Monday, August 21, 2017

Time Off Purgatory

  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, [1924] 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). 


  1. Thanks, Introibo, for this helpful article. For whatever reason, most of the time I forget about indulgences and can easily underestimate the importance of taking advantage of them. God in His mercy has made them available to us, just as He has given us the time and ability to make use of them, so like you say, why squander all this and resign oneself to Purgatory? If that's all we're willing to aim for, we may obtain less, God forbid.

    Thanks again!

    1. Dear Samuel,
      I'm glad I can be God's unworthy instrument to bring a forgotten/neglected truth to people's attention!

      God bless,


  2. I am new to Tradition having found my way home 2 1/2 yrs ago. I had heard of indulgences but didn't know exactly what they were or how they were used in the Church. Thanks Introibo for the enlightening article. It is very informative and interesting. I look forward each Monday to your posts. Thanks!!

    1. Thank you for the kind words Joann!
      Comments like this keep me going!

      God bless,


  3. This article is necessary and informative,Sir.
    The entire Western World needs to be re-evangelized.
    God bless you Friend.

    1. Thank you my friend! Please don't call me "sir" I'm not in the military nor am I anyone special. I fully agree the entire Western world needs to be re-evangelized!

      God bless,


  4. I agree - you are not special, and that is why I strongly suggest that you stick to your pay grade and avoid subjects like una cum, lest more disasters like last week ensue.

    God bless!

    1. Yes, but you're even less special--unless you mean the "special education" type. I admit I'm no theologian, but unless you're Van Noort, Regatillo, etc. NEITHER ARE YOU. So our pay grade is the same.

      However, realizing I'm no theologian or have no Magisterial authority, I don't pretend to be able to settle a question that has no been settled.

      When such questions are discussed charitably, we have much to learn from each other. I received comments from the opposing side that are so boorish and uncharitable--especially coming from those who purport to be Traditionalists.

      One commenter claimed I must be Italian-American (I have never revealed my ethnicity) and went on a tirade about how Italians are "greasy" and "work for the mob." (Not too stereotypical!).

      My integrity, intelligence and veracity were all impugned. I will not publish or respond to such ramblings, it only encourages such loathsome behavior. My policy has always been to publish all comments devoid of vulgarity and blasphemy, and people can strongly disagree with me. However ad hominem name calling is not productive, nor will encourage it.

      I published this comment to serve as a warning to others who only wish to call names and not challenge my arguments seriously. No one forces you to read my blog. You can read elsewhere or start a blog of your own.


    2. I would like to address two particular calumnies that were sent to me via the comments:

      1. Accusation of plagiarism. Plagiarism is defined as "The practice of taking someone else's work and passing it off as your own." As I am not Joe Biden, I have never done any such thing. As you can see from this posting, I give FULL ATTRIBUTION to my sources. In the "Una Cum" post, I fully cite and reference my sources--including the one's who disagree with me. When a lawyer writes a legal brief, he makes his arguments building on the cited and relevant legal sources. I do the same with theological sources given full attribution. In my post "Praying for Non-Catholics" I develop the fact that the king of England was prayed for liturgically using passages (not cited by the other side) from theologian Szal. I have never seen this passage used to buttress the fact that heretics have been prayed for liturgically. Nor have I ever seen it brought to light that Francis is a legitimate Head of State. Nor have I seen it exposed that the King of England's role as Head of State is intrinsically bound up with his office as Head of the Anglican Sect. If anyone would like to show me the exact verbiage I allegedly plagiarized without attribution (and the source from which they were taken), I will gladly publish what you have written (I won't be holding my breath).

      2. Sometimes, in response to rude people, I can sound uncharitable in my remarks, as i did above. Remember, that just as you have a right to physically defend yourself if attacked, you may also do so verbally. The commenter above suggested that the issue is above "my pay grade" but not his. I have a hard time dealing with such unmitigated arrogance. That's why i will simply ignore such comments and not publish or deal with them.

      3. Some people comment to correct my spelling or grammar mistakes in the comments. First, let me say that I'm the only one who does the final editing for these posts, which is very hard to correct yourself, especially given my time constraints each week. As to the comments, I'm typing this one out on my iPhone at work, before my next client arrives. (I don't use the firm's computer for my personal business). Considering how quickly I must type with no chance to edit--please cut me some slack.

      I am impressed by the caliber of the vast majority of my readers. I've learned much from them, including those who disagree. We can agree to disagree agreeably. I love getting, posting and responding to comments from my readers. However, those who have nothing to offer but invective language and jejune criticism, know that your comments will not be posted as they are a waste of my time and of everyone who reads my blog. As I stated above, I don't force anyone to read my blog. If you don't like it, don't read it, or start a blog of your own.


    3. To be clear the two calumnies is the charge of plagierism, and being a hypocrite when I sometimes fire back at rude comments.


    4. That is an impressive response to post using an iphone. I would have sore fingers and about 100 errors if I tried to do it.

    5. Lol! Having to constantly respond to clients' emails on the run has made me proficient (somewhat)!


  5. Introibo,
    Thank you for the research and opinion you post here. I certainly appreciate it. Keep up the good work and may you receive God's blessings with each keystroke.

    1. Thank you my friend!

      God Bless,


    2. The book purgatory: read me or rue it by Father Paul O'Sullivan is a short book that has many small beneficial things that we can use to lessen greatly or avoid purgatory all together.

    3. That is an excellent book, David! I recommend it to all my readers. If you've read it already, it's worth another look during the month of November, dedicated to the Poor Souls in Purgatory.


  6. Introibo- What's all tne above about? Unless you publish the comments to which you refer it's all rather meaningless.

    1. Not at all. Read the thread, it makes perfect sense. I was outlining my policy for comments. I moderate all comments; which means they get approved by me before being published. All comments are welcome (even from those who strongly disagree) except for those who use vulgarity, blasphemy, or having nothing to offer but ad hominem attacks. One person said I must be Italian-American, then went into a rant about how Italians are "greasy" and "work for the mob." This is pure bigotry, and incompatible with being a True Catholic. Yet this same person is concerned about using Una Cum because of the "purity of the Faith."

      That is the standard for this blog if you want something published as a comment. It's an easy standard to pass, yet unfortunately some cannot be civil and charitable.

      God bless,


  7. You said the Prayers must be vocal, the lips must move and the words mouthed at least silently”. I don’t understand this. I have heard of vocal vs silent prayer before, but it makes zero sense to me that moving your lips silently vs actually talking vs saying the words in your head are different to God in anyway. I am not saying you are incorrect, but that I don’t understand this and would be interested if you could break down the differences or point me to a link that might do so.


    1. According to theologian Davis, the Sacred Penitentiary (the Roman Tribunal which has jurisdiction over settling disputes over Indulgences, decreed this on December 7, 1933. The tribunal also decreed that Indulgenced aspirations such as "Sweet Heart of Mary, be my salvation," may be recited mentally unless specifically stated to the contrary. (See "Moral and Pastoral Theology" 3: 429).

      Why does it make a difference to God? Short answer: It doesn't. The Church has full and complete authority to decide under what conditions an indulgence will be granted. Some prayers will only be granted if you are kneeling unless physically impeded. I don't know why the pontiff decides as he does. In the case of mute people, the indulgence may be gained by mental prayer or scanning the words with the eyes (Ibid, 430).

      The Church sets the exact conditions and She can dictate how the prayers are to be recited.

      I hope this helped!


    2. Thanks for the quick response!

  8. 1. I also have some questions concerning the “Gaining of an Indulgence” requirements and that “Prayers must be vocal, the lips must move and the words mouthed at least silently. Mental prayer does not suffice.” – Is Davis here expressing the common and CURRENT teaching of the Church (pre-Vatican II)?

    2. How do we know what indulgenced prayers (such as “Jesus, Mary, Joseph!”) must be said vocally or mentally? (The simple ejaculation: “Jesus, Mary, Joseph” (“...have mercy on souls” etc.) is indulgenced with 7 years. To recite it mentally is very easy and goes quickly, and one can easily make 100+ ejaculation on the Rosary beads, applying it all for souls in purgatory. But if vocally is a requirement, it will go slower!)

    Unless this information is available to us, I don’t see why the above requirement is that important or why it must apply in today’s situation, for, as you said, not all prayers must be said vocally. Must we take a chance? I find it strange that the requirement “vocally” is not attached to the prayer as the promise of “indulgence” is, if it is so important. This makes me wonder if perhaps Davis have misunderstood something, or spoken too broadly when, perhaps, this requirement was only for a few prayers. Some prayers says one should kneel, so they do mention it. But never have I read the requirement of saying it “vocally”.

    But, of course, it would be sad to take a “chance” and hence make all indulgenced prayers not apply*, so theoretically, it would be better to say them all vocally, even if silently, since this seems more safe to me in that case. But one would like, preferably, not to do this if it is possible, of course. Any thoughts on this?

    *I apply all indulgences to souls in purgatory with the intention that they will pray for me in return, since I find it more important for my salvation to gain their prayers than to gain indulgences for myself: because if I don’t even get saved in the end, what good will these indulgences have done to me for my eternal salvation?!

    3. I also wonder if all my past prayers to souls in purgatory because of this has been invalid, since I always prayed mentally? I don’t think they are invalid, since God looks at the intention – and ignorance also excuses – but now when I know this information, and if this requirement is absolute and important (even though this is not yet established for all prayers or for which prayers!), then one must fulfill it. But it will take longer time, and make it more burdensome, sadly! What do you think about those praying silently in ignorance, or even defying this requirement thinking it totally unimportant for gaining the indulgence?

    1. Jerome,
      1. Current as of 1957 regulations which did not change since when Davis wrote.

      2. Short invocations never need be vocal. Prayers only need to be vocal when (a) stated as such and (b) for gaining a plenary indulgence. For a partial indulgence of days or years mental prayer suffices--unless it is stated to the contrary. The prayers for the intentions of the pope must always be vocal for the plenary indulgence unless you are mute.

      3. Don't worry Jerome! If you were acting in good faith "the Church is thought to make good any defects which it can that may arise from following a probable opinion concerning indulgences." (Davis, p. 430).


    2. Thanks for the quick and detailed reply.

      So if I understand you correctly:

      1) only prayers that are "Plenary Indulgenced" need to be prayed vocally? and provided this was an attached requirement? (see #3 below)

      2) short invocations and even longer prayers can be said mentally, even if they are indulged, provided the indulgence was not an "Plenary Indulgence" and provided there was no requirement that they need to be prayed vocally? (most indulgenced prayers, invocations etc. says nothing about any need to be prayed vocally, so in those cases, no worries I guess?)

      3) but even if a prayer is "Plenary Indulgenced", it need not be prayed vocally unless there is a requirement actually saying this? So there is no requirement to assume it has to be said vocally, unless it actually says this?

      4) if this is correct (if I understand you correctly), then the information in your article (point 5) is a little misleading since it may give people unnecessary worries about having to pray every indulgenced prayer/invocation vocally, or moving the lips, as the article now states, since the information you provided made no distinctions whatsoever!

      5) You said: "The prayers for the intentions of the pope must always be vocal for the plenary indulgence unless you are mute." -- Do you have some information stating this?* I don't recall having read this in the article. Thanks.

      *I did a quick search in the 1910 Raccolta pdf indulgenced prayer book, it never listed vocal prayer as a requirement for praying for the intention of the pope. Neither did it list as a requirement -- as your article now does -- that in order to gain an indulgence (any indulgence), the prayer/invocation must be said vocally. (I encourage the reader to read the requirements in the Raccolta, which is a little more detailed than stated in this article:

      If anyone has access to the 1957 version, it may say different about the need of vocal prayers though (the version linked to is the 1910 version). It would be good if one could get the information from this version on what exactly is required!

      I will be awaiting your response in order to clarify and make clear to me how it works!

  9. Jerome,
    1. Only the prayers attached for the intentions of the pope to a plenary indulgenced prayer need be recited vocally. All other prayers may be mental unless the prayer states the contrary.

    2. Correct. And only the prayers for the intentions of the pope are made vocal when gaining the plenary indulgence.

    3. Correct.

    4. Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea máxima culpa!

    5. Yes, theologian Davis explaining the regulations of the Sacred Penitentiary. The 1910 Raccolta is superseded by the 1917 Code of Canon Law and should not be consulted.

    This is theologian Davis and the decisions of the sacred Penitentiary. In this section, Davis is a little confusing so please forgive me. As always I'm not infallible and if there is a decision made and not covered by Davis. I invite my readers to correct me!

    Hope this helps. I will see if I have any further info from the 1957 Roccolta when I get a chance tonight and will post it if I find anything new.


    1. The requirements above in my post apply for the plenary indulgence. I should have made that clear. That's the confusion. You don't need Confession, Communion, etc. for partial indulgences. Vocal prayer is not necessary for partial indulgences unless stated to the contrary!

      I'll fix this in the post! Thank you for your inquiry!


  10. This is just my opinion, but there are two things, and these are both "unpopular", but all by themselves they should be sufficient to convert people to the Catholic Church. One is Indulgences, whereby man can make up for his sins in this life; and with a plenary indulgence, remit entirely the temporal punishment due to sin which has already be forgiven --altogether.

    The other is the *Sacrament of Extreme Unction*: Do people not realize that a man who has lived his entire life in the very worst of sins imaginable (the "ugliest" sins)---and who has lived a very long life in such a manner, can, by proper reception of this Last Sacrament, remit all the punishment due to this sin, and prepare his soul for direct entrance into Heaven without having any Purgatory at all? This Sacrament is so great that it has the power of doing that!

    1. Is anon @7:04's second paragraph correct Introibo?

    2. @anon5:21
      Yes. According to Theologian Kilker, with the correct disposition and devotion, Extreme Unction wipes away ALL sin and ALL temporal punishments. (See “Extreme Unction” [1927], pgs. 32-34)


  11. Introibo, may I ask a few questions?

    1. Can you verify if the latest Raccolta contains "Jesus, Mary, Joseph" (this is, is it the exact wording?) and does it really grant 7 years and 7 quarantines?

    I can't help but suspect. Many, if not most of Pope St. Pius X's indulgences are a hundred times kinder than the indulgences of other popes, but this is just a thousand times more kind, in fact, the kindest partial indulgence.

    2. Is it only common sense that dictates if it is a short invocation, so you judge if it suffices for mental prayer? So "Jesus, Mary, Joseph" can just be said in mind?

    3. If
    "Jesus" gives 25 days
    "Mary" 25 days
    "Jesus, Mary" 300 days
    "Jesus, Mary, Joseph" 7 years and 7 quarantines,

    If you say "Jesus, Mary Joseph", do you immediately get then 7 years and 7 quaranrines + 350 days?

    4. Lastly, there are no sacraments in my area. Is there a way to gain a plenary indulgence without any of the usual conditions?

    Thank you.

    1. @anon5:19
      1. According to the 1957 edition (the last before the Great Apostasy), it is 7 years.

      2. Yes. It may be said mentally unless the contrary is stated.

      3. No. The indulgences do not “add up.” When the three names are conjoined that makes one aspiration of 7 years. The 1957 Raccolta makes that point rather clearly.

      4. Unfortunately, no. The Church sets the conditions. The last true pope, Pius XII, published the conditions in 1957, and only the Supreme Pontiff (if the papacy is restored) can alter those conditions.