In the teaching of the Roman Catholic Church, an indulgence is "a way to reduce the amount of punishment one has to undergo for sins". It may reduce the "temporal punishment for sin" after death, in the state or process of purification called Purgatory. Wikipedia
Catholics can gain special indulgences for the faithful departed during the first eight days of November.
1. A plenary indulgence, applicable only to the souls in purgatory, is granted to the faithful who,
1. on any and each day from November 1 to 8, devoutly visit a cemetery and pray, if only mentally, for the departed;
2. on All Souls’ Day (or, according to the judgment of the ordinary, on the Sunday preceding or following it, or on the solemnity of All Saints), devoutly visit a church or an oratory and recite an Our Father and the Creed.
Catholics can also gain a partial indulgence throughout the rest of the year:
2. A partial indulgence, applicable only to the souls in purgatory, is granted to the faithful who
1. devoutly visit a cemetery and at least mentally pray for the dead;
2. devoutly recite lauds or vespers from the Office of the Dead or the prayer Eternal rest
The “Eternal rest” prayer, or “Requiem aeternam” is:
“Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them. May they rest in peace.”
The conditions for gaining the indulgence are:
- Do the work while in the state of grace
- Make a sacramental confession within 20 days
- Receive Communion
- Pray for the Pope’s intentions
- Have no attachment to sin, even venial sin (this can involve resolving to love God and reject sin). Catholic Herald
This whole teaching is premised on the false teaching that there does exist a purgatory.
The Catholic doctrine of purgatory supposes the fact that some die with smaller faults for which there was no true repentance, and also the fact that the temporal penalty due to sin is at times not wholly paid in this life.
In Roman Catholic doctrine purgatory is a place or state of suffering inhabited by the souls of sinners who are expiating their sins before going to heaven.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church defines purgatory as a “purification, so as to achieve the holiness necessary to enter the joy of heaven,” which is experienced by those “who die in God’s grace and friendship, but still imperfectly purified” (CCC 1030). It notes that “this final purification of the elect . . . is entirely different from the punishment of the damned” (CCC 1031). Source
So what’s the problem with this theory? Well, the problem is that this doctrine is not rooted in Scripture. And on top of that, it invites sinners to assume the blood of Jesus and the cross of Christ are not enough to make a believer completely holy in God’s sight. Man needs “more” purification, or so goes the misguided line of reasoning.
In reality, every believer is already completely holy in God’s sight as a result of the Savior’s sacrifice on the cross 2000 years ago. This complete cleansing flows from the miracle of the cross. (1 Peter 2:24,25) Thankfully, every Christian is already “seated with Christ in the heavenly realms.” (Eph. 2:6) The complete purification of a sinner’s soul occurs the moment the new birth takes place (John 3:6,7) in a person’s heart through faith in Christ. (John 1:12; John 3:16)
“We have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.” (Hebrews 10:10)
This astounding declaration is not man’s opinion. It is God’s Word on the matter, period.
Now either the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross has the power to make a believer completely holy in God’s sight, or it doesn’t. And if it does, then who do you suppose would be interested in trying to water down the biblical doctrine of justification through faith? (Gal. 2:16) Does that sound like something God would do, or is the doctrine of purgatory more in line with doctrines the devil would likely spout?
Since Satan is “the father of lies,” (John 8:44) our invisible adversary tells unbelievers: “You’re good enough to get into heaven by your sincerity and your morality.” Meanwhile, he uses a different line of deception when accusing believers: “You’re not pure enough! You know you’re a terrible person. And you call yourself a Christian…ha…what a joke!”
The devil hopes to take our eyes off Jesus and the cross where our redemption was earned “once for all.” (Romans 6:10) If the prince of darkness can’t convince you to reject the cross, his minions work overtime trying to get you to “add to the cross.” Satan knows that when it comes to a person’s approach to salvation, “Jesus plus something equals nothing.” Adding to the cross is just as deadly as rejecting the cross, and no one knows this fact better than the devil himself.
Remember, Satan is an individual angel who has been manipulating a team of evil angels (demons) for thousands of years. And so he has had plenty of time to refine his craft. The devil doesn’t want you to know the truth, whether you are a believer or an unbeliever. Either way, Lucifer’s bag of tricks and seductive lies are lined up and always ready to be unleashed at a moment’s notice.
No wonder Scripture warns believers to beware of demonic doctrines.