Expert Answer Forum

indulgences QUESTION from Diane March 15, 2000 Hi Br. John-Paul,
I've been told that since 1985 the Catholic Church no longer grants indulgences. Of course, I know that isn't true. However, I did read that things had changed a bit with the indulgences. My guess is that the changes had to do with the 300 days/ 7 years of penance one used to get removed by saying the indulgenced prayers. Am I right? Are there only plenary indulgences but no partial indulgences like there used to be? What about invocations or ejaculations (ie My Jesus Mercy)? Do the prayers in the Enchidron (sp) still carry indulgences (ie Adoro te Devote, Memorare,etc) or is it only when the Pope grants an indulgence?
The parish that I was raised in (but no longer go to) still insists that there are no indulgences. Is that heresy? The people I know who go to that parish have never even heard that it is Jubilee Year!
Sorry if this question seems dumb, but I had been taught for quite some time that indulgences were a thing of the past.
Thanks, Diane
ANSWER by John-Paul Ignatius, O.L.S.M. on March 22, 2000 Dear Miss Diane:
No, this is not a dumb question. It is a question that comes up a lot, along with similar questions about practices and teachings that liberals try to assert are no longer taught. Some wacko liberals even say that purgatory is no longer taught.
The doctrine of indulgences is a definitive teaching of the Church. That means that anyone who doesn't believe in the doctrine is no longer in communion with the Church.
The primary change that was made after Vatican II was the removal of the number of days for an indulgence.
Today there are two classes of indulgences: Plenary and Partial.
I believe that the number of Plenary Indulgences was reduced, but other than that all remains essentially the same except the a designation of a number of days is now designated partial indulgence.
If the priest of your previous parish is teaching that indulgences are no longer taught in the Church, then he is no longer in communion with the Church, unless he has some excuse such as mental infirmity or the like that would diminish his capacity for reason and understanding.
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