Expert Answer Forum

Plenary Indulgence QUESTION from Julie Fitzpatrick September 12, 2000 To merit a plenary indulgence, one must be free from all attachment to sin, even venial sin. What does attachment to sin mean?
ANSWER by John-Paul Ignatius, O.L.S.M. on November 20, 2000 Dear Miss Fitzpatrick:
Attachment to sin means an emotional dependence upon that sin.
In other words, if a person lies, he goes to confession and the sin is absolved, but psychologically he is still attached to lying. Even if he has not sinned yet again, the attachment, or draw to lie is still there. He doesn't want to lie. He is contrite, but the habit is STRONG. Probably the person will lie again, be absolved, lie again, be absolved, etc.
To be free from the attachment of sin -- which is required for a plenary indulgence -- one must not only be absolved of sins, be in a state of grace at the time, but also free from the habit of that sin.
This is a tall order. We all sin, we will all sin repeatedly over our lives. That is not what it is talking about. Rather, we need to be free from the habit of particular sins. That is possible to do. But in an age of bad habits it is mighty hard to accomplish in this culture.
If a person had a bad habit of lying, then one needs not only to be absolved of the outstanding sins but also be free from the habit (then attachment) to that sin.
I hope I made sense of this.
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