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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 Luther 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.
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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



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.


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.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


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
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
References in periodicals archive ?
To complete celebrating the day in style, guests can indulge in the 'tray for 2' from AED175 ($48) per person served at The Cafe.
Once a year this day has got to be for mom to indulge and splurge as she deserves.
Spoil your other half as you both indulge in a special four-course menu under the dreamy, moonlit sky.
Indulge Oils produces clean and pure oils that do not contain any residual particles, are non-toxic and non-carcinogenic.
According to the organizer William Reed Business Media, Indulge Experimental Bistro's owner Aki Wang is at the forefront of Taipei's dynamic cocktail scene with an approach that takes international bar trends and gives them a Taiwanese twist.
Indulge Right[TM] products are Delicious complete meal replacements that bridge the gap between the nutritional and culinary worlds, where flavor meets nutrition in a delicious line of shake products.
For the past seven years, Indulge! and the Blue Pig Cafe operated in a Mohawk Shopping Center building set far back from busy Mohawk Boulevard.
It was more unbecoming on the part of the Governor making such sweeping branding of "Naga people" as greedy for "easy money" emboldening "rulers" to indulge in corrupt activities, Sazo asserted.
Guests can enjoy a two night stay from PS89 per room, per night, and indulge in a fresh cream tea on your first day and full Scottish breakfast each morning.
The breakthrough co-texturiser, Novation[R] Indulge 2740 is being launched in Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) and is the only carrageenan substitute to be simply labelled as 'starch'.
They fancy themselves so much they not only play characters who indulge in bed-hopping in front of the cameras, but also adopt an immoral lifestyle in real life.
Through their JRJCII LLC, the two men paid $1.1 million to Indulge LLC, a company associated with bankrupt developer Brandon Barber, Chambers' former son-in-law.