BASIC R.C. BELIEF
The remission in whole or in part of the temporal punishment due for sins
which have been forgiven. The gaining of these and other credits is
necessary because the Sacrament of Penance doesn't fully satisfy for
To gain an indulgence, one must be in a state of grace (free from mortal
sin) and perform whatever work is required for the indulgence. The
remission is made by applying some of the Treasury of Merit which the
Church possesses. The indulgence is a transfer of merit from one to another
and offers a lessening of Purgatory.
Plenary indulgences remit all temporal punishment; partial indulgences
remit a portion of this punishment.
The application of indulgences to departed souls is admitted by Catholic
writers to be of recent date.
The misuse of indulgences to finance St. Peter's was one of the first
Roman Catholic practices attacked by Martin Luther.
An indulgenced prayer is one which, when recited, gains an indulgence.
POST VATICAN II
More progressive Roman Catholics today are not so strictly bound to
practice the gaining of indulgences, though many think it will help them on
the road toward Heaven.
The encyclical INDULGENTARIUM DOCTRINA (1/1/67) gave new laws concerning
indulgences. Determining the value of partial indulgences using days and
years is abolished. The number of plenary indulgences has been reduced, and
they are no longer to be attached to things and places. Paul VI admitted
some misuse in the past, but re-affirmed the basic Roman Catholic concept
of indulgences as outlined in the definition above.
by Alex Dunlap
We oppose the R. C. doctrine of Indulgences for the following reasons:
1. It is utterly impossible for any person to make satisfaction to God
for sin. Only the satisfaction rendered by Christ in His obedience and
death satisfies the justice of God (Hebrews 7:24-28; I John 1:9; Isaiah
2. Indulgences are productive of evil in that they embolden men to sin,
because they believe them to be an easy ways to escape from sin's
consequences. It is commonly received by Catholics themselves that as long
as they attend Mass, confess to a Priest, and perform the prescribed
penance, that they can do anything they desire. This may not be the
teaching concerning Indulgences, but it is the fruit of it.
3. Indulgences are nothing more than simony - selling the free mercy of
God and making merchandise of the precious blood of Christ. Acts 8:18-24;
4. Peter, the first Pope according to Romanists, foretold this mark of
apostasy, that "false teachers should bring in damnable heresies, denying
the Lord that bought them, who through covetousness should make merchandise
of you; whose judgment now for a long time lingereth not, and their
damnation slumbereth not. II Peter 2:1-3.
5. Salvation, the forgiveness of sin, and the remission of sin cannot be
earned by human merit, or bought or sold for money.
6. Christ never granted or sold Indulgences to any one.
7. The Scriptures no where teach that there is a treasury of human
merit, which can be put to the account of another, like the transfer of a
8. Since no such treasury exists, it naturally follows that the granting
of Indulgences by a Pope or anyone else is absurd, deceptive, and a vain
9. Indulgences blind the consciences of men to the "exceeding sinfulness
of sin" and its dreadful consequences; causes them to ignore their
responsibility to God, and the only way to escape from condemnation through
true repentance toward God and faith in the perfect merits of Jesus Christ.
10. The Apostles and early churces never heard of Papal Indulgences,
never granted any, and would have scoffed at the idea had it been suggested
11. Whoever grants Indulgences usurps the place of Almighty God, who
alone can pardon and forgive sin, and remit the punishment due to sin.
12. Indulgences insult the Lord Jesus Christ by offering a counterfeit
substitute for His eternal and perfect satisfaction.
13. Indulgences have caused untold scandal in the world, and have
brought undeserved shame, ridicule, and contempt on true Christianity.
14. Indulgences have cruelly robbed and deceived the poor and left them,
with a false hope, to die in their sins.
15. Indulgences are but another addition by the Papacy to the system of
16. It is utterly impossible for any human being to remit the temporal
punishment due to sin, all Catholic claims to the contrary notwithstanding.
17. Christians are not redeemed in whole or in part by the sufferings of
holy men or Saints, but by the precious blood of Christ alone (Titus 2:14;
Ephesians 1:7; Colossians 1:14; Hebrews 9:12; I Peter 1:18,19; Romans 5:9).
Every Christian should keep in mind forevermore that only God can
forgive sin, or remit any part of the punishment due to sin. He alone is
the Redeemer and Judge of His people.
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