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An indulgence, in Roman Catholic Church, is the (full or partial) remission of temporal punishment due for sins which have already been forgiven. An indulgence is Partial if it removes part of the temporal punishment due to sin or Plenary if it removes all punishment. The indulgence is granted by the church after the sinner has confessed and received absolution. The belief is that indulgences draw on the storehouse of merit acquired by Jesus’ sacrifice and the virtues and penances of the saints. They are granted for specific good works and prayers.
Personal sins, that is specific sins committed by a person instead of the inherited original sin or evil resultant of personal sin, are either mortal or venial.
Temporal Punishments are those that affect us in this life or in Purgatory. The more temporal punishments you incur, the more punishment/suffering you have to endure on earth or in Purgatory.
Eternal Punishment is everlasting. The penalty for unrepented mortal sin separates the sinner from communion with God for all eternity; the condemnation of the unrepentant sinner to hell. All sins entail some sort of temporal punishment but Mortal sins also carry an eternal punishment. Even though a person may be forgiven of a sin, through the sacrament of Reconciliation, and relieved of any eternal punishment, hell, temporal punishments may still remain. An Indulgence is granted for the remission of the remaining temporal punishments due to sins that have already been forgiven.
Purgatory – “a state of final purification after death and before entrance into heaven for those who died in God’s friendship, but were only imperfectly purified; a final cleansing of human imperfection before one is able to enter the joy of heaven.”
Plenary (full) indulgences are gained after the individual completes the required tasks, which always includes the reception of the sacrament of Penance. Because the sacrament of reconciliation removes the culpable element of sin, the penitent is restored by reconciliation to the state of grace. However, while the individual’s guilt and any eternal punishment is removed by reconciliation, temporal punishments may still remain. God has mercy upon sinners who repent their sins, but His justice still requires that the sinner be punished for the wrongdoing. In addition, even though the separation caused by sin is removed, the repercussions/consequences for the sin have not been removed and still require punishment. E.g. if one break a window, the window is still destroyed and must be repaired even if the breaker makes amends, or if one steals a loaf of bread, the baker still is missing and suffers the loss of the bread even if the thief makes amends. This punishment is called “temporal punishment”, both because it is a punishment of time, as opposed to eternal punishment, and because it relates to the temporary world, Earth or Purgatory, rather than to the “final destination”, Heaven or Hell.
Church teachings explain that individuals who experience trials and tribulations in this world by God’s grace may have them serve as their temporal punishment for forgiven sins (Catechism 1473); other individuals die without having served the full temporal punishment for their sins. These individuals do not have guilt for sin, because it has been forgiven either through reconciliation or perfect contrition before death, and therefore they will attain Heaven. However, they are not yet ready to enter Heaven, as their punishment has yet to be served. Therefore, these individuals “enter” Purgatory, and the punishment they owe is “purged.” The Church teaches that the souls in Purgatory desire to be there because they have realized that they are not yet ready to attain Heaven. Purgatory is a state of final purification after death and before entrance into heaven for those who died in God’s friendship, but were only imperfectly purified on earth. It is a final cleansing of the deceased imperfection before one is able to enter the joy of heaven.
Baptism forgives all of the baptized person’s existing sins; any sin committed after baptism incurs both guilt and a penalty that must be addressed. These are the sins addressed in reconciliation. With the act of penance after reconciliation, both the guilt and eternal punishment for the confessed sins are cancelled, though not necessarily the entire temporal punishment. Furthermore, human beings by nature commit many venial sins daily which are unconfessed and, though they don’t break communion with God, do damage one spiritually, and temporal punishment remains for these. This punishment may be remitted in Purgatory, or by indulgence.
In addition, the only punishment remitted by an indulgence is existing punishment, that is, for sins already committed. Indulgences do not remit punishment for future sins, as those sins have yet to be committed. Thus, indulgences are not a “license to sin” or a “get-out-of-Hell-free” card; they are a means for the sinner to “pay” the “wages” of sin.
Indulgences are “plenary” or “partial”:
To gain an indulgence the individual must be “in communion” with the Church, and have the intention of performing the work for which the indulgence is granted. To be “in communion,” the individual must be a baptized Catholic without any un-reconciled mortal sins (if there are any un-reconciled mortal sins, the individual has cut himself/herself off from God and cannot receive the indulgence) and must not be dissenting from the Church’s teaching. The individual must also intend to receive the indulgence.
Generally, a plenary indulgence requires the following conditions in order to be valid:
It is recommended that the Communion be received at Mass on the same day that the indulgence is earned. Reconciliation may be within a prudent period before or after the act (typically, one week). Several indulgences may be earned under the same confession (reconciliation). If any of these additional conditions is missing, the plenary indulgence will instead be partial.
The following acts are examples of those which result in the award of an indulgence:
Look down upon me, good and gentle Jesus, while before your face I humbly kneel, and with burning soul pray and beseech you to fix deep in my heart lively sentiments of faith, hope and charity, true contrition for my sins, and a firm purpose of amendment, while I contemplate with great love and tender pity your five wounds, pondering over them within me, calling to mind the words which David, your prophet, said of you, my good Jesus: “They have pierced my hands and my feet; they have numbered all my bones” (Ps 21, 17-18)
Saturday (Vigil): 4:40pm Rosary & Rec., 5:00pm Mass
Sunday: 7:30am, 9am & 6pm, Vietnamese 11:15am.
Monday: 9:15am Mass, Ador. & Rec.
Tuesday: 6:15pm Ador., 6.30pm Rosary & Rec., 7pm Mass
Wednesday: 9:15am Mass, Ador. & Rec.
Thursday: 9:15am Mass, Ador. & Rec.
Friday: 9:15am Mass, Ador. & Rec.
First Friday: Ador. 7am-7:30pm.
Masses at 9:15am & 7:30pm with Anointing of the Sick and 4pm in Vietnamese.
Ador. – Adoration.
Rec. – Reconciliation.
Office Opening Hours: Monday, Wednesday, Thursday & Friday: 8:30am to 4 pm.
Office Location: Presbytery (Entry Via Beaconsfield St).
Priest: Rev Dariusz Basiaga SDS PP JP
Phone: (02) 9773 9065
Email: Parish Office
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