Saturday, September 12, 2009
Just wanted to share a refresher on the Church's indulgences.
- An indulgence is the remission before God of the temporal punishment due for sins already forgiven as far as their guilt is concerned. This remission the faithful with proper dispositions and under certain determined conditions acquire through the intervention of the Church which, as minister of the Redemption, authoritatively dispenses and applies the treasury of the satisfaction won by Christ and the Saints.
- An indulgence is partial or plenary, according as it removes either part or all of the temporal punishment due for sin.
- No one, acquiring indulgences, can apply them to other living persons.
- Partial as well as plenary indulgences can always be applied to the departed by way of suffrage.
- The grant of a partial indulgence is designated only with the words "partial indulgence", without any determinations of days or years.
- The faithful who at least with contrite heart perform an action to which a partial indulgence is attached, obtain, in addition to the remission of temporal punishment acquired by the action itself, an equal remission of punishment through the intervention of the Church.
- The faithful, who devoutly use an article f devotion (crucifix or cross, rosary, scapular or medal) properly blessed by any priest, obtain a partial indulgence.
But if the article of devotion has been blessed by the Sovereign Pontiff or by any bishop, the faithful, using it devoutly, can also gain a plenary indulgence on the feast of the Holy Apostles, Peter and Paul, provided they also make a profession of faith according to any legitimate formula.
- To be capable of gaining an indulgence for oneself, it is required that one be baptized, not excommunicated, in the state of g race at least at the completion of the prescribed works, and a subject of the one granting the induglence.
- In order that one who is capable may actually gain indulgences, one must have at least a general intention to gain them and must in accordance with the tenor of the grant perform the enjoined works at the time and in the manner prescribed.
- A plenary indulgence can be acquired once only in the course of a day. But one can obtain the plenary indulgence for the moment of death, even if another plenary indulgence had already been acquired on the same day. A partial indulgence can be acquired more than once a day, unless, otherwise expressly indicated.
- The work prescribed for acquiring a plenary induglence connected with a church or oratory consists in a devout visit and the recitation during the visit of one Our Father and the Creed.
- To acquire a plenary indulgence it is necessary to perform the work to which the indulgence is attached and to fulfill the following three conditions: sacramental confession, Eucharistic Communion, and prayer for the intention of the Sovereign Pontiff. It is further required that all attachment to sin, even venial sin, be absent.
- The three conditions may be fulfilled several days before or after the performance of the prescribed work; it is, however, fitting that Communion be received and the prayer for the intention of the Sovereign Pontiff be said on the same day the work is performed.
- A single sacramental confession suffices for gaining several plenary indulgences; but Communion must be received and prayer for the intention of the Sovereign Pontiff must be recited for the gaining of each plenary indulgence.
- The condition of praying for the intention of the Sovereign Pontiff is fully satisfied by reciting one Our Father and one Hail Mary; nevertheless, each one is free to recite any other prayer according to his piety and devotion.
- To gain an indulgence attached to a prayer, it is sufficient to recite the prayer alternately with a companion or to follow it mentally wile it is being recited by another.
Source: New Saint Joseph People's Prayer Book, Catholic Book Publishing Co.