ANNOUNCES INDULGENCES DURING PAULINE YEAR
Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio has announced that parishioners in the Diocese of Brooklyn can receive plenary indulgences for participation in events connected with the 2008-2009 jubilee year of St. Paul the Apostle proclaimed by Pope Benedict XVI in May.
The Pauline year began June 28 and will close June 29 next year to mark the approximately 2,000 anniversary of the saint’s birth.
In a decree, dated July 23, Bishop DiMarzio designated the places where the faithful may benefit from the plenary indulgence if they take part with devotion in a liturgy or other public exercise in honor of the saint during the Pauline year.
On any day during the jubilee, indulgences can be gained at St. James Cathedral Basilica; St. Paul’s Church, Court St.; SS. Peter and Paul Church, South Third St.; St. Paul’s Church, Corona; SS. Peter and Paul Spirituality Center at two locations: Immaculate Conception Center, Douglaston, and 118 Congress St., Brooklyn; and Bishop Molloy Retreat House, Jamaica.
The indulgence can also be obtained within the territory of the Diocese on Dec. 8, 2008, the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception; Jan. 25, 2009, the Feast of the Conversion of St. Paul, and June 29 next year, the Solemnity of SS. Peter and Paul and the solemn closing of the jubilee commemoration.
Other days when the faithful can gain the indulgence are the patron feast day of each parish in Brooklyn and Queens.
The decree lists the usual conditions for receiving the plenary indulgence: sacramental Confession, reception of Holy Communion, prayer for the intentions of the Holy Father and “complete detachment from any inclination to sin.”
A plenary, or full, indulgence is a remission of the temporal punishment a person is due for sins, even though those sins have been forgiven. An individual can obtain more than one plenary indulgence during the jubilee year, but not more than one per day.
The decree also states that the indulgence is available to a person who travels in pilgrimage to the Papal Basilica of St. Paul on the Ostian Way in Rome.
You can find out more about this diocese here. Many people have difficulty understanding how indulgences work or what they are for. So, one has sins and sin must have a penalty. After sins are forgiven (thereby saving one from hell), one still must work off the penalty for the sin. This penalty is worked off in something called penance. If someone has not worked off penance before dying (but has sins forgiven), they work it off in a place called Purgatory. After working off the penance in Purgatory, they proceed to heaven. And indulgence, however, is a remission of penance, but usually is limited--it only remits so much penance. A plenary indulgence, however, remits ALL a person's penance. The first plenary indulgence, if I recall correctly, was granted for soldiers who died in one of the Crusades...I think the first one, but may be wrong.
Most famously, the issue of the SALE of plenary indulgences (in order to fund the building of the current version of St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican) is what set in motion a series of events, particularly angering an Augustinian monk in Wittenberg, who could find no real precedent for this new practice of selling plenary indulgences and subsequently slowly began to chip away at the authority of the pope and the Church hierarchy. You know the monk: Martin Luther.
Not long after, in the Council of Trent the Church also stopped the practice of the sale of plenary indulgences. Although, for the faithful, plenary indulgences clearly still exist, and in Brooklyn, New York to boot! So, if you are Catholic, and live in Brooklyn, you have quite an opportunity to have all of your unworked-off penance to be remitted.