DAILY CATHOLIC    THURSDAY    December 17, 1998   vol. 9, no. 244


To print out entire text of Today's issue, go to SECTION ONE and SECTION TWO
          The Feature Article, begun in the inaugural issue two years ago, deals with the state of the Church. We continue probing the question that has perplexed the Magisterium and the laity for the past 30 years as the liberal element has left its mark, effecting changes that have seemingly watered down the "Roman Catholic" traditions. Yet, God in His Infinite Wisdom, has allowed this to happen for a specific purpose. He has been preparing us in a special way by sending His very Own Blessed Mother to guide us and remind us of our roots. Through perseverance, prayer and loyalty to Holy Mother Church headed by the Holy Father John Paul II and adhered to by the faithful who will not compromise, the pendulum is beginning to swing back toward the conservative side. In the eighty-eighth installment of this on-going feature series, we continue a segment on indulgences following up on the Holy Father's most recent Papal Bull Incarnationis Mysterium leading up to Christmas. It is vital to distinguish what the Pope means when he talks about indulgences and what they mean, and the fact they are not for sale but can only be gained if one fulfills all the requirements asked including, most of all, being free from mortal sin. The Church has always execised its right to grant indulgences to the faithful and it's important the faithful know what they are as we continue to alert the reader to what is happening and sound the call to arms, to enlist in Mary's army and take up the battle cry. God said it, we believe it, that settles it! Too many Catholics are going their own way with little regard to what their spiritual shepherd - the Vicar of Christ says. Sin is whitewashed. If we're not careful there will be a tremendous backwash and who among us wants to get caught in the vortex of that swirling whirlpool of Justice? This series is a set blueprint for Catholics everywhere to take up the banner of truth in defending Christ's One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church as we prepare for this glorious event - the second coming of Christ and the Reign of the Sacred Heart, the Second Pentecost, the Era of the Eucharistic Presence, the Advent of Peace.
Installment Eighty-eight

The Thirty-Ninth Clarion:

part two

"And he said to Jesus, 'Lord, remember me when thou comest into Thy kingdom.' And Jesus said to him, 'Amen I say to thee, this day thou shalt be with me in paradise.'"

Luke 23: 42-43
          The Holy Father, through his most recent Papal Bull Incarnationis Mysterium, is reinstituting "Jubilee indulgences" for 2000. This was first established by Pope Boniface VIII seven hundred years-ago when, because pilgrims could no longer feel safe traveling to Jerusalem, he allowed that anyone who visited St. Peter's Basilica in Rome for 15 successive days would receive the same plenary indulgence as if he were making a pilgrimage to the Holy Land. And that is another purpose of John Paul II's emphasis on jubilee indulgences, to make us cognisant of the merits of indulgences and help us become accustomed to performing these specified functions so that they become a part of our spiritual life, helping us reap dividends not only during our time here on earth, but also in Purgatory so that we can all achieve Heavenly glory sooner. There are two kinds of indulgences, Plenary and Partial. In this installment we shall define each, explaining their differences and benefits.

          A Plenary Indulgence is the remission of all temporal punishment due to our sins. Wow! That means the Church teaches that one who dies immediately after gaining a plenary indulgence goes right to Heaven. In other words, do not stop at Purgatory, do not collect $200. Go straight to Heaven! How can this be? We have the words of Jesus Christ in Luke 23: 42-43 where Our Lord forgave the good thief, granting him instant forgiveness of all his sins.

          With that kind of assurance, you would think Catholics would be "piling up" all the Plenary Indulgences they can; but it doesn't work that way. In fact, only one Plenary Indulgence can be gained a day even if the prescribed work, prayer or visit is performed more than once a day. But all is not lost for we can gain a Partial Indulgence for these deeds, but more on that later. The usual conditions ordinarily prescribed for a Plenary Indulgence are: Confession, Holy Communion, a visit to a particular church or oratory, and prayer for the intentions of the Pope. Speaking of the Pope, he is the only one who can grant a Plenary Indulgence or indulgences for the universal Church such as Jubilee Indulgences. These usual conditions are in addition to the works prescribed for a particular indulgence. The first usual condition, Confession can be made within an eight day period following the day which the Indulgence was designated followed by, within a day, Holy Communion. More than one Plenary Indulgence can be gained within that same time frame as long as it adheres to one a day, thus seven to eight indulgences can be gained provided other requirements are also met. An exception is made here for Jubilee Indulgences, which the Holy Father is granting; for these individual Confession and reception of the Holy Eucharist are required each time a Plenary Indulgence is to be gained. In other words, one cannot "pile up" seven or eight at one time unless one goes to Confession and Communion daily. The second usual condition is visiting a particular church or oratory such as St. Peter's in Rome and the many churches and shrines the Pope is designating for such during the Jubilee year, some of which have been designated already in the Holy Father's recent Papal Bull and more to be released later. The third usual condition is prayers for the intention of the Holy Father. These usually refer to matters for the welfare of the Church and include exaltation of the Church, for erasing heresies, peace among nations - especially among Christian ones, for propagating the faith, and finally - for the conversion of sinners. Also, these prayers must be said vocally, they cannot be prayed "mentally." In addition, they must be accompanied by an Our Father, Hail Mary and Glory be. It sounds like these rules are fairly strict but they have to be set in stone as such in order for the penitent to gain the maximum merits of the Plenary Indulgence. Consider the fact that in the early Church, canonical penances were very severe. For a grave sin such as apostasy, a chastised penitent was to be punished for seven years, a time in which he was separated from the rest of the faithful. He would have to kneel at the entrance to the church asking those who entered for their prayers. Talk about a lesson in humility! He could only attend the Liturgy of the Word, having to leave before the Liturgy of the Eucharist began. He was also restricted from receiving Our Lord in Holy Communion. On assigned liturgical days, the penitent had to fast on bread and water. The only way a penance of this nature could be shortened was if the penitent was granted an indulgence through the intercession of others in the state of grace. So you can see we've got it pretty good today! But sincerity of heart and trust that we have fulfilled all the requirements are essential. No, we don't have someone human looking over our shoulder, but we know the Almighty is aware of everything in our heart and, after all, it's what God says that truly counts!

          A Partial Indulgence is the remission of part of the temporal punishment due to our sins. Unlike a Plenary Indulgence this only partially remits sins, which means we might have to spend time in Purgatory - days, months, years, and for some, even centuries. It depends on the state of our soul and how many graces and merits we have built up here on earth. We have to understand also that only God can determine the amount of time one must spend in Purgatory for neither the Church nor man can determine this. Temporal means only the time built up on this earth. For example, take an indulgence of 300 days. This does not mean 300 days in Purgatory, but rather the maximum the Church can grant to one individual through the spiritual treasury built up. For Partial Indulgences, which can be granted by archbishops and bishops for their own respective archdioceses and dioceses, one must also be in the state of grace and be a baptized Catholic. One must have the intention of gaining the indulgence. In other words, one must be aware of the indulgence and want it. One must perform the works or requirements asked according to what the Church has designated, fulfilling all conditions and meeting the time frame requirements. Just as with Plenary Indulgences, prescribed prayers to gain a Partial Indulgence must be said vocally - aloud, not to oneself, if that is one of the requirements. For certain invocations or ejaculations, one can recite these mentally if it is permitted for gaining an indulgence.

          Finally, it must be mentioned that priests with special faculties from the Holy Father, may attach indulgences to objects they bless such as rosaries, religious items, medals, etc. Everything the Pope blesses automatically have the apostolic indulgence attached to them. In the next installment we will talk about Indulgenced Prayers and Objects and how we can gain indulgences for others.

December 17, 1998       volume 9, no. 244


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