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Indulgences Return, and Heaven Moves a Step Closer for Catholics

post #1 of 29
Thread Starter 
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/02/10/ny...nted=1&_r=1&em

So what do you Catholic Mamas think? In general, before reading the article, I just sort of rolled my eyes, but when I saw that it was giving people hope...and bringing them back to the Church, then I changed my mind.
post #2 of 29
Not personally Catholic here, but my mother was raised in the church and my grandma is still very much Catholic: It is giving people hope, yes, but sadly I believe it is false hope. Although it may encourage some to come closer to God, and that's wonderful, it may also give them a false sense of security. The truth is that no one really knows that happens after you die; even what the Bible has to say on the matter isn't clear to everyone. Also, I don't believe that a man can "authorize" something like an "indulgence"-the only person who can decide that is God. To me indulgences are something to the effect of man usurping God's authority.
post #3 of 29
What do I think? The NYT is not the place I choose to get my religious news first off. They generally don't know what they are talking about especially when it's in regards to the Catholic Church.

Apparently the writers of the article aren't aware of this publication by the USCCB current first edition published in 2006. I own the book btw.
post #4 of 29
From the end of the article:

Quote:
“It faded away with a lot of things in the church,” said Bishop DiMarzio. “But it was never given up. It was always there. We just want to people to return to the ideas they used to know.”

I've known about indulgences all along, and I was fairly poorly taught the faith as a child.

I am always happy to see a resurgence in our traditions
post #5 of 29
I think indulgences are a bunch of BS. There's no Scriptural basis for the practice, and it has only caused hurt, deception, and confusion in the Church IMO. You can't buy your way - or anyone else's - into heaven, period. Salvation is a GIFT from God and not something to be purchased.

I'm with Luther on this one.
post #6 of 29
Next thing you know they'll be bringing "Limbo" back, too.
post #7 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Peppermint View Post
From the end of the article:




I've known about indulgences all along, and I was fairly poorly taught the faith as a child.

I am always happy to see a resurgence in our traditions
Yeah, I was scratching my head when the headline said they were back, because I never heard they left!

Quote:
Originally Posted by spero View Post
I think indulgences are a bunch of BS. There's no Scriptural basis for the practice, and it has only caused hurt, deception, and confusion in the Church IMO. You can't buy your way - or anyone else's - into heaven, period. Salvation is a GIFT from God and not something to be purchased.

I'm with Luther on this one.
Check out this link from Catholic Answers. There are a lot of misconceptions about what "indulgences" mean and I think this little fact sheet is pretty informative.

Basically, indulgences can't save you. It's just a way to say that your temporal punishment from the sins you committed (that you have already asked forgiveness for) will be wiped away. Indulgences neither forgive sins nor help you attain salvation.
post #8 of 29
scriptural basis? We aren't protestants here.
post #9 of 29
Sorry, I happen to be one of those nutter Catholics who believes that tradition should have at least some basis in Scripture.
post #10 of 29
Indulgences never went away. The practice of indulgences for money was eliminated however.

If you look at prayer cards, lots of them have the information on the indulgence granted for the prayers.

Memorial masses are another form of indulgence if I'm not mistaken.

Didn't read the article, though. Are they bringing back buying an indulgence?

(Peeked at the article: Latin Masses and meatless Fridays never went away either. Fridays remained a day of abstinence, just the form was expanded. The form of the Latin Mass was changed, as it had been many many times during the history of the church. It was certainly still around. It's availability, as well as the requirements of abstinence of Friday remain, as they always have been, under the local Bishop.)

Indulgences are offered for performing certain acts...I've always thought of them as kind like tax breaks off time in purgatory.
post #11 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by spero View Post
Sorry, I happen to be one of those nutter Catholics who believes that tradition should have at least some basis in Scripture.
Oh my, you sound like an Anglican!
post #12 of 29
So let me see if I understand this: in purgatory we are supposed to be purifying ourselves from the effects of the sins we have committed in life. By doing certain acts, like saying a specific prayer, we can get time off that process?

Is the idea that we are doing the purifying work now, so that we don't have to do it then? I don't think that can be correct, because if that were the case, wouldn't any "good works" we did have that effect? And how could we then pass on the benefits to others?

It also seems to me that any prayers or good works we do in this life are only what we "owe" God already, so how can they go toward getting time off later? If an infinat amount of money is due to the tax man, how can a finite tax break have any meaning? I'd still owe an infinite amount.
post #13 of 29
I believe in purgatory as a state of being, and not a place (as JP II stated). I also wonder if we aren't living out that state of being in our lives here on Earth - but that's a whole other discussion.

In any case, I still don't agree with the practice of indulgences, it just doesn't make any spiritual sense to me. And if people in my dinky little church still think that you can "buy a Mass" for someone "in Purgatory" - then it surely is still an idea being perpetrated by Catholics all over the world.
post #14 of 29
spero, I think the idea of indulgences being applied to others (for example loved ones in purgatory) is related to the idea of the communion of saints. It is a form of intercessory prayer.

You pray for me and I'll pray for you kind of thing. I know there's a scripture for that somewhere....My non-denominational dp would know....
post #15 of 29
Oh, I know what it's meant to be. I just wish we wouldn't call it something it isn't, and assigning $$$ to the whole thing just convolutes it even further.
post #16 of 29
I admit to being stumped on the paying for masses thing. Nobody did that where I grew up.
post #17 of 29
Umm... you can't buy an indulgence. Even the NY Times got that part right. I understand it much like Bluegoat was talking about. When we work to purify ourselves here on Earth, it purifies us. The idea of praying for the dead (including seeking indulgences for the dead) does have a Biblical foundation (at least in the Catholic Bible). 2 Maccabees 12:38-46 tells the story of how the people who were killed in a battle had amulets to an idol and how those still alive gathered money for an offering (In this case, it was even monetary.) and prayed to atone for the sins of the fallen.

It is also about the communion of saints. It's similar to the idea that we can offer up our sufferings for each other, that Jesus suffered to give us a gift that we couldn't really have earned on our own: heaven.

Indulgences are not what we learned they were in high school history class. I was taught in school that there used to be a widespread practice of selling indulgences. I was also taught that sins were assigned a certain number of "man-hours" or prayers, so if a king or someone else rich wanted to sin, he could just pay monasteries to pray and go ahead and sin as much as he wanted. I don't know how widespread these practices were, but I doubt that they did much to get people into heaven. I believe a change of heart is needed for that.

As they are practiced now (and probably how they were originally intended to be practiced), indulgences are designated acts that, when practiced with a pure mind and heart and combined with confession (I don't know if there are any that don't require confession), fulfill the purification requirement that would otherwise need to be completed after death. Spero, if Purgatory is a state of being that can be reached on Earth, then an indulgence would be a practice that puts us in that state of being now. Since most of us don't die perfect, I still believe that we can go through Purgatory (as a place or state of being) after death to purify ourselves of any sins that we still have on our souls at the time of our death.
post #18 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by JMJ View Post
Spero, if Purgatory is a state of being that can be reached on Earth, then an indulgence would be a practice that puts us in that state of being now. Since most of us don't die perfect, I still believe that we can go through Purgatory (as a place or state of being) after death to purify ourselves of any sins that we still have on our souls at the time of our death.
I always understood purgatory as the Purifying Fire of the Holy Spirit.
post #19 of 29
I don't believe in in purgatory so indulgences don't bother me one way or another. So long as their goal in bringing back the practice (or pushing it more to the forefront) is not a ploy to fill the pews. I don't think the church should do anything just to please man.

OT: Paying for a mass doesn't bother me either . . i consider it an offering, a sacrifice. In the past people would bring oil for the lamps and candles for light. we still have oil in the lamps and candles in the stand, you just offer money and they are waiting to be lit now. but really, same thing. people at my church do still bring food and flowers and what not as an offering to God.
post #20 of 29
Many of the beautiful traditions of the Faith have been forgotten by a good percentage of Catholics, who are often not taught much about the Catholic Faith. It's sad, because the culture around Catholicism is so rich and beautiful. But nothing ever went away, including indulgences. Weird that anyone would think they did.
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