1471 The doctrine and practice of indulgences in the Church are closely linked to the effects of the sacrament of Penance.
What is an indulgence?
"An indulgence is a remission before God of the temporal punishment due to sins whose guilt has already been forgiven, which the faithful Christian who is duly disposed gains under certain prescribed conditions through the action of the Church which, as the minister of redemption, dispenses and applies with authority the treasury of the satisfactions of Christ and the saints." (Pope St. Paul VI, Apostolic Constitution, Indulgentiarum Doctrina, Norm 1)
"An indulgence is partial or plenary according as it removes either part or all of the temporal punishment due to sin." (Indulgentiarum Doctrina, Norm 2; cf. Norm 3) The faithful can gain indulgences for themselves or apply them to the dead. (Code of Canon Law, canon 994. 84 Cf. Council of Trent (1551): DS 1712-1713; (1563): 1820)
Web Admin note: All the main ideas upon which an indulgence is based are found in the Bible: the
Church's power to bind and loose, vicarious atonement among members of the Church,
and penance. Although the doctrine has developed, like all others, it is not unbiblical.
- 2 Corinthians 2:6-11
- St. Paul himself issued an indulgence by
lessening the temporal penance for sin of a straying brother.
- 1 Corinthians 5:3-5
he had previously imposed on him.