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Luther and the Protestant Reformation: Crash Course World History #218
The Catechism of the Catholic Church describes an indulgence as "a remission before God of the temporal punishment due to sins whose guilt has already been forgiven, which the faithful Christian who is duly disposed gains under certain prescribed conditions through the action of the Church which, as the minister of redemption, dispenses and applies with authority the treasury of the satisfactions of Christ and all of the saints".
What is an indulgence? An indulgence is the full or partial remission of temporal punishment for sins after the sinner confesses and receives absolution. Under Catholic teaching, every sin must be purified either here on earth or after death in a state called purgatory. How did the practice of dispensing indulgences begin? The first known use of plenary indulgences was in when Pope Urban II remitted all penance of persons who participated in the crusades and who confessed their sins.
Q — Today after mass a priest gave me a blessing, and since he is a newly-ordained priest, he said I could receive a plenary indulgence with Eucharist, confession, pray for the pope. I was interested in learning more about indulgences and wanted a reliable source. A — Thanks for the questions. Thanks for thinking that we are a reliable source for Catholic teaching. That is for God and His Church alone.
For some reason these days, we do not hear much about indulgences. Although I can remember learning about them in my early education at St. Unfortunately, I think the word sometimes sparks to mind Martin Luther, the Protestant movement, and certain abuses of indulgences that existed.