Beginning Apologetics – The End Times Class 9 (Purgatory III/Indulgences)
FIrst, THANK YOU, all of you, for a lively discussion about indulgences and Purgatory! You stretched me; I was glad for the challenge!
Sorry it’s taken so long to get this posted; it’s been almost ready to post since I left for NCYC; I haven’t stopped running since I left for Kansas City two weeks ago! But since the next class is coming up, I thought I’d better deal with the LAST class!
We will be discussing indulgences in much more detail at the next class; I was left feeling that y’all (or many of y’all) didn’t understand the concept, and were therefore balking at giving the assent of faith to the concept.
It’s important to understand this: Indulgences are a part of our faith. They are not some invention of crazy old men in Rome; they flow naturally form the power to bind and loose granted to the Apostles by Jesus. It is NOT an optional belief, like Marian apparitions and whatnot; indulgences, and the concept of the Church designating the tasks needed to obtain one, is part of the doctrine of the Church. It is related to what we teach about sin, and about the Church’s assigned role in the forgiveness of sin. So we really need to deal with this until y’all gain a level of acceptance of the concept. If you believe that the sacraments do what we say they do, and if you believe that God can remit the punishment due for sin as well as the guilt associated with sin (and remember, it’s the guilt of mortal sin that sends one to hell), then what is so hard about the Church remitting the punishment?
I will use this example in class Sunday, so if you’re reading this, you will be one up on this part. As parents, we sometimes have to punish our children severely for some transgression. It might rise to the level of denying a child the right to participate in some once-in-a-lifetime event, due to the severity of the offense. Which of us would not allow our child at least the opportunity to have that punishment reduced, or even eliminated entirely? And how would we do that? we would hold the child to certain standards of behavior (equivalent to being free from attachment to sin, in the case of a plenary indulgence), we might require the child to complete certain tasks (clean your sibling’s room for a month; work at a retirement home a certain number of hours, or perform some act or acts of community service, inside or outside the family. But we would have allowed the child to remit the punishment due for their transgression.