Indulgences still taught by Rome today

Discussion in 'Non-Anglican Discussion' started by Anglican04, Dec 27, 2017.

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  1. Anglican04

    Anglican04 Active Member Anglican

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  2. Stalwart

    Stalwart Well-Known Member Anglican

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    I find it interesting the extent to which indulgences have disappeared from RCC life. They may mention them or even defend them on paper, but they have disappeared in practice. This leads me to think that they defend them in order to make an impression that 'nothing has changed' because that outward appearance matters a great deal in the Roman Catholic mindset; yet notwithstanding this outward appearance, in substance they now think very differently of indulgences, as exemplified by how differently they approach them as compared to 500 years ago.
     
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  3. Tuxedo America

    Tuxedo America Member

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    Indulgences are still very much present in the Church. For example, I believe you get a plenary indulgence for praying the Rosary in church or public. You can also get them by visiting a "holy door" (I don't know what those are, but I've heard of them). Most people just don't "indulgence hunt" these days. Besides, Church attitude may only have seemed to change because we're not living in Reformation times, when those were being publicly discussed all the time.
     
  4. Anglican04

    Anglican04 Active Member Anglican

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    The prayers of the holy Rosary by themselves have indulgences! Like the Hail Holy Queen, Apostles Creed, and maybe one more? The Rosary is a great source of grace. I very much agree that indulgences are still present and active in the Church, it's just that most parishioners haven't been very educated on the topic. There are a ton of indulgences and I think it's silly that fellow Anglicans believe that the Roman Church "sold" indulgences, for this is like saying that King Henry the Eighth started Anglicanism. I would be happy to defend my belief if anyone were to ask.
     
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  5. Tuxedo America

    Tuxedo America Member

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    If I'm not mistaken, one gets an indulgence for reading Scripture (or perhaps any spiritual reading) for half an hour as well.
     
  6. Stalwart

    Stalwart Well-Known Member Anglican

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    So but, I mean, why not? No one goes on pilgrimages to gain indulgences, no one tries to buy indulgences (or sell them for that matter), it simply doesn't exist as an important factor of religious life for just about every Catholic I have known. You sound like a very educated Catholic, whereas I'm talking about the 95% of the total around the world. Indulgences seem like an extra thing which one may partake "if you want," an extra flavor rather than the substance of religious life that it was 500 years ago. I mean you just wouldn't be able to finance the construction of St. Peter's Basilica with indulgences today, despite having two orders of magnitude more people on the face of the earth.


    Sure, I'd love to see your thinking on this. Let's take the example of Johann Tetzel in particular.
     
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  7. Tuxedo America

    Tuxedo America Member

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    I don't doubt that many Catholics (perhaps most in the Americas) have no idea what an indulgence is, and have never sought them. That being said, we shouldn't judge a doctrine's importance or standing based on how well or poorly the laity (especially in only one region of the world) receive it. The Church hasn't changed its position merely because the American laity largely aren't taking advantage of the opportunity they have.
     
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  8. Stalwart

    Stalwart Well-Known Member Anglican

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    It's not a matter of the laity receiving it, but of the church authorities not teaching it. Having gone to quite a few functions in my part of the country (the Northeast), I'm hard pressed to think of indulgences ever mentioned, taught or exhorted. So the question to you is: is a doctrine important if the church authorities can't seem to find many reasons to teach it?
     
  9. Tuxedo America

    Tuxedo America Member

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    I seem to recall in my parish bulletin a few months ago an announcement about a holy door and that visiting it grants an indulgence. If one of the faithful doesn't know what that is, they can ask the pastor or another parishioner. Otherwise, my parish has a library one can browse.

    In a perfect world, the lay faithful would be happy to attend classes or listen to guest speakers on various subjects. But we don't live in a perfect world- a very im-perfect one, actually- so most probably aren't. Because of this, the pastor's teaching is mostly limited to what he can deliver in the homily, and whatever he can get to the Sunday School. Because every single day of the Church year has specific readings, one is limited to what he can preach.

    The laity isn't required to know as much as Thomas Aquinas did. While indulgences can be taught at a very basic level, our clerics have a limited timeframe in which to do everything. I don't know what responsibilities an Anglican pastor has, but in between Masses, confessions, baptisms, funerals, preparing homilies, not to mention office duties, that leaves our priests very little time for much else- especially if they're the only one in the parish. Oh, and I'm fairly certain priests must pray the LOTH as well.

    If some one of the laity wants to learn more, the resources are there, and we can do so on our own. I've been on my own, and I'm doing well. I repeat myself: in a perfect world, the pastor would have time to do everything he wants, and the people would show up, but what world do we live in?
     
  10. Aidan

    Aidan Well-Known Member

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    Unfortunately indulgences were sold in the Middle Ages as portrayed by The Pardoners Prolgue and Tail in Chaucers Canterbury Tails. However eventually this practice came to be totally outlawed by the church
     
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  11. Stalwart

    Stalwart Well-Known Member Anglican

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    Where does it say that selling indulgences is now made illegal?

    Also what does it say about the infallibility of the Roman church, if she can teach clearly immoral and heretical doctrines for centuries? What certainty do you have that any Roman teachings of today won't be condemned centuries hence as wrong? If Roman teachings can be taught with 100% certainty and then repealed, then I have no confidence in Roman teachings.

    Unfortunately that excuse doesn't work. Pastors today have as much free time as they did 500 years ago. In fact they may even have more; 500 years ago priests often took charge of 2-3 parishes at once so they had even less time. Yet they had more time to teach on indulgences. In fact the whole culture of that era was saturated with the teachings on indulgences, and especially on the moral imperative to purchase them. Today there is more free time, yet less (practically none) teaching on indulgences. Judge a tree by its fruits. To the modern Roman church, indulgences are just not that important, on the official doctrinal level.
     
  12. Lowly Layman

    Lowly Layman Well-Known Member Anglican

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    What is the biblical basis of indulgences? Were they approved of by the apostolic or early church fathers?
     
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  13. Anglican04

    Anglican04 Active Member Anglican

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    The Doctrine of Indulgences in the Early Church Fathers

    ~57 A.D. - St. Paul - “For such a one this punishment by the majority is enough...you should rather turn to forgive and comfort him...I beg you to reaffirm your love for him. … What I have forgiven, if I have forgiven anything, has been for your sake in the presence of Christ.” (2 Corinthians 2:5-10)

    ~197 A.D. - Tertullian - “Some, not able to find this peace in the Church, have been used to seek it from the imprisoned martyrs. And so you [imprisoned Christians] ought to have it dwelling with you, and to cherish it, and to guard it, that you may be able perhaps to bestow it upon others.” (Ad Martyras Chapter 1)

    222 A.D. - Tertullian - “[N]ow you are ascribing this power [of granting indulgences] even to your dear martyrs. As soon as someone of his own accord has taken on the fetters...at once the adulterers are swarming about…[and] prayers are humming in the air... Men and women crowd [them]...beg for [their] blessing...and return from there as [restored to] the community.” (On Modesty Chapter 22)

    250 A.D. - St. Cyprian - “[A]ccording to your diligence...designate those by name to whom you desire that peace should be granted. For I hear that certificates [of indulgence] are [too freely] given.” (Letter 10 or 15 Paragraph 4)

    And (250 A.D.): “[W]hen some of the lapsed…[demanded] the peace that had been promised to them by the martyrs and confessors...I wrote twice to the clergy...[that] if any who had received a certificate [of indulgence] from the martyrs were departing from this life, having made confession, and received the imposition of hands on them for repentance, they should be remitted to the Lord with the peace promised them by the martyrs.” (Letter 14 or 20 Paragraph 3)

    314 A.D. - Council of Ancyra - “Concerning [various sinners]...a former decree excluded them [from the Church] until the hour of death, and to this some have assented. Nevertheless, being desirous to use somewhat greater lenity, we have ordained that they fulfil ten years [of penance], according to the prescribed degrees.” (Canon 21)

    314 A.D. - Council of Arles - “Concerning those who carry letters from the confessors, be it resolved that, when they have handed over those letters, they receive other letters of reference.” (Canon 10 or 9)

    379 A.D. - St. Basil - “We do not judge [a penance] altogether by the length of time, but by the circumstances of the penance.” (Canonical Epistle to Amphilochius Canon 84)

    380 A.D. - St. Gregory of Nyssa - “[F]ornicators [should] be three years wholly ejected from prayer...and [after an additional six year period] admitted [back] to communion; but the [additional six years] may be lessened to them who of their own accord confess, and are earnest penitents.” (Canonical Epistle to Letojus Canon 4)

    ~650 A.D. - St. Cummian writes a book about penance in which he lists several ways a penance can be shortened. Among them, he notes that “twelve three-day periods” of penance can be “the equivalent of a year” of penance. He says that a penitent can shorten his penance if he spends “one hundred days with half a loaf and an allowance of dry bread and water and salt, [and] sing fifty psalms during each night.” Or, the penitent can do “fifty special fasts, with one night intervening.” (Penitential Chapter VIII Canons 25-28)

    ~679 A.D. - St. Theodore of Tarsus - “Penitents according to the canons ought not to communicate before the conclusion of the penance; we, however, out of pity give permission after a year or six months.” (Penitential Chapter 12 Canon 4)

    740 A.D. - St. Egbert of York - “For him who can comply with what the penitential prescribes, well and good; for him who cannot, we give counsel of God's mercy. Instead of one day on bread and water let him sing fifty psalms on his knees or seventy psalms without genuflecting. But if he does not know the psalms and cannot fast, let him, instead of one year on bread and water, give twenty-six solidi in alms, fast till [3:00 pm] on one day of each week and till Vespers on another, and in the three Lents bestow in alms half of what he receives.” (Penitential Chapter 13 Canon 11)

    807 A.D. - According to the Catholic Encyclopedia article on indulgences, an Irish Synod of this year said that the fast of the second day of the week may be “redeemed” by singing one psalter or by giving one denarius to a poor person. (Canon 24)
     
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  14. Anglican04

    Anglican04 Active Member Anglican

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    I have no idea why that was underlined. @Lowly Layman there is a biblical basis for indulgences (just like there is a biblical basis for the Holy Trinity), and it is supported in multiple writings of church fathers.
     
  15. Stalwart

    Stalwart Well-Known Member Anglican

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    1. None of those quotes actually support indulgences, namely, remissions of temporal punishments in purgatory by a writ from the Pope.

    2. Indulgences presuppose other more basic doctrines which in themselves are errors in doctrine: namely Purgatory, the Universal Jurisdiction of the Bishop of Rome (condemned as a heresy by the church fathers), and the doctrine of temporal punishments.

    3. That looks like a list pulled out of Roman Catholic apologetics. There are tons of lists out there: ones showing the Pope as Antichrist, others (by contrast) showing the Pope as God Incarnate, ones showing that Baptists are right, others showing that Catholics are right, others showing that Presbyterians are right. Since there is only one truth, that means 99% of those lists are misleading, mistranslated, and deceptive. There is only one way to correctly post such a list: read the works cited and check the context and meaning, which the Anglican Fathers had done, when they condemned indulgences as a grave error. Have you read any of the works on that list, or are you just going by someone else's say so?

    4. What's the point in defending indulgences so strongly when they've been condemned and even the Roman Catholics don't defend them that much any more? It is literally one of the most in-defensible Roman doctrines from the middle ages, one which everyone, Protestant, Catholic, Anglican, Orthodox, is happy to speak less and less about as centuries go on.
     
    Last edited: Dec 28, 2017
  16. Tuxedo America

    Tuxedo America Member

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    Off the top of my head, I can't think of one. That's where the whole "Sola Scriptura" thing needs to be discussed. I think it might be considered part of the "binding and loosing" authority of the apostles, but I can't say for sure.
     
  17. Severus

    Severus New Member

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    I actually agree with that. Indulgences don't really play a big role today.

    Well, that's exactly the problem I have with religious liberty. It was condemned by the RCC for centuries but Vatican II finally accepted it. That's one of the things the Society of St. Pius X criticizes. But that's a different topic...

    When it comes to purgatory and the Bible, I'd like to share a link to an excerpt of the book For All the Saints? Remembering the Christian Departed (2003), written by N. T. Wright. I think he is an excellent theologian and an authority when it comes to the New Testament. The excerpt is a bit longer and deals with resurrection, purgatory and hell.

    http://ntwrightpage.com/2016/07/12/rethinking-the-tradition/

    Bishop Wright argues basically that there is no biblical basis for purgatory, and that death itself finishes off what needs to be finished off.
    And about indulgences: They don't make any sense in modern interpretations of purgatory. Some theologians try to interpret purgatory as the moment when we meet God, Christ's love cleaning us... I think I don't have to explain that indulgences don't fit into such a view of purgatory.
     
  18. Peteprint

    Peteprint Well-Known Member Anglican

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    I took my M.A. in Pastoral Theology from a Roman Catholic College, and though I was required to take courses in the sacraments, ecclesiology, Christology, Old and New Testaments, Catholic Theology, etc., I don't remember reading one word, or hearing anything about indulgences. I do know, from my own readings, that they still exist but, as Stalwart has mentioned, they are hardly ever acknowledged in the RCC today, at least here in America,
     
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  19. Achilles Smith

    Achilles Smith Member Anglican

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    I discussed this with a RC friend a while back. He said that indulgences started to disappear because it is not taught in youth/faith formation groups. I guess that makes sense, being that they didn't even touch on indulgences at your Roman Catholic college.
     
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