Indulgences. Why not? Oh… yeah…

I was going to wait until Wednesday to blag it up. Really, I was going to wait longer than that. However. I couldn’t let this by without saying a few words. Paul Vitello wrote an interesting article for the New York Times today. The article, titled “For Catholics, a Door to Absolution Is Reopened” left an unsatisying taste in my mouth. The article is well written. I’m mostly outraged at the Catholic Church. Their unmitigated power in the regulation of sins and the fortunes of man after death is one thing. Having people ask, and recieve what is essentially a get out of jail free card, is just ridiculous. I’m so angry, I can barely think of a good photo to put here

Archangel Pennybags.

The Archangel Pennybags!

Oh. There’s one.

The pope might have seen how this ended historically in other bad economic times, when many turn to faith to subside them. See: 1215-1392.

A Bishop DiMarzio, of Brooklyn said there is sin in the world, and that is why we need such things. However, I am struggling to recall how we are more in sin now, than several years ago. Perhaps the internet could tell me. Hold on while I look for sin on the internet….


Either way, this is a ridiculous concept. It teaches people to buy their forgiveness at the dear price of their ability to do good, to walk a much less indifferent path. I supposed I’m just upset. Such indulgences are being offered, as Vitello states: “This year’s offer has been energetically promoted in places like Washington, Pittsburgh, Portland, Ore., and Tulsa, Okla.” I guess those are the hot spots for sinnin’. Selling them is techincally forbidden. However, maybe a little bit of a greased palm helps the prayers come out smooth? Who knows, I could start a diocese in Las Vegas and retire at 30.

People shouldn’t need incentives to do good. If you are a true Catholic you shouldn’t need incentives to go to church (natural guilt should put you there) and other than that. I don’t know why we jacked up some super-confession to restrict the forgiveness everyone receieves. However, I’m likely to be excommunicated for asking.


2 responses to “Indulgences. Why not? Oh… yeah…

  1. Martin Luther would be so proud of you. I have some nails if you need to post a piece of paper on a door somewhere.

  2. Looking on the apologetic side, it is a good idea in the sense that it gives people a sense of hope that they are not damned. Also, I suspect that Benedict is trying to get people back into the church (and, cynical as it is of me to think, the church coffers).
    However, reading the fine print, it does not absolve you from anything, really, except a Catholic construct that doesn’t kick in until after death. True repentance has always been required in confession, which is intended to help you deal with and rise above human frailty while alive; the point of it is to be mindful of your faults in order to try to never do those things again, not to get that ‘get out of jail free’ card regarding sin so you just don’t feel bad anymore. I suspect the concept of Purgatory was invented (sorry – discovered) to begin with so that people couldn’t feel they could just waltz into heaven if they confessed soon enough before death. It is supposed to cultivate a mindfulness of your everyday actions, as well as a sense of reverence for the dead, since those Hail Marys were meant for something aside from meditation purposes.
    I notice that Benedict works hard to sever the biggest argument against them – the exchange of absolution for money/worldly wealth – by requiring that only charitable contributions, in addition to actual acts by the person, are acceptable (though he might still prefer the charities be Catholic ones, like Maryknoll…)
    Anyway, I’ll stop here, since I tend to get gleefully carried away with discussing weird Catholic quirks.

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