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Essays, Sketches and Illustrations of bygone Sussex

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acts of devotion of the faithful. An indulgence is not, as is too often said by the opponents of the Roman Church, either a remission of sin or a permission to sin, nor is it of avail without the repentance and amendment of the sinner.# But
* The teaching of the Roman Communion on the subject of "indul­gences" is set forth in the following passages, chiefly from the Prompta Bibliotheca of F. Lucius Ferraris (Venice, 1772):—1. " By an Indulgence, moral fault is not remitted, but only the temporal penalty (poena) still remaining to be paid in this life or in purgatory. 2. Whenever in the form or grant of an Indulgence remission of sins is said to be granted by it, we understand by 'sin' the penalty of sin, in accordance with II. Machabees xii., 46. The whole passage reads:—(43) 'And making a gathering, he (Judas the Machabee) sent 12,000 drachmas of silver to Jerusalem for sacrifice to be offered for the sins of the dead, thinking well and religiously concerning the resurrection. (44) For if he had not hoped that they that were slain should rise again, it would have seemed super­fluous and vain to pray for the dead. (45) And because he considered that they who had fallen asleep with godliness had great grace laid up for them. (46) It is therefore a holy and wholesome thought to pray for the dead that they may be loosed from sins.' 3. As to Indulgences ' from penalty and fault' (a poena et culpa), ' Benedict XIV. pronounces these to be apocryphal, even if only venial sins were meant : De Synodo, lib. 13, Cap. 18, No. 7.' 4. The Indulgence called "A Quarantine means of Forty Days, that is to say a remission of as much punishment (poena) as would have been remitted for the penance (poenitentia) of 40 Days formerly fixed by the Church for certain sins, in the Penitential Canons." And so of other Indulgences for fixed periods. Ferraris says: "We are not to understand that so many days or years are remitted of punishment in Purgatory, or that a stay of that much time in Purgatory is abated—(for indeed it is not likely that Purgatory will be in existence for the 200,000 or 300,000 years for which an Indulgence is sometimes granted),—but by such an Indulgence is meant that so much punishment is remitted by it as would be remitted in virtue of the penance appointed by the Penitential Rules (canons) in the Canon Law, if such penance were performed in this world for the number of days or years mentioned." So in the '' Catholic Directory " for 1893 we read:—"In the early ages of the Church, 'canonical penances' as they were called were inflicted for sin ; and an Indulgence of forty days, for example, represents a remission of as much of the temporal punishment as would have been remitted by means of forty days of such canonical penance; but how much that is, or would have been, is not known to us." 5. As to Indulgences of 100 years, 1,000, 100,000, etc.,
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