The Efficacy of Indulgences (1)

Source: FSSPX News

An indulgence is a remission of the temporal punishment due for sin.

The Church established this remission based on the penitential “rates” (days or years) that applied when the indulgences appeared, a plenary indulgence being the full, as opposed to partial, remission of the temporal punishment incurred.

There is no doubt that the remission of the temporal punishment is effective in God’s eyes (St. Thomas, Suppl., q. 25, a. 1); in fact, this matter was one of the causes for which Peter de Osma, Luther and the Synod of Pistoia were condemned.

We are unable to evaluate the temporal punishment due in the afterlife, and the same is true of the relation between this punishment and the penance imposed by the Church, and of the extent to which God actually remits this punishment when He takes into account the indulgence granted by the ecclesiastical authority. It all depends on the interior dispositions of each soul, and only God can probe minds and hearts.

The essential is that we constantly dispose our soul to be purified from all inordinate attachment to creatures by fighting against the least sin even if it is only venial. For to possess God forever, we must merit Heaven by conquering sanctity: “Be you therefore perfect, as also your heavenly Father is perfect,” Our Lord told His disciples (Mt. 5:48).