A simple explanation of the doctrine of INDULGENCES by Cardinal Sean O’Malley

From Cardinal Sean O’Malley’s weblog: http://www.cardinalseansblog.org/

I want to mention something about indulgences, which are often misunderstood.  Indulgences are not forgiveness for sin but forgiveness for temporal punishment due to sin.

I like to explain it to people with the following story:

As a child, once I came home very late for dinner. My mother was very upset, and seeing how upset she was, I felt very repentant and I told her that it would never happen again. She told me she forgave me, but as my punishment I would have to do the dishes.

So there was repentance and forgiveness, but there was still punishment.

But, as I started doing the dishes, my nana came in and said, “I will help you.”

That is an indulgence.

God loves us and he forgives us, but in His justice there is still some punishment for sin. The indulgence is when the merits and the sufferings of Jesus and the saints are applied to that punishment.

Comments are closed.