Don’t just pray for the dead — ‘indulge’ them

    Ricardo Saludo

    Ricardo Saludo

    Many Catholics know little about indulgences. There was some interest this Extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy when Pope Francis declared the opening of holy doors in cathedrals and other churches in all dioceses.

    Believers passing through the doors and saying designated prayers would obtain plenary indulgences removing temporal punishment for sins forgiven in confession. And those indulgences can also be offered for the souls in Purgatory, to reduce their period of suffering before going to heaven.

    At this point, many of us may lose interest. And that’s the state of our faith today.

    Anything about the next life or unseen spiritual matters don’t count as much, if at all, compared with the things we can see, hear, smell, taste, touch and count. Especially count, as in bank balances, cars in the garage, holidays a year, and holiday homes.

    So the counting, touching kind may wish to turn the page. But those of us who think that what really counts isn’t always what one can see, hear, smell, taste, touch, and calculate, read on. Especially if high on your list are the souls of your dearly departed.

    To be with God, we can’t be with sin
    So what’s this indulgence thing, and how does it help one’s deceased mother-in-law or any others among one’s beloved dead?

    Put simply, indulgences remove any imperfections in our souls imparted by sin. One priest explained it this way: Sins are like nails driven into the wood of our souls. God’s mercy and grace pulls out the nails in the Sacrament of Penance, but holes remain — the sinful wishes and weaknesses that again pull us to sin and away from God.

    Indulgences patch up those holes and bring our souls closer to the perfection of God.

    As for living, so for the dead. Many people, even devout ones, end their lives with imperfections and sins, which must be purged from their souls through temporal punishments in Purgatory. In this way, they are rid of their sinful aspects and made worthy of entering into the absolute perfection of God.

    By offering indulgences for the dead, the faithful help repair the flaws and damage inflicted by sin on the souls suffering in Purgatory.

    And only we and the holies in heaven can pray and offer indulgences for the deceased yet to enter heaven. They can’t do it for themselves.

    So these coming days of remembering our departed loved ones, let’s do something more than paying respects and offering prayers. With indulgences we directly lift the burdens of sin and punishment from those suffering souls. And if we offer them plenary indulgences, they go immediately to heaven, just like the good thief crucified with Christ.

    An indulgence a day …

    It’s not hard to earn indulgences, and one can even obtain several in a day. They can be partial, removing some punishment and damage wrought by sin, or plenary, wiping away all of it.

    One can earn any number of partial indulgences in a day, but only one plenary indulgence. Here’s how:

    First, one must ask for indulgences by praying to obtain them at the start of the day.

    Second, one must be in a state of grace with no mortal sin, a grave offense committed with full knowledge of its seriousness, and full consent to violate the law of God. Those of us who may have committed such transgressions, one must first confess them.

    Third, one does the act or acts of indulgence. Besides entering holy doors, other acts conferring plenary indulgences are adoring the Blessed Sacrament for half an hour or longer, praying the Holy Rosary in a group or before the Blessed Sacrament, doing the Stations of the Cross, saying certain prayers after communion facing a crucifix, visiting a parish church on its feast day, and studying the Bible for at least 30 minutes.

    For a list of indulgenced acts, go to < http://www.catholic.org/prayers/indulgw.php >. One can also get indulgence pamphlets from Santuario de San Jose Parish in Greenhills, or email inquiry@bahayngdiyos.org.

    For the dead in particular, visiting any cemetery confers indulgences for the souls in Purgatory, and if done November 1 to 8, it’s a plenary indulgence.

    Fourth, one goes to confession and receives communion within 20 days before or after the act of indulgence. Communion at Sunday mass and monthly confession are enough for all indulgences earned in a month, with one proviso: to earn a plenary indulgence one must receive communion especially for that.

    Fifth, one offers prayers for the Holy Father’s intentions, usually one Our Father and one Hail Mary or Glory Be for every indulgence earned.

    Lastly, for plenary indulgences, one must be completely detached from sin, despising every offense, even small ones, and exerting all effort to avoid it. Of course, even with such striving, one may still commit sin, but what’s crucial is the inner resolve not to sin.

    If the last condition is not fulfilled — and we may have some sinful ways and weaknesses we do not wish to let go of — then partial indulgences are still earned. And that is still of immense help to ourselves and our beloved dead.

    … keeps the devil away

    Now here’s the best part about indulgences: earning them actually advances the faithful toward holiness. This is in addition to the grace of repairing the damage done by sin.

    Receiving communion and going to confession, resolving to avoid sin, and perfoming the acts of indulgence all lead one to greater devotion to God and His will, which is what holiness is all about.

    Reciting the Rosary, the Way of the Cross, and other indulgenced prayers; reading the Bible, performing Temporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy, visiting churches and joining processions and other parish activities, and a host of other acts of indulgence all bring our souls close to God’s perfection.

    So be more holy and bring your departed loved ones to holiness through indulgences. Certainly a better way to spend the long weekend than hunting Pokemons.


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    1. In 2011 the Pope categorically stated that purgatory is not a place, but a process. Meaning, the person, alive, is suffering emotionally for his sins. So, how can a dead person feel sorry and be suffering for his sins? In 2007, the Pope clarified that there was no limbo.
      Let’s wait until Vatican announces that there is no purgatory, actually.
      Sorry Mr. Saludo, but you should have consulted the Bible. The Creator God’s prophets wrote His words down in a book called the Old Testament. The Christ’s apostles wrote the New Testament. Nowhere can you find purgatory in either. In his Noli, Rizal wrote extensively on indulgences. Get the Camilo Osias translation. Then you’d realize why the friars, not the Spanish govierno, were after his neck.

      • Under what circumstance can anyone “place” anything or anyone? Or does anything or anyone have a location without having physicality? Rhetorical questions like the above need no response, because the response is obvious. In contrast, heaven is already a “place”. Can you deduce why that is? This is not a rhetorical question. You need to think. For those who believe that Jesus rose from the dead and ascended into heaven, the resurrected body of Jesus turns heaven into a place. For Catholics, Mary was taken up into heaven; she is the second factor turning heaven into a place. As far as anyone can ascertain, there is no “body” in purgatory. And there will be no “body” in purgatory in the foreseeable future. After the general resurrection of all the dead, the last judgment will determine whether one’s body and soul will go to heaven or hell. Purgatory will have served its purpose. Purgatory is for cleansing purposes; at the end of time, it is hoped that everybody deserving cleansing will have been thoroughly cleaned to enter heaven — again, nothing unclean will enter heaven (Revelation 21:27).

    2. This is completely nonsensical and delusional. Its time to read evidence based literature. This religous nonsense is embarassing to humankind. One does not need faith (of any kind) to be moral. Educate yourself….

    3. To The Max and Jerome: Sunday Read is directed to the Choir. The already faithful delight in reminders to what they already believe. The writer himself said it, “At this point many of us may lose interest” in reading the reminder further. But you obviously did not lose interest, probably because one cannot lose what one does not have to start with; what you believe you have is the knowledge that you know the bible. Do you know that the original King James version of the bible contained all the books that are found in the Catholic bible? Do you know that the word for bible is “biblia” which means books (plural)? Do you know that among the books (biblia) rejected by the Protestants are 1 and 2 Maccabees? If you can find a bible with 1 and 2 Maccabees, look up 2 Maccabees 12: 43-46. For your info here is the passage: (Judas Maccabeus) took up a collection among all his soldiers, amounting to 2,000 silver drachmas, which he sent to Jerusalem to provide for an expiatory sacrifice (in the Temple, of course). In doing this he acted in a very excellent and noble way, inasmuch as he had the resurrection of the dead in view; for if he were not expecting the fallen to rise again, it would have been useless and foolish to pray for them in death. But if he did this with a view to the splendid reward that awaits those who had gone to rest in godliness, it was a holy and pious thought. Thus he made atonement for the dead that they might be freed from this sin.
      Revelation 21:27 Nothing unclean can enter heaven…
      1 John 5:17 (Aramaic Bible in Plain English) For every evil (evil doing) is sin, and there is sin that is not mortal.
      1 Peter 3:19 (King James Version) By which also he (Jesus) went and preached unto the spirits in prison.
      Where people who are convicts do the time we call prison. Where souls who are unclean do the time we call a place of cleansing or in Latin “Purgatory”; “purge” is a common enough word for our understanding. Can you find “Trinity” in the bible? Jehovah’s Witnesses, Seventh Day Adventists, and their Filipino clones, the INC, do not believe in the Trinity, because it is not in the bible.

      For every evil-doing is sin…and if the sin is mortal, what happens? (Revelation 20:14) One is thrown into the lake of fire which is second death.

      • Sorry, I do not believe the book of Maccabees. We must discuss which we both believe.For all have sinned and fall short to the glory of God. That is why we need a Saviour, Jesus, that our sins may be forgiven because we cannot save ourselves.

      • You said nothing about the quotes from Revelation 21:27, 1 John 5:17, 1 Peter 3:19. You do not believe in these? I took your word for it when you wrote that you know the bible. Well, one quote does not suffice. Paul’s letter to the Romans is such a long letter. One quote hardly covers Paul’s power-full assertions. Paul is a disciple of Gamaliel; he is “full” of scriptural knowledge. His writings do not cover all he had to say. In his second letter to the Thessalonians, chapter 2 verse 15: “Therefore, brothers, stand firm. Hold fast to the traditions you received from us, either by word or by letter….” When you hand over any tradition, picture yourself. There are aspects of the tradition that cannot be written but must be shown by actions so that the practices can be followed. Right? Exactly. Certain actions need to be demonstrated, for example. If there had been smartphones in those days, you can only imagine the volume of videos Paul would have recorded for posterity! Go to Mass and see for yourself the actions and prayers accompanying the actions. See for yourself. Discussions such as what we are trying to do pale in comparison to observation of what actually goes on….

    4. If this was true, then i would live my life as sinful as i want, and before i die i would just pay someone to pray for my soul to be purged….. That is not how it works, we will all be judged on how we lived our lives. No prayer will work for those who have passed away. Read the bible… Please..

      • From Catholic answers

        Myth 1: A person can buy his way out of hell with indulgences.

        This charge is without foundation. Since indulgences remit only temporal penalties, they cannot remit the eternal penalty of hell. Once a person is in hell, no amount of indulgences will ever change that fact. The only way to avoid hell is by appealing to God’s eternal mercy while still alive. After death, one’s eternal fate is set (Heb. 9:27).

      • JEROME, the Lord knew your heart and mind, that kind of mentality directly condemned by God as arrogant.

    5. The columnist has very little knowledge of the Bible. First of all , there is no Purgatory. Pope Benedict clearly announce that there is no purgatory. Even the Bible, there is no mention of Purgatory. The Bible clearly says ” After death is Judgment . “. Jesus died for the forgiveness of sin. By His death, there is a restoration of Mankind relationship with God the Father.Salvation is offered to ll os us. We just have to accept .

      • TO THE MAX, you don’t even know what is a Bible, do you really know the Bible without the Church??

      • To Jose Samilin, do you mean that there must be a church to have a Bible, or a Bible before the church ? Because the Bible contains a words of God. And the word became flesh , that dwelt among us. A church is a congregation of the believers. The church cannot save , it is thru Jesus that we are save.We do not need the church to be save. Whatever you call this place, either Limbo or Purgatory, it is a place that people erroneously think that some of our sins maybe forgiven by indulgence. So if I am very rich, I can pay for my salvation. Is that what you are saying ? We are save by our faith thru the grace of God unless anybody can boast. Taken directly from the words of God.

      • Thanks TO THE MAX for your reply. not much about Saludo’s on Indulgence but to catch your attention for friendly dialogue in the future, because the truth is, /i am just short of idolizing many of your postings. as to me you are very vigorous writer. I highly appreciate you of your talent.

        As to your reply, though I respect your opinion about Saludo’s article and what perceived Saludo knowledge of the Bible and relevant history of Christianity that begun from the first Century to present. I could say or figure it out from many of his religious writings, Mr. Saludo posses mastery of the Bible, he must be a Theologian and a religious seminarian, comparable to a long-time Catholic clergy and can not be considered a heretic because in all his writings I had read, were all in perfect harmony and with Catholic teaching. It is just like I am saying Saludo’s writings bears invisible Church’s Imprimatur/Nihil Obstat. There are many things I wish to share you regarding your views on this matter but I wish we could do it in a friendly dialogue in an email, I am cordially inviting you, for us to continue to discuss, not anything like to convert you, but more of learning from you of your great talent for growth and strengthening our faith in God. My email: josesamilin181@yahoo.com

      • James 5:14-16 “Is there anyone sick among you? He should ask for the presbyters of the Church. They in turn are to pray over him anointing him with oil in the Name of the Lord. This prayer uttered in faith will reclaim the one who is ill, and the Lord will restore him to health. If he has committed any sins, forgiveness will be his.”

        Acts 9:3-5 “As he (Saul) traveled along and was approaching Damascus, a light from the sky suddenly flashed about him. He fell to the ground and at the same time heard a voice saying, ‘Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?’ ‘Who are you, sir?’ he asked. The voice answered, ‘I am Jesus, the one you are persecuting…’

        Saul is the same one who took the name, Paul, after his conversion. Yes, the same Paul who wrote the letter to the Romans you love to quote. He received authority from the Sanhedrin to persecute the followers of Jesus. He discovered the reality of the followers of Jesus being the mystical body of Jesus Himself: the Church is the Body of Christ!

        In the passage from James 5:14-16, it is the Church in action through the presbyter administering the sacrament of the anointing of the sick. The passage does not include how the presbyter administers the anointing nor does the passage include the prayers that go with the anointing. So the bible without the Church? Cannot have one without the other. The “individualistic” stance you are taking is against the sense expressed in the bible. That individualism made the reformers band together to proclaim, “Only the bible!” Really?