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My wife reads the NYT and recently handed me an article in that paper which discussed the return of indulgences. I wasn't sure what to make of it, as I am ignorant on the topic and not inclined to take the NYT at face value.
I had thought that indulgences have always been available for saying the rosary, and things like that...
I've been surprised not to hear anyone seemingly anywhere talking about this if it is a big change.
What has changed and what are the practical effects?

Fr. Z had a nice send-up of the article here: http://wdtprs.com/blog/2009/02/nyt-artic...dulgences/

Basically, indulgences have always existed.  But since teaching about indulgences meant teaching about H-E-DoubleHockeySticks, a lot of priests and bishops got really scared over the topic and pretended that it went away.  And boo on them.

You are correct to say that indulgences have always been available.  But they have not always been widely promoted.
Martin_Pen Wrote:My wife reads the NYT and recently handed me an article in that paper which discussed the return of indulgences. I wasn't sure what to make of it, as I am ignorant on the topic and not inclined to take the NYT at face value.
If it's the same NYT article I'm thinking of, then I wouldn't read too much into it. It was basically saying that indulgences are getting more popular in the Church. They are.

The NYT wrote to story to document what, to them, is a scary return to traditional practices they see in the Church. Of course they threw around nonsense terms like "conservative," even though there is no such thing as a "conservative" or "liberal" Catholic.

Quote:I had thought that indulgences have always been available for saying the rosary, and things like that...

They always have been. The NYT piece really was a non-story, though it was nice to see Catholicism get some press (not to say their treatment of indulgences was perfect).

Quote:What has changed and what are the practical effects?


Nothing changed. It was a non-story. As one SSPX priest has said, "God owns the bank, the Church just writes the checks." That's a good way to look at Sacraments, sacramentals and indulgences.
Gee whiz... indulgences are part of what attracted me to traditional Catholicism in the first place. I look at it as nothing more then Mother Church giving me desert after having a healthy meal, so to speak.
Here are the links to the two articles that the NYT recently ran on indulgences.  One, it should be noted, is a blog posting and never appeared in the paper itself.

"For Catholics, a Door to Absolution is Reopened"

"Sin, and Its Indulgences" (From the Room-for-Debate Blog)

If you think the articles themselves are disturbing, you should read the comments that readers have posted to the articles.  They are in turns both disheartening and disgusting.  I was shocked--okay, not totally--by how many ostensible Catholics posted comments excoriating the leaders of the Church for "reinstating" the practice of indulgences, which they (perspicacious and enlightened they) have deemed to be "superstitious."  It's revolting.  I was one of only a handful of posters to emerge in defense of the practice, and I'm not even Catholic.  Anyway, I would recommend reading the comments only if you're not prone to despair, or if you plan on confessing soon.  ;)

The state of catechesis in the modern Church is enough to elicit tears.



Well, I feel a little better about not knowing what my wife was talking about. I like to have answers ready for when she comes to me with questions about the Faith.
Did you see the article's subtitle at the top of the browser window? "Heaven Moves a Step Closer for Catholics."

They never went away. Pope Paul VI issued an apostolic constitution dealing with them in 1967 as well as an Enchiridion of Indulgences. His successors have also continued offering additional indulgences for special occasions. In fact, here's an article from the NYT about John Paul II offering them in 2000 (I guess they forgot about that article). Similarly, the current Pope has offered them on various occasions: World Youth Day, the anniversary of Lourdes (I believe that was it, it was some Marian feast), the year of St. Paul, and a day for the mentally disabled I can remember off the top of my head.



Martin_Pen Wrote:My wife reads the NYT and recently handed me an article in that paper which discussed the return of indulgences. I wasn't sure what to make of it, as I am ignorant on the topic and not inclined to take the NYT at face value.
I had thought that indulgences have always been available for saying the rosary, and things like that...
I've been surprised not to hear anyone seemingly anywhere talking about this if it is a big change.
What has changed and what are the practical effects?

Indulgences have always been around. After VII, they were classified differently (for instance, no specific amount of time is given for a partial indulgence because the concept of time has little meaning) but there was no real big change.

I have the Handbook of Indulgences: Grants and Norms and there is nothing objectionable in it despite it quotes the VII documents a lot.
The responses to the second article linked are pretty pitiful.  Pride really blinds people utterly.  One unfortunate effect of pride seems to be the unmanagable impulse to advertise your pride to others.  I suppose by that trick many unprepared people more easily fall prey to it themselves.  The utter lack of fact-checking and ignorance coupled with the pride is what always amazes me.  I guess this is part of the blinding aspect of it, the other part of which is to keep souls immoble and unresponsive to God's call.  We should all pray for these folks.

God Bless

Jon
Quote:Nothing changed. It was a non-story. As one SSPX priest has said, "God owns the bank, the Church just writes the checks." That's a good way to look at Sacraments, sacramentals and indulgences.

This is a very good definition of Indulgences, for it explains it better than trying to say what it is in theological terms.

For those  (esp. Catholics) who excoriate or denounce this Catholic doctrine are going to feel the effect it has when they languish in Purgatory -- if they make it there! -- and they have nothing to show as temporal mayment because their bank account is empty, and also they won't have anybody to pray for them.


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