From THE SIGN, May 1958. "Q: What measure of time is a `quarantine' in
connection with an indulgence? A: According to Church Law, an indulgence is
the remission before God of a temporal punishment due for sins, the guilt
of which had already been forgivem, granted by ecclesiastical authority
from the Treasury of the Church, by way of absolution for the living and by
way of suffrage for the departed (Canon 911). This authority of the Church
is implicit in the `power of the keys' which is divinely bestowed. The
treasury of the Church also consists of the infinite merits of Christ, the
merits of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and of all the saints.
"All partial indulgences are expressed in time periods corresponding to
the time periods of penance which were in vogue in the ancient Church.
Thus, an indulgence of 300 days represents a remission of the temporal
punishment equivalent to 300 days of penance as practiced in the early
Church. A quarantine is a 40-day period of Lenten penance - the most
rigorous atonement of all. In years gone by, there was attached to many
prayers and other good works an indulgence of `seven years and seven
quarantines.' However, use of the term `quarantine' has been discontinued.
Indulgences are now specified in terms of days and years." (Ed: Since
Vatican II, time periods are no longer used for indulgences.)
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