There are all sorts of absurdities in every church, in every tradition. In Roman Catholicism, for example, one still finds the sale of indulgences. It wasn't just Tetzel five hundred years ago; in 2008 to 2009 Pope Benedict XVI issued indulgences again. In fact, it's interesting to note that he did so for the "Year of Saint Paul." The Vatican website reported the following:
The gift of indulgences which the Roman pontiff offers to the universal church truly smoothes the way to attaining a supreme degree of inner purification. Supplicants who do this will be granted the full indulgence from temporal punishments for his or her sins, once sacramental forgiveness and pardon for any shortcomings has been obtained. The Christian faithful may benefit from the plenary indulgence, both for themselves and for the deceased, as many times as they fulfill the required conditions, but without prejudice to the norm stipulating that the plenary indulgence may be attained only once a day.The statement then discusses the conditions that include: penance, Communion, making a pilgrimage to the papal Basilica of St. Paul, devoutly reciting the Our Father and the creed, adding pious invocations in honor of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and prayers for the supreme pontiff's intentions. According to the papal decree, if Roman Catholics do this, "in a spirit of total detachment from any inclination to sin, they may receive time off in purgatory up to a full plenary exoneration."
Michael Horton is the J. Gresham Machen professor of apologetics and systematic theology at Westminster Seminary California (Escondido, California), host of the White Horse Inn, national radio broadcast, and editor-in-chief of Modern Reformation magazine. He is author of many books, including The Gospel-Driven Life, Christless Christianity, People and Place, Putting Amazing Back Into Grace, The Christian Faith, and For Calvinism.
Issue: "Exit Interviews" March/April 2012 Vol. 21 No. 2 Page number(s): 14
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