Yes, the Catholic Church still promotes “plenary indulgences” and “partial indulgences.” These are special blessings that the authority of the Catholic Church, guided by the Holy Spirit, bestow upon its followers. These are not just any blessings, but a type of blessing that actually lessens or eliminates time in purgatory!
Okay, what if you’re not into purgatory or ranking blessings? Well, bare with me.
The Catholic Church ranks blessings according to their hardship and their intention. Sure it’s great if you prayed to God every night. That is a blessing. But imagine saying a prayer every night for 28 to 30 minutes, and doing that for some months….even for some years!! Isn’t that person gaining more spiritual benefit than the one who is just going to “say a quicky” before bedtime?
And there are blessings for those who decide to study the bible, or make a pilgrimage, or pray for those that have died, etc, etc. Prayer helps a person be in touch with The Divine. The type of prayer does matter because it’s like eating. Certain foods are needed to gain different types of vitamins. So as much as you may want to live off of pancakes and milk, a lack of vegetables will harm you down the line. This is the same with prayer. A person who sticks to only one type of prayer, like maybe a routine of reading the bible 15 minutes and then saying an “Our Father”, will miss out on the richness of other types of prayer, like community prayer and meditative prayer to name two other types.
So, check out this list, and try some of it yourself. Even if you’re not Catholic, you will gain something out of the experience of prayer, because God bestows blessings on all people who will try to communicate with The Holy One.
Plenary Indulgences (aka Prayer Practices) for Year of Faith:
(Catholic note: A Catholic earning indulgences also needs to be truly penitent, go to Confession in a timely manner, receive the Eucharist afterwards, and pray thinking about the Pope’s needs and intentions for the Catholic Church and the world, which this webpage is helpful.)
- Listen to 3 sermons or lectures about the documents of Vatican 2, or the Catechism of the Catholic Church.
- Do a pilgrimage to a cathedral, or to catacombs, holy sites and take part in a sacred celebration or say a specially thought out and designed prayer at that site in honor of the pilgrimage completed.
- Visit a baptism font, or the place where you were baptized and renew your baptismal promises.
Here’s the article I got this info from: Vatican Announces Plenary Indulgence for Year of Faith |Blogs | NCRegister.com.
- Plenary Indulgence for Year of Faith? What IS That? (patheos.com)