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Daily Catholic Question

What are indulgences?

Pope Paul VI, in 1968 in the wake of Vatican II, did authorize new norms and a handbook, the Enchiridion of Indulgences. All general grants and ordinances concerning indulgences that were not included in the new Enchiridion were revoked by Pope Paul VI’s action.

A Catholic Catechism defines an indulgence as a remission of temporal punishment due to sins whose guilt has already been forgiven. The faithful Christian, who is duly disposed, may gain an indulgence under certain prescribed conditions through the action of the Church which, as the minister of redemption, dispenses and applies with authority the treasury of the satisfactions of Christ and the saints.

The power of the pope to grant indulgences rests on the power of the keys—the power given him by Jesus to bind and loose. In granting indulgences the pope draws on the treasury of the Church—the superabundant merits of Jesus and the merits of the communion of saints.

The Enchiridion established three general grants followed by other grants attached to particular pious works or prayers. General grants of partial indulgences are made: 1) for those who raise their minds to God with humble confidence in the performance of their duties and in bearing the trials of life and add some pious invocation; 2) to the faithful who give of themselves or their goods in the spirit of faith and mercy to serve their brothers and sisters in need; and 3) to the faithful who, in the spirit of penance, voluntarily deprive themselves of what is licit and pleasing to them.

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Saturday, October 6, 2012
Daily Catholic Question for 10/5/2012 Daily Catholic Question for 10/7/2012


Maria Goretti: One of the largest crowds ever assembled for a canonization—250,000—symbolized the reaction of millions touched by the simple story of Maria Goretti. 
<p>She was the daughter of a poor Italian tenant farmer, had no chance to go to school, never learned to read or write. When she made her First Communion not long before her death at age 12, she was one of the larger and somewhat backward members of the class. </p><p>On a hot afternoon in July, Maria was sitting at the top of the stairs of her house, mending a shirt. She was not quite 12 years old, but physically mature. A cart stopped outside, and a neighbor, Alessandro, 18 years old, ran up the stairs. He seized her and pulled her into a bedroom. She struggled and tried to call for help. “No, God does not wish it," she cried out. "It is a sin. You would go to hell for it.” Alessandro began striking at her blindly with a long dagger. </p><p>She was taken to a hospital. Her last hours were marked by the usual simple compassion of the good—concern about where her mother would sleep, forgiveness of her murderer (she had been in fear of him, but did not say anything lest she cause trouble to his family) and her devout welcoming of Viaticum, her last Holy Communion. She died about 24 hours after the attack. </p><p>Her murderer was sentenced to 30 years in prison. For a long time he was unrepentant and surly. One night he had a dream or vision of Maria, gathering flowers and offering them to him. His life changed. When he was released after 27 years, his first act was to go to beg the forgiveness of Maria’s mother. </p><p>Devotion to the young martyr grew, miracles were worked, and in less than half a century she was canonized. At her beatification in 1947, her mother (then 82), two sisters and a brother appeared with Pope Pius XII on the balcony of St. Peter’s. Three years later, at her canonization, a 66-year-old Alessandro Serenelli knelt among the quarter-million people and cried tears of joy.</p> American Catholic Blog Lord, may the medals we wear be constant reminders of the lives they depict. While wearing them, may we be blessed through the saints’ intercession and protected from harm. Help us to continue to spread the messages of Jesus and Mary and the saints and angels.

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