Letters From a Young Catholic

My reflections as a Catholic young adult passionate about the Faith, seeking to grow in knowledge and understanding of God and discerning the will of the Lord in my life.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Plenary Indulgences

Last week Fr. Finigan over at The hermeutic of continuity pointed out to us that one can receive a plenary indulgence either at one's own First Communion or attending another's First Communion.

Apparently the same goes for attending the first Mass of a newly ordained priest according to a list compiling all the ways to obtain a plenary indulgence that I found online. Good to know.

Just as a reminder, here are the conditions for obtaining a plenary indulgence:

-> Sacramental confession. A single sacramental confession suffices for gaining several plenary indulgences; but Communion must be received and prayer for the intention of the Sovereign Pontiff must be recited for the gaining of each plenary indulgence.
-> Eucharistic Communion.
-> Prayer for the intention of the Sovereign Pontiff. The condition of praying for the intention of the Sovereign Pontiff is fully satisfied by reciting one Our Father and one Hail Mary; nevertheless, each one is free to recite any other prayer according to his piety and devotion.
-> It is further required that all attachment to sin, even venial sin, be absent. If the latter disposition is in any way less than perfect or if the prescribed three conditions are not fulfilled, the indulgence will be partial only.

    I've got to admit, it seems to me that to gain a plenary indulgence you pretty much would have to be a saint in the first place since the condition that "all attachment to sin, even venial sin, be asent" seems pretty challenging. Maybe it's just me. Partial indulgence is beneficial to the soul though as well.

    A question I've been wondering though, is it necessary to complete these above conditions with the intention of obtaining an indulgence in order to obtain the indulgence? For instance, if someone went to confession but didn't have the plenary indulgence in mind (or didn't even know that they'd have the opportunity to obtain a plenary indulgence when they went to confession) would this still meet the condition of having to go to confession? Just curious.

    Also wondering. . . what's the time framework in relation to the granting of the indulgence for fulfilling the above mentioned conditions? Particularly, sacramental confession.

    In order that one who is capable may actually gain indulgences, one must have at least a general intention to gain them, but does this apply to when meeting the conditions for receiving the indulgence?

    Also wondering. . . in order to be capable of gaining an indulgence for oneself, it is required that one be baptized, not excommunicated, in the state of grace at least at the completion of the prescribed works, and a subject of the one granting the indulgence, but if one is desiring to obtain an indulgence for another, must that other person also meet these conditions?

    Is it more charitable to obtain indulgences for others rather than for oneself?

    Ok, I could ask a few more questions but I'll leave it at that for now. Any answers or reference material out there?

    Update: Fr. Tim Finigan has graciously taken the time to provide answers to the above questions. Thank-you Father!