What Does It Mean to Sell
Why Would a
Person Need Grace, or an Indulgence,
For A Sin Already Forgiven ?
What Does It Mean to Sell
In order to understand the Protestant accusation that the
"Catholic Church sold indulgences" we need to examine their conclusions. Protestants do not
believe that indulgences confer grace. But they know Catholics claim
that they do. Therefore, the Protestant accusation implies that the
Catholic Church claimed to be able to sell grace.
Now, imagine an evil person who manipulates others in order to gain
wealth. And let us assume he is arrogant, self-righteous, and that he
has a certain disdain toward God. Let us suppose that he tries to
exchange a small portion of his wealth, and all the while remain
unrepentant of his sins, in order to purchase grace. Now, if grace could
be bought then we would have to conclude that such a person could buy
grace. Money alone can purchase what is sold for money. If this
were the case then God would allow Himself to be manipulated by money.
Contrary to the Protestant claim, the Catholic Church never taught that
it was possible to buy or sell grace. All grace has God as its source.
And God is not going to allow Himself to be manipulated by money.
Nowhere do we find an “infallible statement” by the Catholic Church
saying grace, or indulgences, can be bought with purely monetary means
and without regard to a person heart or mind toward God. Not only do we
Not find this taught in an “infallible” ex-cathedra statement, this was
never taught in even the ordinary or “fallible” means in Catholic Church
Historical examples of Catholic Church teaching on indulgences
throughout the ages.
Why Would a Person Need Grace, or an
Indulgence, For A Sin Already Forgiven ?
There is a double consequence to sin. Mortal sin (1 John 5:16-17)
deprives us of communion with God and therefore makes us incapable of
eternal life with Him. But, there is second consequence. Even venial sin
entails an unhealthy attachment to worldly things. There is a certain
punishment we bring upon ourselves when we sin because we have caused
damage to the world God has created and we have damaged our soul as
well. Even though we may have received God’s forgiveness we must still
by the help of God’s grace restore the disorder we have caused.
Even though King David was forgiven of his sin, he still had to endure a
punishment he had brought upon himself.
2 Samuel 12:13-14
“Then David said to Nathan, “I have sinned against the LORD.” Nathan
answered David: “The LORD on his part has forgiven your sin: you shall
not die. But since you have utterly spurned the LORD by this deed, the
child born to you must surely die.”
Cf. Numbers 14:20-23
“Then the Lord said, “I have pardoned, according to your word; but
truly, as I live …none of the men who have seen my glory … shall see the
land which I swore to give to their fathers ...”
If a man through malicious anger breaks his neighbor’s window he must
seek forgiveness. Having received that the sinner is still obligated to
pay for a new window.
Imagine an elderly lady with a cane of about 88 years old walking in
front of you down the sidewalk in front of your house. And imagine a
rude neighbor brushing past her and not hurting her, but accidently
knocking her to the ground. What would you do ? Naturally, you would
help the poor lady back to her feet again. You would want to make right
what was wrongly taken from her. Every sin hurts our self and it hurts
others. By the help of God’s grace we can be purified of the attachments
we have to those sins and make right the damaged we have caused. Either
we will be purified and make restitution in this life or in the life
here after in the state called Purgatory (assuming we are on the road to
heaven.) Everyone in Purgatory is grateful to God for the chance to make
amends and to help restore and make right, by the help of His grace, the
chaos they caused in the world.
A spiritually healthy person would want to correct
the spiritual disorder in the world. And all the more would he want the
privilege and the honor and the grace to be able to correct the
spiritual disorder of his own soul. Purgatory
is what makes this possible if we fail to do it here on Earth
A Proof That
The Catholic Church Did Not Sell
Indulgences : Important Distinctions