Between lessons on the Sacrament of Penance and the Holy Eucharist, the Baltimore Catechism No. 2 inserts a discussion of indulgences, one of the most misunderstood of all Catholic practices.
An indulgence is a remission of the temporal punishment due to sin, not of the sin itself. Temporal punishment means that which we endure, either in this life or in Purgatory, for having committed sin. When our sins are forgiven, the punishment remains until satisfaction has been made.
The questions are numbered consecutively with Lesson Twentieth. For more information and links to other resources, click on each question below.
A. An Indulgence is the remission in whole or in part of the temporal punishment due to sin.
A. An Indulgence is not a pardon of sin, nor a license to commit sin, and one who is in a state of mortal sin cannot gain an Indulgence.
A. There are two kinds of Indulgences—Plenary and Partial.
A. A Plenary Indulgence is the full remission of the temporal punishment due to sin.
A. A Partial Indulgence is the remission of a part of the temporal punishment due to sin.
A. The Church by means of Indulgences remits the temporal punishment due to sin by applying to us the merits of Jesus Christ, and the superabundant satisfactions of the Blessed Virgin Mary and of the saints; which merits and satisfactions are its spiritual treasury.
A. To gain an Indulgence we must be in the state of grace and perform the works enjoined.