What Is an “Indulgence”?

(Faith Enrichment)

The Stations of Cross for IndulgencesDescription: This handout makes the seemingly out-dated Catholic teaching on plenary and partial indulgences understandable and useful in today’s world. It explains that an indulgence is a lessening of the temporal punishment that results from our sins, after we’ve sought God’s forgiveness. “Temporal punishment” means temporary time spent in the condition of purgatory (purging or purification) and may be accomplished in actual Purgatory after death or here on earth now.

Purification is needed even after receiving forgiveness, because the damage we’ve done still exists. We’re still suffering the consequences of our sins. God, in his mercy, provides us with opportunities to purify ourselves and overcome our worldly attachments; he indulges us with his mercy.


Ideas for use: Parish penance services, preparation for pilgrimages, RCIA, etc.

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