourishment in the Eucharist, for in it is made present the sacrifice of Christ which has reconciled us with God. Through the Eucharist those who live from the life of Christ are fed and strengthened. "It is a remedy to free us from our daily faults and to preserve us from mortal sins."35
1437 Reading Sacred Scripture, praying the Liturgy of the Hours and the Our Father - every sincere act of worship or devotion revives the spirit of conversion and repentance within us and contributes to the forgiveness of our sins.
1438 The seasons and days of penance in the course of the liturgical year (Lent, and each Friday in memory of the death of the Lord) are intense moments of the Church's penitential practice.36 These times are particularly appropriate for spiritual exercises, penitential liturgies, pilgrimages as signs of penance, voluntary self-denial such as fasting and almsgiving, and fraternal sharing (charitable and missionary works).
1439 The process of conversion and repentance was described by Jesus in the parable of the prodigal son, the center of which is the merciful father:37 The fascination of illusory freedom, the abandonment of the father's house; the extreme misery in which the son finds himself after squandering his fortune; his deep humiliation at finding himself obliged to feed swine, and still worse, at wanting to feed on the husks the pigs ate; his reflection on all he has lost; his repentance and decision to declare himself guilty before his father; the journey back; the father's generous welcome; the father's joy - all these are characteristic of the process of conversion. the beautiful robe, the ring, and the festive banquet are symbols of that new life - pure worthy, and joyful - of anyone who returns to God and to the bosom of his family, which is the Church. Only the heart of Christ Who knows the depths of his Father's love could reveal to us the abyss of his mercy in so simple and beautiful a way.
If you take a look at the Preliminary Observations in the Enchirdion, you will see the following:
3. Participatio Sacrificii Missae et Sacramentorum indulgentiis, secundum traditionem, non ditatur: nam in seipsis praecelsam habent efficacitatem quoad « sanctificationem et purificationem ».2
Cum vero ob singulares eventus (veluti primam sacram Communionem, primam Missam a sacerdote novensili litandam, Missam in exitu Conventus Eucharistici celebrandam) indulgentia conceditur, haec non participationi Missae vel Sacramentorum adicitur, sed extraordinariis adiunctis ad eiusmodi participationem accedentibus. Itaque ope indulgentiae promovetur et quasi praemio afficitur se devovendi studium, quod huiusmodi celebritatum est proprium, bonum, quod aliis praebetur, exemplum, honor, qui augustae Eucharistiae et Sacerdotio tribuitur.
Attamen indulgentia addi potest, secundum traditionem, variis operibus pietatis privatae et publicae; praeterea eadem locupletari possunt opera caritatis et paenitentiae, quibus maius momentum nostris temporibus tribui oportet. Omnia autem haec opera indulgentiis praedita, ut alioquin quodvis aliud opus bonum et quivis cruciatus patienter toleratus, a Missa et Sacramentis nullatenus seiunguntur, utpote quae sint fontes praecipui sanctificationis et purificationis; 3 siquidem opera bona et cruciatus fiunt oblatio ipsorum fidelium, quae oblationi Christi in Eucharistico Sacrificio adiungitur; 4 siquidem Missa et Sacramenta fideles adducunt ad officia sibi imposita exsequenda adeo ut « vivendo teneant quod fide perceperunt »,5 et vicissim officia diligenter impleta animos melius in dies disponunt ad Missam et Sacramenta fructuose participanda. 6
Indulgences are given for works of public and private piety. They are given for works of charity and penance. The goal behind indulgences is not a checklist mentality of "do this and get this" -- rather the goal is the interior conversion of heart for the Christian, in an effort for the Christian to "put on the New Man." They are a method to help the Christian achieve sanctification.
I would submit that the person who, in a spirit of humility and piety, makes the Via Crucis sincerely will receive the benefits of the associated indulgence, whether the stations were set up properly or not. God looks at hearts, after all. Likewise, I also believe that the person who makes the Via Crucis with perfect precision with Stations that are perfectly conformed, but does so without the attitude of piety and humility, will get nothing out of it. How can I say this? Because in the first case, there is a conversion of heart. In the second case, there is, at best, superstition...and, at worst, cynicism.
However, what I am referring to is found in:
"I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven." (NIV)
These are the words of Jesus speaking...
Also there is:
If you forgive anyone his sins, they are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven." (NIV)
Now I had quoted from the National Shrine of St. Franics in San Francisco
Here is the key point:
... In 1686 the Franciscans received from Innocent XI the right to erect Stations in their churches; thus they, and all others affiliated to their order, could gain the same indulgences for making the Way of the Cross in their own churches as if they had made the journey to Jerusalem.Basically, there are three Popes that have submitted decrees on the Via Crucis.
In 1726 Benedict XIII extended the right to gain indulgences in these Franciscan churches to all the faithful. And in 1731 Clement XII permitted indulgenced Stations to all churchesprovided they were erected by a Franciscan priest. In 1862 this last restriction was removed, to accommodate those places where no Franciscans were available.
Therefore, what is Matthew 16:19 is applicable, since Jesus was speaking to Saint Peter, and in particular, it is the Keys to the Kingdom passge, which refers to Saint Peter's Papal Authority, and that of the successors of Saint Peter.
If you question what I write in this thread, then you are questioning the works of three Popes, and establishing your own norm for the Via Crucis.
True, people may gain spiritual merit from the meditation on the Stations of the Cross, but they might be denied Plenary Indulgences because the stations are not liturgically correct.
Basically, the point I am making is that if the Church you go to uses regular LEAVENED bread for communion, then that communion is invalid.
It is a violation of Liturgical Law.
Would the people know that the communion was invalid?
Finally, some people say the Via Crucis to help the poor souls in purgatory. By denying the Papal Authority behind the Stations of the Cross, the FULL SPIRITUAL MERIT MAY BE ATTAINED.
I originally learned the importance of this from the co-founder of EWTN -- Father Michael McDonough -- who thought much of prayer. That was the reason why there was a split between him and Mother Angelica... The mystic in this split, Alice Sullivan, went with Father Michael McDonough.
Alice Sullivan departing from Mother Angelica hurt Mother Angelica. I know because before one of Mother Angelica's TV Shows, I asked Mother Angelica if she remembered Alice Sullivan. She in turned asked me a question, which my response clearly left sadness in the face of Mother Angelica...
If you understand about mystics like Alice Sullivan, you will understand why following the rules of the Church are important...
In this case, it is the decrees of three Popes to help PROMULGATE THE STATIONS OF THE CROSS...