Sunday, February 24, 2008

I Know I'm Not Suppose To Talk Bad About A Priest...
But this dumb-ass doesn't even know the basics

I ran across a rather nasty little article, undoubtedly written by an equally nasty little person. Here's some of the article from The Palm Beach Post; (emphasis and comments mine) CATHOLIC FAITHFUL HURRY TO GET FULL PARDON FOR SINS
By LONA O'CONNOR Palm Beach Post Religion Writer

To a devout Catholic, a plenary indulgence is the ultimate get-out-of-jail-free card, bypassing the long and unpleasant wait in Purgatory and opening wide St. Peter's gates. In December, in a rare move, Pope Benedict XIV announced a plenary indulgence for those who visit the shrine at Lourdes, France, celebrating its 150th anniversary this year.
(by the way, this particular indulgence was announced by Pope Benedict XVI, not Pope Benedict XIV. She's only off by 250 years and a whole buncha Popes.)

Among the fine print of the papal announcement is a clause that also allows the faithful who cannot travel to France to get the indulgence -- but only until Monday, the feast of Our Lady of Lourdes.

The Rev. Francis Reardon, pastor of Lourdes parish, is deliberately keeping the service low key rather than focusing on the indulgence, which has been a touchy subject in religious history. "I'm not opposed to it, but I'm not advertising it as such," Reardon said. "I don't mean to be irreverent, but that's what got Martin Luther going."

Indulgences, which still exist in the Roman Catholic Church, remove some of the suffering imposed on sinners. A plenary indulgence is a full pardon for all sins.
OK, it's obvious that this idiot O'Connor woman has no idea of what indulgences really are. Nowhere in Catholic Teaching does it state that indulgences give pardon for sins. But this bonehead, Father Reardon, is such a ecclesiastical simpleton that he doesn't even know what indulgences are. And to make matters worse, he automatically equates them to something evil and wrong. As my dear old, departed dad use to say; "you gotta be shittin' me." *Followed by the requisite slowly shaking of head in disgust.*

Alrighty, let's get down to the basics... of the many reasons that the theological thug, martin "sin boldly" luther, revolted against Christ's Church, many present day always scream that the "selling of indulgences" was the main reason. Actually, the selling of indulgences was waaaaaay down the list. Number 35 to be precise.

And in all historical accuracy, it wasn't the entire Church that was doing this... just a corrupt handful. And I do believe a lil' sumpthin' called The Catholic Counter-Reformation brought that nonsense to an end, posthaste. You know, in light of The Catholic Counter-Reformation, that kinda nullifies the "selling indulgences" argument, doesn't it? Sure does. And luther should have recanted his revolt at that time, but he didn't. Thus proving that he was nothing more than a garden-variety heretic.

Next, what exactly is an indulgence? Here is a simple, yet excellent explanation of what exactly indulgences are, and more importantly... aren't.

Long story short, when we're forgiven of sins in the Sacrament of Penance, we very well may be forgiven of those sins, but we won't be fully cleansed of them until our penance is completed. And as we all know, penance could be as little as a handful of heartfelt prayers, or something that could take months or even years to complete. Possibly even an entire lifetime, such as turning ourselves over to the police and facing the consequences for a crime committed, etc.

Anyhow, if we die with sins on our souls already forgiven, but not yet cleansed - that's where Purgatory comes into play. It's the final cleansing... a burning away... a purging. By no stretch of the imagination is it "a second chance" as many (including Catholics) believe.

Look at it this way, if I were to cheat on my wife, my penance would be a sight more than just a handful of Our Fathers and Hail Marys. It's a penance that would take years to complete. Not only would I have to spend the rest of my life never cheating on her again, I'd also have to spend the rest of my life making it up to her and to God as well. Anyhow, I've just been forgiven of that sin, but as I'm driving home, I get killed in a car crash. In the words of Sonny Corleone, badda beep, badda boop, badda bang... Purgatory. I've been forgiven, but still have the stain of sin on my soul. That whole Faith and Works stuff.

Partial Indulgences remove a portion of the penance I must perform, usually by reciting heartfelt prayers or performing Acts of Charity, etc. Plenary (full) Indulgences cleans our souls of all required penance up to that point in time. Obviously, something major is required for a Plenary Indulgence. Such as taking part in any public or private devotion so deemed by The Holy Father.

So for those of you who weren't quite sure of what indulgences are, you're now smarter than a certain newspaper reporter, and a priest down Florida way.


Blogger Thomas said...

The main point about plenary indulgences is that if you get one it proves you don't need one, because one of the conditions is to be free of all attachment to sin. You don't get one unless you're already saintly. So it's hard to see it as some weird sort of thing.

7:53 AM  
Blogger Vir Speluncae Catholicus said...

You stated that "one of the conditions is to be free of all attachment to sin". Do you have an authoritative Church teaching that states such?

Are you sure that your source isn't confusing "attachment" with "pardon"?

As I stated in my posting, it's commonplace to be forgiven of sin, yet still in need of cleansing of the same.

8:23 AM  
Blogger Thomas said...

From the explanation of indulgences to which you link:

"'To acquire a plenary indulgence,' says the Enchiridion, 'it is necessary to perform the work to which the indulgence is attached and to fulfill the following three conditions: sacramental confession, Eucharistic Communion, and prayer for the intention of the Sovereign Pontiff. It is further required that all attachment to sin, even venial sin, be absent.'" [emphasis added]

8:53 AM  
Blogger Adrienne said...

I would bet my last dime that this priest was misquoted by the reporter.

We had a little "happening" in our parish and a reporter from the TV station got ahold of me. I gave a very short and simple statement but, knowing how nuts they are, she was warned to get it right or I would be seeing her in court.

I even made her read back to me what I had said. Can't be too careful when dealing with the press.

10:10 AM  
Blogger deb said...

Thank you. As a convert indulgences have always confused me. That explanation helped a lot.

10:12 AM  
Blogger paramedicgirl said...

Good post on indulgences, Cavey!

11:59 AM  
Blogger Vir Speluncae Catholicus said...

As you posted; 'To acquire a plenary indulgence....', there is a listing of conditions that must be met before the indulgence is effective; Sacramental Confession, et al.

Obviously, once all the conditions have been met, one is free from all "attachment" to sin. Makes perfect sense to me.

I also would like to point out 1471 of the CCC which states;


1471 The doctrine and practice of indulgences in the Church are closely linked to the effects of the sacrament of Penance.

What is an indulgence?

"An indulgence is a remission before God of the temporal punishment due to sins whose guilt has already been forgiven, which the faithful Christian who is duly disposed gains under certain prescribed conditions through the action of the Church which, as the minister of redemption, dispenses and applies with authority the treasury of the satisfactions of Christ and the saints."

"An indulgence is partial or plenary according as it removes either part or all of the temporal punishment due to sin." The faithful can gain indulgences for themselves or apply them to the dead.

As we see, this clearly states that temporal punishment that still exists, can and will be negated via the indulgence.

But in all fairness, possibly I'm misunderstanding you, Thomas. I'm getting the impression that you believe that indulgences are reduntant, due to one being free from "all attachment" to sin in the first place.

Am I misunderstanding you?


I dunno. It's kinda hard to twist "I'm not opposed to it, but I'm not advertising it as such," Reardon said. "I don't mean to be irreverent, but that's what got Martin Luther going." out of context.

But I will agree with you that (for the most part) the press isn't exactly a friend of The Church.


You're welcome!

12:18 PM  
Blogger Thomas said...


Take a look at the section entitled "THE TOUGHEST REQUIREMENT" in the explanation of indulgences you linked.

I should say that like Deb, I'm a convert, and the idea of a plenary indulgence used to bother me a bit. After all, Purgatory is supposed to give you a scrubbing, and if you don't feel quite ready for prime time avoiding Purgatory maybe doesn't seem like such a good thing. Then some time ago I read the explanation you linked to and it all made sense. The people who get the plenary indulgence are those who are already scrubbed.

12:36 PM  
Blogger Jeff Miller said...

Well the article did get one thing right, but only one.

"VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- To mark the 150th anniversary of Mary's appearance to St. Bernadette Soubirous near Lourdes, France, Pope Benedict XVI authorized a special indulgence to encourage renewed holiness.Catholics can receive a plenary indulgence for taking part in any public or private devotion to Our Lady of Lourdes, said U.S. Cardinal J. Francis Stafford, head of the Apostolic Penitentiary, a Vatican court dealing with indulgences and matters of conscience."

12:36 PM  
Blogger Vir Speluncae Catholicus said...

Unfortunantly, I believe you are still confusing the words "attachment" and "sin forgiven, but not yet cleansed of".

As I've already pointed out, it is possible to rcv the Sacrament of Confession, Eucharistic Communion, and prayer for the intention of the Sovereign Pontiff, along with the [it is] further required that all attachment to sin, even venial sin, be absent."

Now if I have no intention of ammending my life, and still commit that certain sin again, then I still have that "attachment" to it. Possibly the word "attachment" is best understood along the lines of "attraction".

But I'm still getting the impression that you consider indulgences to be a redundancy.

I've already given a couple of references that state "An indulgence is partial or plenary according as it removes either part or all of the temporal punishment due to sin." Obviously, the stain of sin MUST exist, and as you've said The people who get the plenary indulgence are those who are already scrubbed. simply isn't the case.

The stain of sin clearly exists.



1:17 PM  
Blogger David said...


On the question of freedom from attachment to sin, you should check out Fr Tim Finigan, who examines what this entails in some detail:

What we are talking about is being "free from any desire to relapse into sin" - kind of like a "firm purpose of amendment". The Church grants Indulgences, and intends that they should be obtainable.

9:41 PM  
Blogger Thomas said...

Thanks for the comments and references.

The question I think is what's meant by "the complete exclusion of any attachment to any sin, even venial." If it means "firm purpose of amendment" then I suppose a good confession would be enough. If it means "no present desire to commit sin" then lots
of people would qualify for plenary indulgences, especially "the morning after."

"Attachment" usually refers to what you're inclined to do habitually though. So on that line of thought you'd only get a plenary indulgence if there were no longer any sins, even venial sins, that are a struggle for you, that you fall into again and again.

How many people are there like that?

8:14 AM  
Blogger ignorant redneck said...

OK--Thomas, Vir, here's my take on the question.

I went to confession. I went to communion. I went to the Shrine of our Lady of Lourdes in Louisville, KY.

Now--if through my own fault, I don't meet all the requirements of the idulgence, vis a vis attachment to sin--I have still venerated Our Lady and recieved both absolution and the Body and Blood of the Lord. No harm done.

If, on the otherhand, I infact recieved the indulgence, then heck--that's even better.

Best of all? Trust in the Mercy of God, the Ministry of His Church, the Treasury of Merit and try like hell to be a better, purer, more faithful Catholic.

Can't hurt, might nelp, and it's what we're supposed to do anyway. Being not so bright, and not so educated, I think I'll try my best and trust, concentrating on the practical.

7:05 PM  
Blogger Mark said...

Part of the difficulty of the "attachment to sin" qualifier, is that we are often unaware of habitual attachments to venial sins which we have (in which case we don't meet the condition). If we are aware of a habit of venial sin, and fall into it against our will, which is firmly committed to not do so, and pick ourselves up when we fall; then the condition is still met.

failing to meet the condition in question causes the plenary to become a partial indulgence.

7:43 PM  

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