What is an Indulgence?

Dear Parishioners & Visitors,

What is an Indulgence? (Adapted from the Archdiocese Year of Mercy Website) Every sin has a double consequence. One consequence is that sin either weakens (venial sin) or destroys (mortal sin) our relationship with God. The other consequence is that the sin causes us to have
an incorrect and unhealthy attachment to material things and either weakens or dulls our conscience. The former is healed by the forgive- ness of sin granted by God, normally encountered by means of the sacraments. Even after being forgiven the later consequence remains until we undergo a puri cation process. Those who die in communion with God but for whom this process is not complete must continue to undergo puri cation in death before coming into the presence of God. The state of being in this process is called Purgatory.

Prayer, good works, and the exercise of the virtues can assist in this process of purgation and detachment.  An indulgence is a remission before God of temporal punishment due to sins whose guilt has already been forgiven.  The Church regulates the granting of indulgences in that typically there are certain conditions which must be met and certain works which must be performed. The conditions necessary for an indulgenced include:

  • Being in the state of grace and disposed to receive the indulgence.
  • Having confessed one’s sins sacramentally,
  • Receiving Holy Communion, and
  • Offering prayers for the Holy Father and his intentions.

It is appropriate but not necessary, that the sacramental Confession and especially the Holy Communion and the prayer for the Pope take place on the same day that the indulgenced work is performed; but it is su cient that these sacred rites and prayers be carried out within several days (about 20) before or after the indulgenced act. Indulgenc- es can be applied either to oneself or to the souls of the deceased, but they cannot be applied to other living persons.

The Jubilee Indulgence
Pope Frances has specified that for the Jubilee Indulgence the works that must be performed are:

  • Making a profession of faith,
  • Reflecting on the mercy of God, and
  • Passing through a Holy Door at one end of the specified churches.

For more information go to the Archdiocesan Year of Mercy Website! More information forthcoming in the next bulletin!

In God’s loving kindness,

—fr. Chris, O.P.