Vatican II Verifications
There have many misconceptions that Vatican II changed many things in the Church and "we don't do it that way anymore" has become the refrain in all too many parishes throughout the world. However, surprise! It hasn't changed that much! To prove this, we go to the source: the Vatican Council Postconciliar Documents, expertly compiled by the revered Dominican Austin P. Flannery in two volumes.
We continue our three part sixth "bone to pick" with dissenters on the subject of Indulgences, tying in with our topic which we will continue to cover next week in "Catechism Capsules." There has been a misconception that Vatican II threw out indulgences because they were "superstitious" and out-moded. Wrong! In fact the Vatican II documents make it very clear that indulgences are still very much in vogue as we highlight just what was decreed at the Second Vatican Council below and continue next week in this same column taken from VATICAN COUNCIL II, VOLUME II, More Postconciliar Documents; General Editor Austin Flannery, O.P. Costello Publishing Company, Part Six, pages 62-79 on the APOSTOLIC CONSTITUTION ON THE REVISION OF INDULGENCES (Paul VI, Indulgentiarum Doctrina, 1 January, 1967).
THE BENEFITS OF INDULGENCES
9. We recall briefly the most important considerations. First, the
practice of indulgences is beneficial because it teaches us to "know and
see that it is evil and bitter for us to forsake...the Lord our God." (44)
Really, when they gain indulgences the faithful understand that by their
own powers they could not remedy the harm they have done to themselves and
to the whole community by their sin. They are therefore moved to a salutary
10. Moreover, the religious practice of indulgences arouses again
confidence and hope that we can be fully reconciled with the Father. But it
does not do this in a way which would justify negligence of any kind or in
the slightest manner lessen the effort one has to make to acquire the
dispositions that are needed for full communion with God. While it is true
that indulgences are free gifts, they are granted only on fixed conditions
for the living as well as for the dead. To gain indulgences the work
prescribed must be done. But that is not all. The faithful must have the
dispositions that are necessary. These are that they must love God, hate
sin, trust in Christís merits, and believe firmly in the great help they
obtain from the Communion of saints.
INDULGENCES DO NOT LESSEN THE IMPORTANCE AND VALUE OF SACRAMENTS
11. Supported by these truths, holy Mother Church again recommends the
practice of indulgences to the faithful. It has been very dear to Christian
people for many centuries as well as in our own day. Experience proves
this. Still, the Church does not intend in any way to lessen the value of
other means of holiness and purification. First and foremost among these
are the Sacrifice of the Mass and the Sacraments, especially the Sacrament
of Penance. Neither does the Church reduce the importance of the many helps
which are called sacramentals nor of the works of piety, penitence and
charity. All these things have one thing in common: they make people holy
and purify them all the ore effectively according to the closeness of their
union with Christ the Head and with the Body of the Church by charity.
Indulgences also confirm the preeminence of charity in the Christian life.
This is because indulgences cannot be gained without a sincere conversion
of outlook and unity with God. The doing of the prescribed works is added
to these things. The order of charity is preserved in this way. The
remission of punishment by distribution from the Churchís treasury is
incorporated into it.
Next week we will complete this three-part series on Indulgences with a short treatise on New Rules and Norms.
January 9-11, 1998 volume 9, no. 7   Vatican II Verifications