Prime Osborn Convention Center
Friday Evening to Saturday
March 16 – 17, 2017
What is an indulgence?
The word indulgence comes from the Latin indulgentia, to be kind or tender. It originally meant kindness or favor and later came to mean the remission of a tax or debt. As used in the teachings of the Church, the word reflects the kindness and mercy of God and the remission of the temporal punishment due to sin. As stated in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, “An indulgence is partial or plenary according as it removes either part or all of the temporal punishment due to sin” (Catechism, §1471). What is the temporal punishment due to sin? It is the human condition whereby we prefer this life to eternal life, the material world to the spiritual realm, our own will to God’s will. The trials and tribulations that accompany this condition, because we are immersed in “temporal” or non-eternal things, are the temporal punishment of our sinful condition.
In the Sacrament of Penance, sins are forgiven and the eternal punishment associated with those sins is remitted, but the temporal punishment of sin remains. However, throughout our lives, we must atone for this temporal punishment through prayer, penance and works of charity. To the extent possible, we must “put away the old self and put on the new self, created in God’s way” (Ephesians 4:22, 24). If at the end of our lives we remain attached to temporal things, purifying grace is still extended to us in the state called “purgatory,” so that we can prefer God to all else and enter eternal life with an undivided heart. Whether in this life or the next, our destiny is eternal union with God. The Church assists us in this effort through the granting of indulgences. Each opportunity to obtain an indulgence is a wonderful opportunity to grow in holiness. By following the prescribed requirements, the faithful gain the full or partial remission of temporal punishment in this life-a great blessing on the spiritual journey toward union with God.
There are two types of indulgences. A partial indulgence is just what it says – it removes “part” of the punishment owed for sin. A plenary indulgence accounts for all of the liability for punishment owed by one for forgiven sins up to that time.
The requirements to obtain a partial indulgence include: (1) be a baptized Christian, (2) be in a state of grace, (3) have the intention to obtain the indulgence and (4) perform the work of offer the prayers correctly. In order to obtain a plenary indulgence the same requirements to obtain a partial indulgence must be met along with the following: (a) not be excommunicated, (b) have no affection for sin, even venial sin and (c) receive the Sacrament of Penance and Holy Communion and offer prayers for the pope’s intention within the prescribed period of time.