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Indulgence

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An indulgence, in Roman Catholic theology, is the full or partial remission of temporal punishment due for sins which have already been forgiven. The indulgence is granted by the church after the sinner has confessed and received absolution.[1] The belief is that indulgences draw on the storehouse of merit acquired by Jesus' sacrifice and the virtues and penances of the saints.[2] They are granted for specific good works and prayers.[2]

Indulgences replaced the severe penances of the early church,[2] or, to express it more exactly, they replaced the shortening of those penances that was allowed at the intercession of those imprisoned and those awaiting martyrdom for the faith.[3]

Indulgences, and the abuses[2] that crept into granting them, were a major point of contention when Martin Luther initiated the Protestant Reformation (1517).

References

  1. . Code of Canon Law, (Cann. 992-997) Indulgences; Enchiridion Indulgentiarum, 4th ed., 1999.
  2. . 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Wetterau, Bruce. World history. New York: Henry Holt and company. 1994.
  3. . Cross, F. L., ed. The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church. New York: Oxford University Press. 2005, article indulgences

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