Friday, August 1, 2008

Portiuncula Indulgence

Get thee to a church in the morrow!

"Huh?," you say.

To which my reply is, "You heard me -- be sure to go to Mass tomorrow."

If you receive Holy Communion at Mass tomorrow with the intention of receiving the "Portiuncula Indulgence," which is a full plenary indulgence, you are more than half way there to receiving the indulgence. Additionally, you need to go to confession within eight days of August 2nd (just happening to go this past Thursday without the intention of receiving the indulgence doesn't count), pray for the intentions of the Pope, and recite an Our Father and the apostle's creed in order to gain the indulgence. You also must be free from all attachment to sin.

The freedom from the attachment to sin can be a tricky stipulation to fulfill. You figure there has to be at least one somewhat difficult element to receiving the total relief of punishment for sin. I mean, after all, if you'd die at the moment of receiving the plenary indulgence then -- wham, bang, bang, open dem pearly gates St. Peter. Of course, that is probably not going happen to any of us.

So what does it mean "to be free from the attachment to sin?"

Can't say that I know a tried and true explanation of that phrase. I can only imagine that someone's treasured collection of Playboy magazines would be an attachment to sin. A plan to commit a sin (e.g. embezzle from an employer) is likely it to be an attachment to sin. I can't see how it wouldn't be an attachment to sin. The best idea, if you question if you fulfill the "free from the attachment to sin" portion of the requirement, is to ask the priest while your are participating in the sacrament of reconciliation.

Not sure what an indulgence is?

The Catechism says of indulgences:

An indulgence is a remission before God of the temporal punishment due to sins whose guilt has already been forgiven, which the faithful Christian who is duly disposed gains under certain prescribed conditions through the action of the Church which, as the minister of redemption, dispenses and applies with authority the treasury of the satisfactions of Christ and the saints. An indulgence is partial or plenary according as it removes either part or all of the temporal punishment due to sin. The faithful can gain indulgences for themselves or apply them to the dead. (1471)
An indulgence is obtained through the Church who, by virtue of the power of binding and loosing granted her by Christ Jesus, intervenes in favor of individual Christians and opens for them the treasury of the merits of Christ and the saints to obtain from the Father of mercies the remission of the temporal punishments due for their sins. Thus the Church does not want simply to come to the aid of these Christians, but also to spur them to works of devotion, penance, and charity. (1478)

Many thanks to Gina for reminding me of the indulgence! Scott is serving tomorrow, but we would have missed out on the indulgence without the reminder.

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