1. Servus,

    as still a newer convert to the Catholic Church, I’m a little unclear on indulgences and how they work and what the benefit is of gaining one. Can you enlighten me?


    • Hey Mr. V. Yes, an indulgence is a forgiveness of temporal punishment due to sin. It has long been held that the merits and sufferings of Christ, the Church and the Saints have in a very real way become a treasure within the Church that may be applied to individuals for pious and good acts. In this case the indulgence is “plenary” meaning that it is effective against ALL temporal punishment to that individual who does precisely what the Church has asked to “gain or merit” what the Church will give to them. That means that if you do all the Church has asked during the Year of Faith and happened to die (remember you are to go to Confession and receive the Eucharist etc.) you will not then go to Purgatory but enter directly to Heaven. A “partial” indulgence is given for certain prayers and acts during the year and usually have a specified number of days attached to the act that are forgiven.

      One might remember that this is what we are trying (or each of us should be trying) to do for those in Purgatory by praying for them. By our meritorious prayers and sufferings, offering them up to God for the shortening of their sufferings and ultimate admittance into Heaven. Never forget, not for a single day, to pray at least once for our brothers and sisters in Purgatory. They will not forget you once they are in Heaven and will give you their prayers and helps as God will allow them to do.


  2. I had already determined to focus this year on my faith, including dedicating time each day to prayer, adding a family rosary prayer time every week, doing at least one pilgrimage, studying the Bible, and focusing my reading on Catholic literature, especially some of the classics. I am also striving to focus my thoughts on Charity, on being a servant, and on putting an effort into evangelism to lead others to Christ and the Holy Mother Church.

    This plenary indulgence will be an added factor to strive for, for me and hopefully for my grandfather and other deceased members of my family. I’m sure I have a few days (at least) of Purgatory time already.


    • All those things sound great Mr. V. Just make sure that you don’t rob too much time from your family — that is always job number one (wisdom from someone who was young and full of zeal but who made plenty of mistakes).

      Since you are really interested in your faith, there are 2 books that I would like to recommend to you. The best part of these books is that they are fun reading and also quick to read but just filled with nuggets that you can go back to over and over again. The first is “Why Do Catholics Do That?” by Dr. Orlin Johnson and the next is “Jesus and the Jewish Roots of the Eucharist” by Brant Pitre. Look them over and see if those might be of interest to you. There is so much to read and so little time to read them all. The classics are great but must be read with great attention to detail. These are easier to digest but still full of Catholic gems.


      • Thanks for the reading suggestions, I’ll take a look at them.

        I hear you about putting family first. That’s something I have to remind myself often, as I have a tendency to want to get involved in too many things.


        • Been there. Just some fatherly advice – you only have children for a little while when they really need us and then before you know it they are young men and women. The wife always needs to be part of these decisions which impact the family as well. That’s why I was thinking that you might want to perhaps leave the classics for a quieter time in life which will happen soon enough.


  3. Another question as to the plenary indulgence for the Year of Faith. My understanding, after reading the announcement, is that in order to gain the plenary indulgence, one must perform the conditions in A, B, C, and D, plus receiving the Eucharist every week as well as going to Confession often. Is that correct, or is it by meeting either A,B,C, or D, plus receiving the Eucharist?


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