indulgence

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indulgence,

in the Roman Catholic Church, the pardon of temporal punishment due for sin. It is to be distinguished from absolution and the forgiveness of guilt. The church grants indulgences out of the Treasury of Merit won for the church by Christ and the saints. Indulgences may be plenary, i.e., a full remission of all temporal punishment; or they may be partial, i.e., a remission of part of the temporal punishment. Contrary to popular understanding, the number of days specified in a partial indulgence does not denote a reduction of time in purgatory. The practice of quantifying indulgences stems from ancient usage, when actual public penance was imposed and remitted for specified periods as the church saw fit. Hence, the penitent who is granted an indulgence receives merit as if he had performed actual penance for the length of time specified. The degree of merit varies with the disposition of the penitent. The notion that this practice encourages moral laxity is denied by the church, since the penitent must be in a state of grace and the attachment to even a single venial sin will reduce the effectiveness of the indulgence. Indulgences won for souls in purgatory are applied only as God wills. Martin LutherLuther, Martin,
1483–1546, German leader of the Protestant Reformation, b. Eisleben, Saxony, of a family of small, but free, landholders. Early Life and Spiritual Crisis

Luther was educated at the cathedral school at Eisenach and at the Univ.
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 protested against the sale and abuse of indulgences and came to reject the teaching altogether. Since the Council of Trent (1562) the buying and selling of indulgences has been unlawful.

Indulgence

 

in the Catholic Church, the complete or partial forgiveness of “sins” granted to the believer by the church, which according to its teachings possesses a supply of “divine grace” by virtue of the merits of Christ and the saints; also, the certificate handed out by the church on the occasion of “absolution.” In the 12th and 13th centuries the Catholic Church began a huge trade in indulgences that took on the character of shameless profit, a fact that later aroused the vociferous protest of the humanists; the abolition of the trade was one of the basic demands of the Reformation. Even today the sale of indulgences by the papacy has not ceased completely.

REFERENCES

Lozinskii, S. G. “Papskii ‘department pokaiannykh del.’” In Voprosy istorii religii i ateizma, collection 2. Moscow, 1954.
“Papskie taksy otpushcheniia grekhov.” Compiled by B. Ia. Ramm. Ibid.

indulgence

1. RC Church a remission of the temporal punishment for sin after its guilt has been forgiven
2. Commerce an extension of time granted as a favour for payment of a debt or as fulfilment of some other obligation
3. History a royal grant during the reigns of Charles II and James II of England giving Nonconformists and Roman Catholics a measure of religious freedom