Saturday, January 19, 2008

Rome offers a plenary indulgence

I'd like to note this in relation to what took place at the Svendsen-Pacwa debate during the Audience Questions section.
(Edit in green text)
Father Pacwa, answering an audience question...
Question: "Please comment on the view of today's Vatican regarding the selling of indulgences in history."

Pacwa (almost verbatim): "The Vatican hasn't said anythg about selling indulgences b/c it was condemned earlier in the C of Trent. There was abuse of selling of indulgences and the reason that Vatican didn't say anythg was b/c it's not being done."

First of all, that's awesome for our RC friends. In particular I'd love to know why such goodies as plenary indulgences are only granted from time to time rather than all the time. And why the RCC doesn't just go all the way and become Reformed, where the one sacrifice of Christ provides for a true plenary indulgence. As to the former, I wonder if Indulgentiarum Doctrina has anything to say?

In my review, I noted that Fr Peter Stravinskas disagreed w/ Pacwa's assertion, and apparently the Archdiocese of Philadelphia is coming down somewhere near Stravinskas' side as far as I can tell. So I guess here we have a problem between Stravinskas and Pacwa, and it leads to a few questions:
  1. What is the difference between buying an indulgence with money and buying one with stuff you do?
  2. Is this not demonstrative of disunity among RC clergy? (I know Mateo wouldn't agree that this is a big deal, but he's not the majority opinion so far as I've seen.)

Pretty good stuff. Either way, I hope all the Roman Catholics who can will take advantage. I sure would.
And what good fortune to die just a few hours after hooking one of these dandies!
I'm gonna go ahead and post screen shots of the article here b/c another link I found turned out to be dead just hours after I saw the article that links to it.




35 comments:

pilgrim said...

I was going to blog on that as well, but then I haven't blogged for a while.

It's worth pointing out.

And if the RCC doesn't teach indulgences--why would they still be in the catechism--along with the treasury of merit?

TheDen said...

Here's more information about the plenary indulgence being offered:

http://www.cst-phl.com/070524/main.html

I guess Fr. Mitch was wrong.

Regarding indulgences, IMHO, I think it's better to encourage Catholics to start going to confession more before encouraging them to take advantage of plenary indulgences.

EA said...

This is typical of Catholic apologetics; an army of on-line apologists will repeat over and over that the RCC provides the advantage of a set of beliefs that have been believed always and everywhere by the faithful. However, when you start to examine the details, you find that there are almost as many beliefs as there are fannies in the pews.

Carrie said...

Father Pacwa, answering an audience question on the subject of indulgences, basically said, "Rome doesn't do or teach indulgences anymore.

That is odd. It is in the catechism and I think they are still offered fairly regularly.

And what good fortune to die just a few hours after hooking one of these dandies!

You make me laugh!

Bill Cork said...

In the link you gave, the reporter says the question was about SELLING indulgences, and Pacwa said the Catholic Church doesn't SELL indulgences anymore.

This is quote different from your representation, in which you change this to an assertion that ""Rome doesn't do or teach indulgences anymore." One can "do or teach indulgences" without selling them.

And Rome does "do or teach indulgences." Philadelphia's offer is hardly new or striking. The Pope offered a special indulgence for the Jubilee year in 2000, they are in the Catechism, and there is a "Handbook of Indulgences" which specifies the norms. For the full teaching of the Catholic Church on this subject, see Pope Paul VI, "Indulgentiarum Doctrina," (1967), which lays out the post-Vatican 2 teaching on the subject (which is no different from the pre-Vatican 2 teaching on the subject).

Peter Sean Bradley said...

Thanks, Bill, for catching that.

I was wondering what Father Pacwa thought he was saying, since Catholic doctrine is choc-a-bloc full of indulgences. For example, I've seen older bibles that note that there is a partial indulgence for reading the bible.

I didn't think to challenge Rhoblogy for misrepresenting - albeit unintentionally through the all-too human cause of a faulty memory - what Father Pacwa had said.

I guess there are are several lessons here. The first is that our memory is often colored by what we expect or want to remember. The second is that it is important not to accept what people say without challenging the premises.

Rhology said...

I should've just put down verbatim what Pacwa said.

Question: "Please comment on the view of today's Vatican regarding the selling of indulgences in history."

Pacwa (almost verbatim): "The Vatican hasn't said anythg about selling indulgences b/c it was condemned earlier in the C of Trent. There was abuse of selling of indulgences and the reason that Vatican didn't say anythg was b/c it's not being done."

Approximately 2 hrs 19 minutes into the debate. Contact me if you want the sound files BTW.

Someone might be inclined to dispute the selling of indulgences vs the earning of indulgences thru some other means. Biblically such a distinction is laughable, but I'm open to see what someone might have to say about it. Perhaps such will spark a further post or three about indulgences in general.
In particular I'd love to know why such goodies as plenary indulgences are only granted from time to time rather than all the time. And why the RCC doesn't just go all the way and become Reformed, where the one sacrifice of Christ provides for a true plenary indulgence. As to the former, does Indulgentiarum Doctrina have anythg to say?

Peter Sean Bradley said...

Rhology,

Everyone makes mistakes, but, let's be honest, you were accusing Father Pacwa of either lying or being grossly ignorant of Catholic teachings. That's what I and others understood from your post.

It is obvious from reading your source that neither insinuation is correct. Father Pacwa was accurately stating the teachings of the Church.

It is pretty silly for you to claim that you didn't understand the significance of "selling indulgences."

Perhaps an open admission of error might be in order to avoid the sin of bearing false witness.

As for your other points, certainly, run up a post and we can discuss it.

Rhology said...

So there's a difference between selling indulgences and what is described in the link I posted?

What is it?

Rhology said...

And even if I did misrepresent Pacwa (which remains to be seen), it leaves you with Stravinskas who clearly supported the idea of SELLING indulgences. So I'd like to keep the conversation also on him so that there are 2 foci and not just one.

kevin82 said...

rhology,

You need to edit your post and reflect what Pacwa really said, regardless of whether you don't see a difference. This is simply a matter of being honest and holding to the standards all of us bloggers should adhere to. I don't really have a stake in this debate, since I find the whole indulgences thing pretty dubious myself -- but the RCC has long recognized that the selling of indulgences is improper due to its ease of abuse (e.g. clerics wanting money for less-than-virtuous ends) and, more importantly, it being unfair, i.e., a great burden to those with less money and hardly a sacrifice for those with great amounts of money. Perhaps in principle the selling of indulgences is fine since the point is that there be a sacrifice involved, but the abuse and unfair factors involved are why Rome doesn't sell indulgences anymore. Please, edit your post.

Captain Kangaroo said...
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Carrie said...

Rhology,

I don't think your Stravinskas link is working.

Rhology said...

As far as taking someone seriously, Capt Kang, it's OK, the feeling is mutual. And significant missssssspellings don't help matters...

The commenters are right, though - I was just lazy and didn't relisten to the debate, so I've posted amended text marked in green font.

I went ahead and added some more content (also marked in green) so as to make the most of the situation. Might as well go for broke! And I fixed the link to the Stravinskas video - thanks to Carrie for pointing it out.

Peter Sean Bradley said...

Rhology,

You are still being disingenuous, but that is your look-out.

Concerning your question - which, let's be honest, you threw out to save yourself from having to offer an apology - I will be charitable and assume that there is a bona fide failure to communicate.

When Father Stranvinska says "pay now or pay later", he doesn't mean that anyone can or must "buy" one's way into Heaven. He means that every sin has temporal - but not necessarily eternal -consequences that will be paid for in this life or after this life.

It may be hard for certain kinds of Protestants to understand this, but acts of charity, including the giving of alms to the poor or to the Church for the poor, have traditionally been understood by Christians as part of the application of Christ's saving grace to their lives.

For example, in his Enchiridion on Faith, Hope and Charity, St. Augustine writes:

Chapter 72. There are Many Kinds of Alms, the Giving of Which Assists to Procure Pardon for Our Sins.
And on this principle of interpretation, our Lord's saying, "Give alms of such things as you have, and, behold, all things are clean unto you," applies to every useful act that a man does in mercy. Not only, then, the man who gives food to the hungry, drink to the thirsty, clothing to the naked, hospitality to the stranger, shelter to the fugitive, who visits the sick and the imprisoned, ransoms the captive, assists the weak, leads the blind, comforts the sorrowful, heals the sick, puts the wanderer on the right path, gives advice to the perplexed, and supplies the wants of the needy,—not this man only, but the man who pardons the sinner also gives alms; and the man who corrects with blows, or restrains by any kind of discipline one over whom he has power, and who at the same time forgives from the heart the sin by which he was injured, or prays that it may be forgiven, is also a giver of alms, not only in that he forgives, or prays for forgiveness for the sin, but also in that he rebukes and corrects the sinner: for in this, too, he shows mercy. Now much good is bestowed upon unwilling recipients, when their advantage and not their pleasure is consulted; and they themselves frequently prove to be their own enemies, while their true friends are those whom they take for their enemies, and to whom in their blindness they return evil for good. (A Christian, indeed, is not permitted to return evil even for evil.) And thus there are many kinds of alms, by giving of which we assist to procure the pardon of our sins.


Hence, Father Stravinska is being biblical, and is entirely in line with St. Augustine, who certainly knew something about the Bible, in his comments in your video selection.

Also, nowhere in your Stravinska video does Father Stravinska say anything about the sale of indulgences. This is another point on which you should issue an honest retraction in the interest of (a) not bearing false witness against your enemies and (b) developing the virtue of justice to those you despise.

Further, insofar as giving money to the Church as alms is meritorious as described by St. Augustine, then, in principle, indulgences might be given in return for alms. However, I would think that the history of the last 500 years would suggest why anything suggesting the sale of indulgences has been rigorously avoided, which was the point truthfully made by Father Pacwa.

Carrie said...

"For alms deliver from all sin, and from death, and will not suffer the soul to go into darkness. Alms shall be a great confidence before the most high God, to all them that give it." Tobit 4:11-12

My hope is in Alms?

Rhology said...

I invite anyone to watch the Stravinskas video and see how correctly PSB here has interpreted what Stravinskas said.

Suuuuurrrreeeee he never says anythg about buying indulgences.

Captain Kangaroo said...
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Rhology said...

CaptKang,

Could you explain why I should listen to you rather than to a priest like Stravinskas with respect to the propriety of buying indulgences?

Carrie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Rhology said...

I have deleted CaptKang's 2 comments b/c of the high immaturity and insult factor.

CaptKang - do not violate what Carrie has said again or I'll delete every comment from you in any thread I ever post. I've not seen much usefulness out of your comments anyway, so it wouldn't be any big loss.

I repost here his 2 comments in order with the objectionable content removed.

1st comment:
"And if the RCC doesn't teach indulgences..."

LOL!

And to think some of you wonder why most of us don't take this site seriously.




2nd comment:

Rhology: the granting of indulgences for alms giving that soon became the selling of indulgences in practice became a terrible abuse that should not be resumed. My personal opinion (worth not much, but hey, it's what I got) is that any modern Catholic seriously advocating this after the disaster this practice helped create should know better. I believe the Church is the true Church; and part of that must mean that the Church no only can rform and repent, it is an essential part of the perfecting of the bride of Christ. We should not turn back.

I can understand how a Catholic historian might wish to explain the legetimate root: that alms giving is temporally meretorious or some such argument, but I agree that doing it shouldn't be revisited. I'd doubt the wisdom of any of my fellow Catholics who advocate its resumption.

As for the doctrine itself: the Church having power to grant indulgence in Jesus' name, the Church never stopped teaching or practicing it as far as I know. It is usually (always?) part of the sacramnet of the aniointing of the sick and a regular practice concerning the encouragement of righteous actions.

Obviously the doctrine itself is debate worthy. Here I would simply bow out and leave it to people who actually know what they are talking about: I don't know enough about it to comment more than I have already...
(emph mine)

I say Amen! to that last boldfaced statement.

Carrie said...

Reposting my comment without referencing CK's:

Rhology,

I have closed the comments on my posts because of immature, distractive behavior like is here. Can you please delete all comments that refer to my posts since they 1) don't belong here and 2) don't respect my wishes to not allow comments on the subject.


Thanks Rhology!!

Rhology said...

without referencing CK's:

Well, I believe in giving credit where credit is due.

Carrie said...

Well, I believe in giving credit where credit is due.

That's fine. I just wanted to remove the offensive material which I had italicized in my first comment. Since you have kindly deleted the offending comments, there was no reason to have the material still visible in my own reply.

In all seriousness, I wonder if intentional insults are consider a venial sin? For a system that has temporal penalties for sin, you would think certain poor behaviors would be better regulated. That's is, if you are using carnal reasoning.

Peter Sean Bradley said...

Rhology,

According to St. Augustine, one form of almsgiving is "instructing the ignorant" and by instructing the ignorant, one can obtain pardon for one one's sins.

Do you disagree with that construction of the passage from the Enchiridion?

Another kind of "almsgiving" is "writing a check" but - as Stravinska alludes - only if it does with charity, i.e., love.

The word "indulgence" is never mentioned in your clip. Although the questioner asks a silly, disingenuous comment about "how much", Stravinska had previously pointed out that "charity covers a multitude of sins" (1 Peter 4:8) and when the comment is made about how much, Stravinska posture and reaction shows that that he knows that he is dealing with someone more interested in point scoring by asking silly questions than in asking an honest question.

We know that it was a silly disingenuous question because love doesn't ask "what is the minimum I have to do" as in "how much of a check do I have to write to buy my way into Heaven." Love is self-giving and self-distributive and, in essence, asks "how much can I possibly give of myself to my beloved."

So, St. Augusine in the Fourth Century and Father Stravinska in the Twenty-First (and Peter in the First and Tobit in Second Century BCE) all teach the same thing; almsgiving results in pardon for sins. They also exlude the 'buying' or 'selling' of pardon because the motivation in buying and selling is not charity, or love. Christ - as noted by St. Augustine - said "give alms and all things will be clean to you" (Luke 11:41.) So, add Our Savior to the list that agree with Father Stravinska.

If you have a problem with purging one's sins through almsgiving, which was what Stravinska was talking about, you should take the issue up with Christ and St. Augustine.

Charity means a lot of things, incidentally. In intellectual discourse, it means assuming the best of your enemies. Practicing charity in this case might involve showing respect to Father Stravinska and Pacwa by not assuming that they are ignorant of Church teaching, the writings of the Father and the text of the Bible.

Rhology said...

PSB,

I take great issue with your very --ahem-- charitable interp of what Stravinskas has said.
He says "charity covers a multitude of sins", trying to defend his ridiculous "pay now or pay later" comment and grossly misdefines the "charity" from that verse.

almsgiving results in pardon for sins

Thank you. This is exactly what I've been driving at in my post. I don't know why you act so ashamed of yourselves as far as selling indulgences goes.

Practicing charity in this case might involve showing respect to Father Stravinska (sic) and Pacwa by not assuming that they are ignorant of Church teaching, the writings of the Father and the text of the Bible.

An excellent way to show them respect is to analyse WHAT THEY SAY and let it stand on its own merits, rather than by radically redefining what they say in order to make it fit your preconceived notions of what it SHOULD say. I don't know if any clergyman would appreciate a layman doing so.

Peace,
Rhology

Captain Kangaroo said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Rhology said...

CaptKang has decided to remove himself from this combox by his pitifully childish behavior.

Better luck being civil next time, CK.

Peter Sean Bradley said...

Rhology,

You write:

I take great issue with your very --ahem-- charitable interp of what Stravinskas has said.
He says "charity covers a multitude of sins", trying to defend his ridiculous "pay now or pay later" comment and grossly misdefines the "charity" from that verse.


The questioned involves two different but related subject:
"purgatory" to "almsgiving"

With respect to Purgatory, Father Stravinska used the colloquial expression of "pay now or pay later", meaning that we purge ourselves of our temporal attachments either in this life or later. Hence, pay now - purge ourselves in this life through alms as recognized by Jesus, Peter and St. Agugustine - or purge ourselves in Purgatory.

Anyone familiar with the Catechism recognizes "the pay now or pay later" reference is to this: On the other hand every sin, even venial, entails an unhealthy attachment to creatures, which must be purified either here on earth, or after death in the state called Purgatory.

The question also lumps in the idea of alms giving, which you think that Fr. Stravinska "grossly misdefines."

Well, why? Apart from James White, that is.

After all, Jesus and St. Peter recommend almsgiving as purgative and St. Augustine explains what almsgiving can consist of, which is "charity" understood as loving conduct toward our fellow humans.

Thank you. This is exactly what I've been driving at in my post. I don't know why you act so ashamed of yourselves as far as selling indulgences goes.

Saint Augustine, Father Pacwa, Father Stravinska and I have all been saying the same thing: almsgiving provides a pardon for sins.

But "almsgiving" is not "buying" an indulgence in order to "buy" one's way into Heaven.

Almsgiving is charity (caritas); love in action, directed to others and self-emptying. Writing a check to buy salvation is not caritas; it is self-regarding and the antithesis of love.

Anyone motivated to buy an indulgence solely by a self-regarding love of self will be very disappointed by their eternal reward.

An excellent way to show them respect is to analyse WHAT THEY SAY and let it stand on its own merits, rather than by radically redefining what they say in order to make it fit your preconceived notions of what it SHOULD say. I don't know if any clergyman would appreciate a layman doing so.

You and I have done this game before, as I recall, where I accurately predicted that an uncharitable interpretation you gave to someone's comment would turn out to be wrong.

This is the same situation.

Honestly, to say that after 500 years where the Church has condemned the buying of indulgences, Father Stravinska has suddenly and uniquely begun to advocate the sale of indulgences is fatuous.

I ask you out of simple honesty to drop this posture that "buying" and "almsgiving/charity" are identical in your mind. You're a smart guy; you know better than that.

Further, insofar as you are attempting to claim that Fr. Stravinska said that he (or the Church) approves the selling of indulgences, you are perilously close to the vice of calumny.

Perhaps you could address the points I've raised about St. Augustine's view on almsgiving or the essential nature of caritas?

Captain Kangaroo said...
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John said...

Hello Rhology,
This discussion is a bit similar to one I had with the Josh S. on his metalutheran blog. This plenary indulgence you are referring to is just one out of many - http://www.ourladyswarriors.org/indulge/plenary.htm lists them all - one of which is simply reading scripture for half an hour. (with the 3 accompanying conditions for all plenary indulgences - confession/communion/prayer). You can also see at that link that many of these "goodies" are indeed available at all times and places (perpetual), including the scripture one. Also remember one of the conditions for plenary indulgences - "It is further required that all attachment to sin, even venial sin, be absent" otherwise it is partial only. Now, there has to be some qualification on what "attachment to sin" means - it's somewhat vague and so could be impossible for most depending on how one reads it and perhaps that's the point, but it could also perhaps just go hand-in-hand with the other condition of confession and expressing a full and genuine desire to repent of and abhor our mortal/venial sins.

Also note that partial indulgences are far more focused on kinds of acts that I don't think Protestants would have too much trouble with - http://www.ourladyswarriors.org/indulge/ggrants.htm - all 3 grants are things that I think any growing Christian would be performing fairly regularly - and of course the other partial indulgences listed at http://www.ourladyswarriors.org/indulge/ are mainly prayers that many people (well I'm sure many Protestants would have problems with some of them) would probably be saying anyways or that would help them spiritually. Indulgences aren't all visiting shrines and such, and as PSB keeps mentioning, doing those things or "writing checks" with the wrong disposition or motives won't be too helpful - note "The aim pursued by ecclesiastical authority in granting indulgences is not only that of helping the faithful to expiate the punishment due sin but also that of urging them to perform works of piety, penitence and charity—particularly those which lead to growth in faith and which favor the common good." and "The preeminence of charity in the Christian life is confirmed also by indulgences. For indulgences cannot be acquired without a sincere conversion of mentality ("metanoia") and unity with God, to which the performance of the prescribed works is added".
Also, it is possible that God might grant a full remission to particular people who simply perform a partial indulgence - it's pretty much left to as God sees fit for partial indulgences. Cheers.

Rhology said...

Hi PSB,

Father Stravinska used the colloquial expression of "pay now or pay later", meaning that we purge ourselves of our temporal attachments either in this life or later.

OK. Let the reader judge whether that fits the context of the video and the question.

the idea of alms giving, which you think that Fr. Stravinska "grossly misdefines."

I said this specifically:
"He says "charity covers a multitude of sins", trying to defend his ridiculous "pay now or pay later" comment and grossly misdefines the "charity" from that verse."

The gross misdefinition was "charity" as "almsgiving" as quotation from 1 Peter 4:8.
Why? B/c he equivocates on the English version. Love = charity in ENGLISH, yes. Love-charity-almsgiving is not lexically equivalent in Grk, whether or not the almsgiving is done in love or not. Nor equiv in English, come to think of it.
It's like the Word of Faith preacher who says, "the widow who gave the mite gave out of her want! She WANTED a blessing from the Lord, so she sowed a seed!" No respect is due such gymnastics.

Jesus and St. Peter recommend almsgiving as purgative

I of course dispute that, but it's irrelevant to this question.

But "almsgiving" is not "buying" an indulgence in order to "buy" one's way into Heaven.

I hate to keep going back to this, but that was the context of the question to Stravinskas and he answered in the affirmative.


to say that after 500 years where the Church has condemned the buying of indulgences, Father Stravinska has suddenly and uniquely begun to advocate the sale of indulgences is fatuous.

As I said above, an excellent way to show respect to Stravinskas is to analyse WHAT HE SAYS and let it stand on its own merits, rather than by radically redefining what he has said in order to make it fit your preconceived notions of what it SHOULD say. I don't know if any clergyman would appreciate a layman doing so.


I ask you out of simple honesty to drop this posture that "buying" and "almsgiving/charity" are identical in your mind.

The almsgiving MERITS forgiveness of sins. I don't see the big difference.

Augustine's view on almsgiving or the essential nature of caritas?

I don't see how it's relevant, so not today.



John said:
You can also see at that link that many of these "goodies" are indeed available at all times and places (perpetual), including the scripture one.

Then why even bother announcing it with a press release like the ArchD of Philadelphia did?

Also remember one of the conditions for plenary indulgences - "It is further required that all attachment to sin, even venial sin, be absent"

So if you want all your sins forgiven, get perfect first. Is that an accurate restatement?

it's somewhat vague

Vaguer than, say, Ephesians 2?


Thanks for your thoughts.

Peace,
Rhology

Captain Kangaroo said...
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Captain Kangaroo said...
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EgoMakarios said...

"First of all, that's awesome for our RC friends. In particular I'd love to know why such goodies as plenary indulgences are only granted from time to time rather than all the time. And why the RCC doesn't just go all the way and become Reformed, where the one sacrifice of Christ provides for a true plenary indulgence."

Oh. That's just real nice. No repentance necessary: just sin all you want because you have a plenary indulgence. Yeah, the Reformed faith sure is the faith of Christ who said "repent for the kingdom of heaven is at hand"....NOT. There could be nothing more Satanic than your viewpoint. You've got the Catholics beat by far in who's following Satan better.