Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Plenary Indulgence and Social Media

So, I have a question for any Catholic canon law specialists.  The blessing today (3/13/13) for the new pope, Francis I, included a plenary indulgence.  They explicitly stated that the plenary indulgence worked remotely through media (so if you watch the blessing on tv, hear it on the radio, watch it on the internet, it counts). 

I realize that remote blessings and indulgences have occurred on television before, but with recording technology and the re-posting of the blessing on the internet, might raise some issues.  

1.  Temporal issues.  The plenary indulgence is mediated through television, the internet, etc.  Is there a temporal limit to the blessing?  That is, does this mean whenever one watches the recording they receive a plenary indulgence?  If there is a temporal limit, what is it? 

2.  Problem of recording and repetition.  If there is no temporal limit, or at least a generous one, an additional question arises.  Since the blessing is now online and can be re-posted and re-watched, can one re-watch it and receive the indulgence again?  If not, why not?  If so, what would this mean for the future of penance?

3.  If I post the video of the indulgence on my blog, does my blog become a means of grace?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...


According to a Catholic, who commented on my blog, "It is quite quite difficult to receive indulgences…most of all the full plenary indulgence. It is given to you but you are supposed to subscribed to all the requirements and this means that you have to be in a special moment of perfect grace (innocence, obedience and in deep grief and understanding of all your sin ). The indulgences are a ‘game’ of endurance. It is like martial arts. More you practice them and are aligned with the meditative aspects of them and more you get closer to the goal of obtaining a full one…but it is not sooo easy at all."

it is obvious that this latest plenary indulgence is not of that sort at all. I am reminded of Pope Benedict's plenary indulgence in 2005:

VATICAN CITY, 5 JUL 2008 (VIS) – According to a decree made public today and signed by Cardinal James Francis Stafford and Bishop Gianfranco Girotti, O.F.M. Conv., respectively penitentiary major and regent of the Apostolic Penitentiary, Benedict XVI will grant the faithful Plenary Indulgence to faithful who “gather at Sydney, Australia, in the spirit of pilgrimage” to participate in celebrations for 23rd World Youth Day, and Partial Indulgence to “all those who, wherever they are, will pray for the spiritual goals of this meeting and for its happy outcome”.

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