Sunday, 21 June 2009

More About Indulgences...

In my last post, I mentioned that the condition of Sacramental Confession, necessary for a Plenary Indulgence, had to be completed within a wek either side of the indulgenced work.

Dorothy questioned me about this, as she had read that Confession could be as much as 20 days either side.

I couldn't remember where I'd read the requirement, but it started to bug me (I'm like that) and so I went and hunted through a few of my old prayer books - old as in "the ones I bought when I first returned to the Church," many of which were actually rather traditional (without me realising that fact.)

The only references to indulgences mentioned "a few days" or, as in the Apostolic Constitution of Pope Paul VI Indulgentiarum Doctrina, "several days before or after" (n. 8)

That seemed a bit vague. I still had the strong feeling that I'd read a week either side as being the usual time allowed. So, I decided to see what Fr. Tim had written about indulgences... I knew he'd posted on the fact that Plenary Indulgences were not impossible to get, and I was sure that he'd have mentioned the conditions, especially since he's so hot on Confession!

Sure enough, he linked to both Indulgentiarum Doctrina and also to a document from the Apostolic Penitentiary given in January 2000, The Gift of the Indulgence. The latter document makes a specific reference to the "several days" being about 20 (p. 4) which clears that question up.

A little further digging on the internet revealed that the idea of seven days before or after (eight including the day of the indulgenced work itself) was in fact the norm, and that this had been relaxed by the Apostolic Penitentiary in 2000... a relatively recent development which had slipped under my radar!

So, apologies, Dorothy... and it seems you won't have to rearrange your Saturday timetable after all!


Patricius said...

I was in Rome for the Great Jubilee of the Year 2000 and saw notices in which the conditions for the indulgence were prominently posted and recall the 20 day figure relating to Confession. Very little seemed to be made of the whole indulgence thing back here in England and Wales.

gemoftheocean said...

Hey, news to me too re the 20 day thing. I also had thought it was 7 - my old missals said the same thing.

Dorothy B said...

Thank you very much for this, and also for your earlier guide to attending Mass in the Extraordinary Form. They are so helpful that I wonder if you might consider listing the links to such items in a new section of your side column, as a continuing benefit for future enquirers?

I'm fairly hopeless at technical things, but I managed to track down the EWTN details on indulgences:

Matthaeus said...

For anyone interested in finding out more about indulgences, here is a link to a pdf version of the Enchiridion of Indulgences, which was published in 1968 following Vatican II.

People may not be aware, but Vatican II abrogated all pre-existing indulgences and then published the Enchiridion, reinstating many of them. Partial indugences are no longer reckoned in days. Also, indulgences referred to in old prayer books may not always be valid, or may have changed somewhat.

Hope this is of use to someone.


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