History of Europe
Middle Ages

What is a pardon for sins in Medieval Europe?

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Answered 2011-09-13 14:17:17
Indulgencesits what many people point to as the paragon of corruption. the church said that if you paid a certain amount of money, then the clergy man could issue you a pardon, which would erase the stain of your sins from your soul. basically the money lined the pockets of the priests and took money frm the poor--so people didnt like it. (Martin Luther protested them)

Roman Catholic answer: There were never any pardons for any sins in exchange for money. A pardon for sin comes from God and is given to men in the sacrament of Confession or Penance. An indulgence is a remission of the temporal punishment due to sin and is only given for a sin that has already been absolved (forgiven in Confession). The temporal punishment is, like, if you were playing Baseball and you threw the ball and broke your neighbor's window. You go over, ring the door bell, confess what you have done, and ask pardon. Your neighbor (if they are nice!) forgives you. That would be confession and absolution. Now, you are all forgiven, guess what? The window is still broken, and in justice, you should pay to have it repaired, cause you are the one who broke it. You have already been forgiven, but justice demands that you make reparation. Similarly, any time you sin, you damage the Body of Christ (the Church: all the faithful) and justice demands that you make reparation. Jesus Christ in dying on the cross, and the prayers and actions of the saints in heaven, particularly Mary are more than sufficient to make up for all the damage we have done. The method in which those merits are applied to you is termed an indulgence. To gain an indulgence one must be in a state of grace, have gone to confession, and received Holy Communion. Then one must do the specific act for which an indulgence is to be granted. At one time, that act included a gift of money for a specific religious purpose, such as building a cathedral. The gift was abused, and people thought that all they had to do was pay the money for the indulgence. Please note: this never, ever had anything to do we being forgiven for sin. Because of the abuse, it was discontinued.

Paying money for a sacrament, or any holy, or blessed thing is the sin of simony.

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