Nearly 500 years after the 95 Theses, Roman Catholics still believe in indulgences that will free you or someone else from the punishments of Purgatory. A big one is offered in this Jubilee Year of Mercy, as initiated by the Pope when he opened the Holy Door in St. Peter’s basilica last Tuesday.
If you go through this door or one of other designated doors in churches throughout the world and fulfilled some other conditions (not paying money–the Counter Reformation accepted Luther’s arguments about that), you will be given a plenary indulgence that will give you complete remission of punishment for your sins up to that point. You may receive one plenary indulgence per day for subsequent sins or to release others from Purgatory. (But I thought souls want to be purged from their sins in Purgatory, according to modern Catholic and even some evangelical apologists for the doctrine! And if you can pay for others’ sins, why can’t Christ pay for all?)
Anyway, see how the plenary indulgence works, from a Catholic website, after the jump.
Plenary indulgences aplenty
Like all previous Jubilees, the Jubilee Year of Mercy features a very special plenary indulgence (the complete remission of all temporal punishment due to sin). . . .
This time around, Pope Francis is seeking to make the indulgence as widely available as possible. In the extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy, a Holy Door is to be opened in every cathedral around the world, as well as in particular shrines, such as the National Shrine of The Divine Mercy in Stockbridge, Massachusetts, where large numbers of pilgrims come to honor the mercy of God.
Even though we can only obtain one plenary indulgence a day, if you perform the required actions for other plenary indulgences on the same day, you can still obtain multiple partial indulgences.
To receive the Jubilee Year indulgence, you must fulfill the usual conditions, (specified below) and perform the indulgenced act: passing through a designated Holy Door during the extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy (between Dec. 8, 2015, the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception, and Nov. 20, 2016, the Solemnity of Christ the King) or performing one of the corporal or spiritual works of mercy. . . .You may receive the plenary indulgence yourself, or offer it for a person in purgatory.
Please see PrayForSouls.org/indulgence1 to read the Holy Father’s letter on the Jubilee Year indulgence.
To receive a plenary indulgence
To refresh everyone’s memories, here are the normal conditions for receiving a plenary indulgence:
- It is necessary that the faithful be in the state of grace at least at the time the indulgenced work is completed.
- A plenary indulgence can be gained only once a day. In order to obtain it, the faithful must, in addition to being in the state of grace:
- have the interior disposition of complete detachment from sin, even venial sin;
- have sacramentally confessed their sins;
- receive the Holy Eucharist (it is certainly better to receive it while participating in Holy Mass, but for the indulgence only Holy Communion is required); and
- pray for the intentions of the Supreme Pontiff.
It is appropriate, but not necessary, that the sacramental Confession and especially Holy Communion and the prayer for the Pope’s intentions take place on the same day that the indulgenced work is performed; but it is sufficient that these sacred rites and prayers be carried out within several days (about 20) before or after the indulgenced act. Prayer for the Pope’s intentions is left to the choice of the faithful, but an Our Father and a Hail Mary are suggested. One sacramental Confession suffices for several plenary indulgences, but a separate Holy Communion and a separate prayer for the Holy Father’s intentions are required for each plenary indulgence.
For the sake of those legitimately impeded, confessors can commute both the work prescribed and the conditions required (except, obviously, detachment from even venial sin).
Indulgences can always be applied either to oneself or to the souls of the deceased, but they cannot be applied to other persons living on earth.
– Adapted from the decree on the plenary indulgence for the 2000 Jubilee Year.