Tuesday, June 17, 2014

95 Theses V: The Final Frontier (Of Heresy)

21. Hence those who preach indulgences are in error when they say that a man is absolved and saved from every penalty by the pope's indulgences. My comment: An indulgence does not absolve from sin; only Reconciliation can do that. If the Pope grants a plenary indulgence for doing some action, it means that it redounds to God's praise much more, having done it in a state of grace, and for love of God, than the time in Purgatory.

22. Indeed, he cannot remit to souls in purgatory any penalty which canon law declares should be suffered in the present life. My comment: The meaning is unclear here. But obtaining an indulgence and applying its benefits for the souls in Purgatory is a most noble practice, commended by the Church to this day. And once more, trying to tell the Successor of Peter (who could alter canon law with the stroke of a pen right now) about his jurisdiction is a fruitless waste of time.

23. If plenary remission could be granted to anyone at all, it would be only in the cases of the most perfect, i.e. to very few. My comment: As a self-contained statement, I agree with this. It is very difficult to have the disposition to receive all the benefits of an indulgence. Even the most earnest and zealous of us may only benefit partially, at any given time.

24. It must therefore be the case that the major part of the people are deceived by that indiscriminate and high-sounding promise of relief from penalty. My comment: This is impossible to know. Moreover, we'll find out. We might think, "Hey, I've done enough good to go straight Home" but God says, "I don't think so." There might be another who is scrupulous. In any case, the clergy may be culpable for encouraging presumption and Pelagianism in some. And in not catechizing the people. But it cannot negate the riches of God's mercy in Christ.

25. The same power as the pope exercises in general over purgatory is exercised in particular by every single bishop in his bishopric and priest in his parish. My comment: This is almost true. A priest in his parish can do 2 things about Purgatory: Jack and Squat. Also, the Bishop of Rome is still more free to grant these, a diocesan bishop's authority notwithstanding.

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