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Indulgences Not A ‘Magical Formula,’ Canon Lawyer Explains

CC Thomas Hawk

Carl Bunderson - published on 07/22/13

Those usual conditions are that the individual be in the state of grace by the completion of the acts, have complete detachment from sin, and pray for the Pope’s intentions. The person must also sacramentally confess their sins and receive Communion, up to about twenty days before or after the indulgenced act.

These additional requirements show that, “like everything else in Catholicism,” indulgences “are something we participate in, but it’s not something that we merit.” Christ’s graces obtained through indulgences come through “a particular commitment to prayer, pilgrimage, sacrifice,” Flynn explained.

He added that the authority for granting indulgences comes from the “teaching, sanctifying and governing authority of the Church” which “comes definitely from Christ,” who appointed St. Peter “to be his vicar on earth, to act in his place in order to lead people to him.”

In granting indulgences, he said, the Church “acts in accord with her vocation to lead souls to Christ.”

“We know that our Lord gave the keys of the kingdom to Saint Peter, and here the successor of St. Peter is inviting us to prayer and communion with Christ in a special way.”

“Thank God for Twitter,” Flynn emphasized.

“Thank God for Facebook, thank God for the digital continent, because here’s an  opportunity where they allow us to be in communion with the Church around the world, even when we can’t be physically present.”

Originally published by Catholic News Agency on July 18th, 2013.

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