Getting indulgences?


Is it possible to get an indulgence saying the rosary in front of the Blessed Sacrament? What is this history of indulgences?

--Interested in Inwood


Noted Canon Lawyer, John Huels helps us answer this questions by saying that, according to the Enchiridion of Indulgences, 48, one can get a plenary indulgence if one says the rosary in a church or oratory, but it says nothing about saying the rosary before the blessed sacrament. A separate indulgence can be obtained for visits to the Blessed Sacrament, but this too says nothing about the rosary. Thus, it is possible to get two distinct indulgences by making a visit to a church with the blessed sacrament and saying the rosary, but these are separate indulgences for each act, not one indulgence for saying a rosary before the Blessed Sacrament.

Indulgences are the remission of temporal punishment for sin, in response to certain prayers or good works. Around the 9th century, when there were tariff penances, that is an assigned amount of work to be done to make up for sin, the idea of indulgences first develops in the western church. This gave rise to a mathematizing of Penance, counting the amount of sins and the amount of prayers or alms that would have to be done for making up one's sins. With the beginning of Crusades with Pope Urban II (1088-99), indulgences became popular and monetary. Because not everyone could go on a crusade, others could share in the merits of the crusades by taking part in an indulgence. At the time of death, if there were enough indulgences, one was declared to be free from sin. For those needing more "remittance," one could offer indulgences for another. Pope Clement VI (1343) mentioned the merits of indulgences and the Church dispenses them. Luther objected to the practice of indulgences. In response, the Council of Trent (1545-63) defended and promoted the church's tradition and teaching.


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