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.