In January of 2016, this incredible announcement was made, "A newly released document co-authored by the Vatican’s Pontifical Council for Christian Unity and the World Council of Churches promotes the upcoming January 18-25 ‘Week of Prayer for Christian Unity’ with the theme ‘Reconciliation: The love of Christ compels us.’
Encouraging commemorations in all dioceses of the world, the document notes the theme is drawn from the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation. In 2017, it says, “Lutheran and Catholic Christians will for the first time commemorate together the beginning of the Reformation.” The text also states that “Catholics are now able to hear Luther’s challenge for the Church of today, recognizing him as a ‘witness to the gospel."
So the heresiarch and apostate priest Martin Luther is a "witness to the Gospel" according to Bergoglio and his Vatican II sect. The 500th anniversary of the beginning of the Protestant "Reformation"which will be "celebrated" this year, began on October 31, 1517, when Luther nailed his so-called 95 theses on the door of All Saints' Church in Wittenberg, Germany. The full and proper name for the document is Disputatio pro declaratione virtutis indulgentiarum ("Disputation on the Power of Indulgences").
Indulgences are a thing of the past for the Vatican II sect; after all, who needs them when everyone is assured of going straight to Heaven anyway? I doubt that most Vatican II sect members under the age of 40 even know what an indulgence is, including their malformed clergy. Surprisingly, there is still much that is misunderstood by Traditionalists about what indulgences are and how to make use of them--both for themselves and the Faithful departed. In this post I will set forth the teaching of the True Church regarding indulgences.
What is an Indulgence?
The word Indulgence is derived from Indulgere (Latin) which conveys the idea of sweetness in one's dealings with others. From the etymology, Indulgere could be applied to a mother's love for her child, the cancellation of a debtor's obligation by the creditor, or in this case, God's pardon of the repentant sinner. The 1917 Code of Canon Law has this to say about indulgences in Canon 911, "Let all highly prize indulgences, or the remission of sin before God of the temporal punishment due to sins already forgiven as to guilt, which remission the ecclesiastical authority grants out of the treasure of the Church, and applies to the living by way of absolution, to the departed by way of suffrage."
This definition in the Code has several factors to be examined:
- The negative element
- The positive element
- The value of indulgences and their source
- The gaining of an indulgence
Each factor will now be examined.
The Negative Element
All actual sins impart a double wound on the soul. The first is called reatus culpae, which is the wound of guilt. This occurs when you turn away from God and towards creatures. As a result, you forfeit (either partially or completely) your divine friendship with God which consists in having sanctifying grace in your soul. Those unfortunate enough to incur mortal sin, turn totally away from God, lose sanctifying grace completely and are worthy of Hell. Those who commit venial sin, only partially turn their allegiance from God, and it lessens (but does not extinguish) sanctifying grace. Hence, those guilty of venial sin only are not worthy of Hell.
The second wound is called reatus poenae, or liability to punishment. According to the Angelic Doctor, St. Thomas Aquinas, mortal sin is an aversion from God, and venial sin is a turning toward creatures but not completely away from God. Therefore, mortal sin is a complete rebellion against God and deserves eternal punishment. Venial sin is not absolute rebellion and is deserving of a temporary punishment only.
Since mortal sin is both complete rebellion against God, and contains the lesser included offense of turning towards creatures over God, it merits not only an eternal punishment, but a temporal one as well, just like venial sin (See Summa Theologica, III, q. 84, art. 4). The guilt of mortal sin can only be removed either by Confession or an Act of Perfect Contrition cum voto (with desire and resole to go to Penance as soon as you can). The guilt of venial sin can be removed not only in Confession or perfect contrition, but also by hearing Mass devoutly, receiving Holy Communion with fervor, and pious use of Sacramentals.
Indulgences remove the temporal punishment due after the guilt of sin has been eradicated.
The Positive Element
In certain cases both guilt and punishment can be remitted, but this is not the usual case except in the Sacrament of Baptism, where the soul of the person just baptized is rendered completely acceptable to God and can enter Heaven immediately. In its Decree on Original Sin, the Council of Trent declares, "For in those who are born again God hates nothing, because there is no condemnation to those who are truly buried together with Christ by baptism unto death, who walk not according to the flesh, but, putting off the old man and putting on the new one who is created according to God, are made innocent, immaculate, pure, guiltless and beloved of God, heirs indeed of God, joint heirs with Christ; so that there is nothing whatever to hinder their entrance into heaven."
The rule is the opposite outside of Baptism. The Council of Trent infallibly declared:
CANON XII.--If any one saith, that God always remits the whole punishment together with the guilt, and that the satisfaction of penitents is no other than the faith whereby they apprehend that Christ has satisfied for them; let him be anathema.
CANON XV.--If any one saith, that the keys are given to the Church, only to loose, not also to bind; and that, therefore, priests act contrary to the purpose of the keys, and contrary to the institution of Christ, when they impose punishments on those who confess; and that it is a fiction, that, after the eternal punishment, has, by virtue of the keys, been removed, there remains for the most part a temporal punishment to be discharged; let him be anathema.
Therefore, indulgences are good works by which we can remove some or all of the temporal punishment due to forgiven sins. Where does the power of these good works to remove sin come to us? Through "the treasure of the Church." By reason of the Hypostatic Union (the Divine and human natures of Christ united in the one Person of God the Son), the smallest act of Christ was of infinite value and could satisfy Divine Justice for the sins of the world. The incredible number of hardships and tortures Our Lord endured was thereby superabundant, but not wasted. These merits as well as those of the Blessed Mother and the saints are applied in later generations for the remission of our temporal penalties that remain after sin is forgiven. The One True Church ALONE is the dispenser of indulgences; She alone has Divine Authority.
When the wretched heretic Martin Luther dared to deny the treasury of the Church, he was excommunicated by a real Pope, Leo X, in the Apostolic Decree Exsurge Domine. He declared the following teaching of Luther condemned and heretical:
17. The treasures of the Church, from which the pope grants indulgences, are not the merits of Christ and of the saints.
The Value of Indulgences
There are numerous accounts in the lives of the saints which inform us that one instant in Purgatory (where those with temporal punishments must suffer before gaining entrance to Heaven) is more painful than many years of suffering on Earth. Who wouldn't want to expiate their temporal punishments here rather than hereafter?
Indulgences may be either partial or plenary. A plenary indulgence expiates all temporal punishment, while a partial indulgence remits just some. When a prayer has a number of days or years ascribed to it (e.g., an indulgence of 300 days) that doesn't mean 300 days come off your time in Purgatory, rather it means so much remission is gained by that indulgenced prayer (or pious work) as would have been gained by 300 days of penance during the era of public penitential discipline.
A plenary indulgence is gained by performing the proscribed work of the Church; however, if any venial sin remains, the plenary indulgence cannot be completely received since there is still the guilt of actual sin. In such case, the plenary indulgence becomes partial. According to Canon 926, "It is to be understood that a plenary indulgence is granted in such a way that if one cannot gain it in plenary form, nevertheless one gains it partially according to the dispositions one has."
As to the source of what may be indulgenced, the pope alone, as the Vicar of Christ on Earth, has the primary and supreme power over the granting of indulgences.
The Gaining of a Plenary Indulgence
There are seven requirements to gain an indulgence:
1. One must have the right intention of gaining the indulgence.
2. The good work prescribed (prayer, stations of the cross, etc) must be carried out faithfully and not substantially altered in any way.
3. One must be baptized, not excommunicated, and in the state of sanctifying grace (at least at the completion of the prescribed work).
4. Holy Communion must be worthily received within eight (8) days of the completion of the prescribed work.
5. Prayers must be vocal, the lips must move and the words mouthed at least silently. Mental prayer does not suffice.
6. You must make a good Confession eight (8) days before or after the day on which you would gain the indulgence (fulfill the prescribed work). However, you must still be in the state of sanctifying grace on the day you complete the prescribed work.
7. You must pray for the pope's intentions. This does not mean a particular person who is pope, or that you can't gain indulgences in a time of sedevacante. "The Pope's Intention" comprises what any true pope would want:
- the exultation of Holy Mother Church
- the propagation of the One True Faith
- the uprooting of heresy
- the conversion of sinners
- peace and concord among Christian nations
- the other needs of Christianity
N.B. You can apply an indulgence to yourself or to a departed soul, but not to another living person! For a partial indulgence, only numbers 1, 2, and 3 above apply.
(The above was gathered from theologian Davis, Pastoral and Moral Theology, 3: 428-433. Also from theologian Hagedorn, General Legislation on Indulgences, CUA Press,  I give full acknowledgement and credit to their works ).
The Vatican II sect has jettisoned indulgences as a thing of the past (at best) or superstitious (at worst). Know what indulgences are and make use of them. Don't suffer in the next world when you can easily expiate your sins now and grow closer to God in the process by doing these good works. Bergoglio hails the infamous founder of false Protestantism (and the denier of indulgences), Martin Luther, as a "witness to the Gospel." Remember the inspired words of St. Paul, "But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach a gospel to you besides that which we have preached to you, let him be anathema." (Galatians 1: 8).