Expert Answer Forum
Indulgences QUESTION from Ronald Smith October 13, 1999 This is a followup to my Sept. 26th question on indulgences. Part of your answer (which I thank you for) was that the hardest part to gain a plenary indulgence was to give up the attachment to sin. Since indulgences have recently become very important to me, I want to make certain I understand what you have said. Could you further explain what ATTACHMENT TO SIN means? Does this mean the desire to commit a certain type of sin? Thank you & God's blessings to you! +
ANSWER by John-Paul Ignatius on October 15, 1999 Dear Mr. Smith:
I have been trying to find a definitive definition of attachment, but I have not found one.
I think we can certainly say that more is needed that being in a state of grace. That is because in addition to whatever you must do for a plenary indulgence the following three things must be accomplished:
sacramental confession (this takes care of the state in grace issue)
Prayer for the Pope's intentions
Then IN ADDITION to this, according to the ENCHIRIDION OF INDULGENCES 1968, is to be free from all attachment to sin, including venial sin.
From my understanding, attachment, means that we must be free from being drawn to a particular sin.
Perhaps a specific example will illustrate.
Let us say that I go to confession and confess the sin of gossip. We all find ourselves gossiping once-in-awhile, and when we do gossip need to confess it.
But some people are drawn to gossip, they seem to be addicted to it. They may go to confession and have the sin absolved, but even with that they just take stay away from it and are likely to do it again -- soon.
So I thing that lack of attachment means that we do not have any favorite sins that we can't seem to let go.
We will sin again of course so freedom of attachment does not mean that wer have to be sinless. Rather we need to be free from being attached, drawn, habituated, to a particular sin.
I guess another way to say it is that we are free of all sinful bad habits.
Hopefully this makes sense. Maybe others out there have a more clear definition.
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