Lesson 26: Indulgences
"Jesus saith to them:  'But whom do you say that I am?'  Simon Peter answered and said:  'Thou art Christ, the Son of the living God.'  And Jesus answering, said to him:  'Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-Jona: because flesh and blood hath not revealed it to thee, but My Father Who is in Heaven.  And I say to thee:  That thou art Peter; and upon this Rock I will build My Church, and the gates of Hell shall not prevail against it.  And I will give thee the keys of the kingdom of Heaven.  And whatsoever thou shalt bind upon earth, it shall be bound also in Heaven:  and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth, it shall be loosed in Heaven.'"  (Matthew 16:15-19)

  1. Can all your sins be forgiven in Confession?

  2.    Yes, if you are truly sorry for them.
    "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just, to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all iniquity.    (1 John 1:9)

  3. In Confession is all the punishment due to your sins taken away?
    1. In confession the eternal punishment (Hell) is taken away.
    2. All of the temporal punishment is not always taken away.

  4. What is meant by "temporal punishment"?

  5.    "Temporal punishment" means that, even though all your sins are forgiven in Confession, God still demands that you be punished (for a time) either in this life or in Purgatory.

  6. What is an indulgence?

  7.    An indulgence is the taking away of all or part of the temporal punishment still due to sin.

  8. How do indulgences take away temporal punishment?

  9.    The Church has the authority from Jesus Christ to draw on the spiritual treasury made up of the merits of Christ, His Mother and the Saints.
    Whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth, it shall be loosed also in Heaven."    (Matthew 16:19)

  10. What do you have to do to gain an indulgence?
    1. Have no mortal sin on your soul.
    2. Say the prayer or do the work to which the indulgence is attached.
    3. Have the intention of gaining the indulgence.
    4. Fulfill all the conditions laid down by the Church for each indulgence.

  11. How many kinds of indulgences are there?

  12.    Two kinds:  Plenary and partial.

  13. What is a plenary indulgence?

  14.    One that takes away all the temporal punishment due to sin.
    Examples:  Saying the Rosary before the Blessed Sacrament, making the Way of the Cross, attending Forty Hours Devotion, reading the Bible as spiritual reading for at least half an hour.  A person can gain only one plenary indulgence per day, except in danger of death, when he may gain a second one.

  15. What else is required to gain a plenary indulgence?
    1. Confession (at least within several days).
    2. Communion (preferably on the same day you perform the indulgenced prayer or work).
    3. Prayer for the Holy Father's intentions (at least one Our Father and one Hail Mary).
    4. Having no attachment in your heart to sin.

  16. What is a partial indulgence?

  17.    One that takes away only part of the temporal punishment.
    Examples:  Using holy water, medals or statues that have been blessed, reciting the Litany of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

  18. Can you gain an indulgence for someone else?

  19.    Yes, for the souls in Purgatory only.
    The month of November is dedicated to the souls in Purgatory.  During this month, Catholics are especially urged to gain indulgences for the Poor Souls to impress on them the importance of the praying for the Poor Souls at all times.

  20. Can temporal punishment be taken away by any other means?

  21.    Yes, the Sacrament of Extreme Unction takes away all temporal punishment due to your sins, if you receive it with perfect intentions.  Plus, any prayer or good work done in the state of grace takes away some temporal punishment, but indulgences take away more.