Putting A Price Tag on Sin?

Ok. I’m posting this video in hopes that a Roman Catholic some where can tell me if this is accurate of their faith. I tried posting it on Facebook but either none of my Roman Catholic friends noticed it, or just don’t want to answer (I’m thinking it was probably the former). I know that the Roman Catholic church used to sell indulgences, and this kind of seems similar to that practice. I tried googling to see if the Roman Catholic church still sells indulgences but the search returned a bunch of conflicting information. So. I’m just honestly curious. I’m not a Roman Catholic, obviously, and I’m still learning about their faith. Sooo … any input would be awesome! I promise I’m looking to be educated not start a debate. 🙂


34 thoughts on “Putting A Price Tag on Sin?

  1. the Church does NOT sell indulgences. the Church itself never did; bad priests corrupted by money and power did right before the reformation. you gain indulgences through prayer, pious practices. not by giving money to the Church.

  2. Valerie- Thanks for responding. So are you saying that what the priest is saying in this video clip is not accurate of Catholic beliefs? Also, does that mean this part of the Catholic Bible is incorrect? (I'm just curious. I have quite a few Catholic friends and I'm always interested in learning more about their faith 🙂 )

  3. well I'm not gonna lie, I find the video pretty obnoxious. he took two sentences out of context and then edited out the majority of the priest's response. the priest clearly had more to say, but the maker of the video just left in the poorly worded part of the response and then cut to the response he liked, to make himself look better.Catholics believe that God does not accept anyone or anything into heaven that is less than perfect, thus purgatory is where we are purged of everything that is imperfect, and we go to heaven when we are ready. (not the best explanation either, sorry.) i think the belief is that if a soul endures suffering on earth, that is less time in purgatory, and if they do a lot of great works on earth (charity, love, alms-giving), they are closer to perfection, thus, they have less time in purgatory.indulgences are granted for numbers of reasons. usually a lot of prayer is required, or a lot of service to others. the purpose is to become a better person. an actual check is NOT required. if the person had taken the time to actually read tobit for meaning, rather than to look good in a debate, he may have figured that out.when we sin, we go to confession and we are given a penance, to sort of make up for it. usually it is prayer, or if i confess being mean to a friend, the penance may be to apologize to the friend, pray for the friend, or do something nice for the friend. our sins are forgiven in confession, and the penance is to help us learn from it, and forward us as a person. confession removes the stain of sin, but the effects are still there. the indulgence takes away those effects, so to speak.i was told that if you hammer a nail into a fence, confession removes the nail. the indulgence fills the hole that the nail left.here's an article on indulgences. i didn't read the whole thing, but look under the heading "abuse." you'll see that charging money for indulgences was an abuse of the practice.http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/07783a.htm

  4. This reminds me of the Protestant "prosperity gospel." From my limited knowledge on Catholicism, I'd say that this video is a nice Catholic parallel to one of the biggest heresies in the non-Catholic world today. 😛

  5. I know an actual check isn't REQUIRED but I wanted to know if it was acceptable. Like, is it a choice? Let me see if this is right … if a Catholic doesn't do good works, then they have to go to purgatory before heaven? But the more good works they do the sooner they get into heaven after dying? Also, can Catholics not just ask God for forgiveness, only the priest can do that for them? I was told that this was the Priest's whole response to this particular question. But if you know of a video where I can see whatever part you say was edited out then I'd be happy to watch it (I know this is a pretty old video circa 98 I believe, so it's not as "smooth" or whatever as some of today's stuff) But, I know most Catholics find anything with James White in it hostile lol. So, I guess I understand that.And, again, I appreciate you taking time to reply! Really. I'm just somewhat recently learning about the Catholic faith so when I see things like this, I try to go to my Catholic friends because I figure they would know best 🙂 Unfortunately, the friend that answers the most of me Catholic questions is currently at a retreat so she couldn't answer this one yet. But, I'm glad someone else was able to shed some light on it. Sorry that I have so many questions! If you are tired of answering I understand lol. I'll check out the article you linked. Thanks!

  6. No, you can never EVER pay for an indulgence. That was never acceptable. That was considered an abuse of indulgences.I'm not super Catholic book smart, but as Christians, aren't we all called to do nice things for people? Love one another. That can be in many forms, so yeah, doing nice things for people makes you a better person. The goal is to be more like Jesus. In prayer, I can ask God for forgiveness, but Catholics have the sacrament of Reconciliation where they confess their sins out loud to the priest, and the priest gives the penance and God grants forgiveness through the priest.I have a feeling that this particular priest probably did not explain it very eloquently anyway. *shrug* lolThis man was very clearly anti-Catholic and biased. I'm fairly certain that the portion of Tobit that he quoted and twisted was basically just saying, "hey. go do nice things for people. it's what Jesus would do."

  7. No, I agree Christians are to love one another and be nice and all that jazz. I was just trying to see if I had the understanding of purgatory and doing good works thing right 🙂

  8. It's complicated, purgatory. And Catholicism in general! I don't know all of it. I think God only does. =P I recently came back to my faith full force, so I am constantly asking questions. I have a copy of Catholicism for Dummies that I am dying to read when I have time. Being a super awesome person cuts down on purgatory time, earthly suffering does, striving to be as good a person as possible, and gaining plenary indulgences. Also, in mass, we always pray for the souls in purgatory. People on earth can gain indulgences for people in purgatory as well. Prayer is the most powerful thing ever.Oh and I commented Bloop. Did you get it?

  9. Hollie I saw this link posted on your FB tonight and I followed it here. I hope you don't mind if I chime in. :)Taken as is, with no context of the debate, it was a bit confusing to discern the point of the priest shown (who I found out is Fr. Peter Stravinskas). I can see how with this brief clip one who knew little about the Catholic faith, the entirety of the debate, or even Fr. Stravinskas himself might come to the conclusion that he is affirming that the Catholic Church teaches that we can literally just "write a check" and all will be forgiven. I did a little digging and discovered that Fr. Stravinskas is a noted scholar, author, and apologist within the Catholic Church. He is widely known for being a staunch and energetic defender of the Catholic faith and loyal to the Magisterium. Knowing this alone puts a different light on things. I might have been inclined to agree with Christina's analogy on just a pure first judgment basis, however upon further investigation I don't believe that's the case here. :)As Valerie explained, the Catholic Church has never supported/taught the legitimacy of *selling* indulgences. Even much of what surrounded the "indulgence controversy" of Luther's time is purely legendary (see http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/14539a.htm, especially the last 4 or so paragraphs). Indulgences and Purgatory (interrelated issues), however, ARE a part of we consider infallible Church teaching — no Catholic is at liberty to ignore or disbelieve them. Since the Church has always remained consistent on these issues, and Fr. Stravinskas has a reputation of adhering to official Catholic teaching on all matters, I do give him the benefit of the doubt and believe what he said was in the spirit of truth — just not fleshed out enough in this particular clip. I suspect part of that was due to the ostentatious comment about "how much" from the audience member – it seems by Fr. Stravinska's posture and reaction that he knew he was dealing with someone more interested in point scoring by than in asking an honest question. :pWith respect to Purgatory, Fr. Stravinska used the colloquial expression of "pay now or pay later." Rather than insinuating that somehow we can flippantly "write a check" as atonement for sin, what I see him saying is that we are purged of our temporal attachments either in this life or later. Hence, pay now – be purified in this life through the sincere act of almsgiving for example – or pay later when we undergo the final purification in Purgatory.It also appears that the "pay now or pay later" phrase is actually likely a reference to the Catholic Catechism: "On the other hand every sin, even venial, entails an unhealthy attachment to creatures, which must be purified either here on earth, or after death in the state called Purgatory."I understand that from a Protestant perspective this is all rather strange and seemingly unbiblical. There are obviously many different issues here that need to be grappled with beyond the basic teaching of indulgences. There is the issue of Purgatory, the role of works within the Christian faith, the OT "Catholic books," etc. As a last note I might mention that the portion quoted from Tobit was correct and the valid interpretation. For further biblical references I would recommend Daniel 4:24, Luke 11:41, Acts 10:4, Matthew 25:31-46, I Peter 1:17, Revelation 20:12-13 – just to name a few. There are numerous similar passages to the one in Tobit found elsewhere in Tobit, Sirach, etc.

  10. Thank you for your input Erika! I don't mind you chiming in at all– I was actually hoping you would somehow find your way over here and comment 🙂 "I understand that from a Protestant perspective this is all rather strange and seemingly unbiblical." I'm really glad you said this because it is close to my exact thoughts! And, I don't mean that in a degrading or mean-spirited way. It was just my initial reaction. Since, I have a good number of Catholic friends and friends studying the Catholic faith I knew that someone could shed better light on this issue, that's why I posted it. I will read the scripture passages you referenced and the article and probably be back at some point to respond. Again, thank you for taking the time to respond! 🙂

  11. Valerie I thought you explained it all extremely well. 🙂 Hollie, I TOTALLY understand. Whatever way you look at it, there is no denying that Catholicism and Protestantism are very different creatures. Having been Protestant (and a self-professing anti-Catholic) for many years, I completely understand how you would view the aforementioned subjects. 🙂

  12. Erika -Thank you for all that! I read the links you provided and looked up the verses. Since, I don't want a debate I really don't have anything else to say 🙂 But I really appreciate you taking the time to share sources and explain for me. Valerie – thank you for your input as well! 🙂

  13. I wanted to add – it's very difficult and confusing to learn about Catholicism from the top down. I learned a lot more when I started from the basics and worked my way to the details. For example, it's difficult to understand the idea of indulgences without first understanding how the church is structured and governed. Otherwise, the details really do sound like semantics and legalism. Just my $.02.

  14. ^^ How can one begin to understand the polity of the RCC unless one first understands the soteriology of the RCC? You don't start with a discussion of "how the church is structured and governed" without asking even deeper questions regarding the nature of man, the issue of authority, sin, and the means of grace. For example, Rome doesn't recognize a distinction between the visible and invisible church.Ultimately, understanding the topic of indulgences has to do with the aforementioned issues, not the polity of the RCC. How a particular sect is governed can only go so far in explaining what they believe doctrinally and why they believe it. And regarding Erika's comments above, I don't think it's helpful at all to paint with a broad brush everyone who claims to be "Protestant." There are many groups who call themselves Protestant who do not exhibit biblical orthodoxy. For example, there's a wide breadth of difference in soteriology between your run-of-the-mill Evangelicals (who are much closer to Rome) than the Reformed churches.

  15. The deeper questions you mentioned are also imperative for better understanding. However, it one accepts the apostolic succession of the Catholic church and the authority with which it speaks, then it goes without question that he or she would also accept the church's soteriology.

  16. Christina – You're right, if someone accepts the authority of the church then of course they would accept whatever the church says hook line and sinker. I posted this entry because at the time I had no idea indulgences were still going on. The "pay now pay later" phrase really surprised me because we never pay for our sins … Jesus paid in full for us with his death upon the cross. I've talked with a few Roman Catholics they say they do believe Jesus died on the cross, but then I hear things like this. It gets confusing because it seems some Catholics don't either a.)Really know what the church actually believes or B.)aren't sure what they believe. The more I learn about the Roman Catholic church the less I can reconcile it with scripture. I'm not looking to church history to explain it but to the Holy word of God. 🙂

  17. Hollie, we are expected to accept church authority, and what it teaches, but we aren't mindless zombies. If I don't understand or agree with a teaching, I ask my spiritual director or a priest why, or find out on my own why it teaches that. I don't just swallow everything hook line and sinker without finding out why. I used to not consider myself "fully Catholic." But whenever I asked all of my questions, and learned, I fell in love. When you learn Church history, you see that it can and DOES lead back to the Word. Keep in mind that the Church was founded by a follower of Christ….

  18. @Christina – It ultimately boils down to this: either you have an infallible Bible or you have an infallible church. Since I know that you reject the former, I am curious about how you would articulate your view of the latter. One cannot straddle the fence on this. Either the church is subject to the Scriptures or vice-versa. Even when people attempt to place both tradition and Scripture on an even keel, tradition always wins out over and against Scripture. This is not just the case with Rome, but with other movements as well which teach a continual line of revelation outside of Scripture. Look at Pentecostalism and the broader "charismatic" movement, for example. Like Rome, they teach that there's a continuing pipeline of revelation–an extra-biblical source of divine teaching and authority. Here again, we see in many of these churches a proliferation of numerous heresies. Now I will stop short of saying that all charismatic churches are guilty of heresy, but their view of "spiritual gifts" certainly presents a breeding ground for heresy to grow.Similarly, when you have a continual succession of men who claim to A) have apostolic authority and B) to quite literally speak for God in their pronouncements, then it's only a matter of time before heresies begin to crop up. This is certainly true with Rome and the number of heresies within the RCC are legion, the above issue Hollie brought up being just one example. And it must be reiterated that these are no light issues or mere differences of opinion here. If your Roman Catholic position is correct, then we Protestants are eternally damned (as Trent clearly stated) because we do not believe Rome's pronouncements or belong to them in any way. On the other hand, however, consider the situation if the Reformation is correct. Not only are all of these popes engaged in the most vile heresies and blasphemies, but those who believe these false teachings are heaping up wrath upon themselves as well. Food for thought.@Valerie – Everything you said above about not following in line with everything in RCC teaching is a contradiction of the RCC's very foundation. If the Roman Church is not infallible, then who is? As a Roman Catholic, you reject the sufficiency of Scripture. That's a given. However, you say above that you selectively reject certain teachings and don't take everything "hook, line, and sinker" regarding what your priest may say. What or who, therefore, is the authority? What is the ultimate standard for faith and practice? I'm confused by your response above.And I agree with you that church history ultimately leads back to the Word of God. My church is just now finishing up a year-long church history class and indeed God's providential dealings with His church ultimately points back to His word. However, the church was not founded by a follower of Christ, but by Christ Himself, and He *alone* is the head thereof.

  19. @Valerie – I wasn't saying church history doesn't lead back to the Word of God. I was saying that all things in life should ultimately be held against scripture, and not history. The Bible is God speaking to us, it trumps anything fallible man can say.

  20. I didn't say that I reject certain teachings, Josh. I said that you Hollie made it sound like we take everything "hook line and sinker" without even thinking.Yes, we are required to accept all teachings, but we can do our own research as well to find out WHY. Questioning your faith can make it stronger.Catholics don't believe Protestants are eternally damned, by the way. The Apostles' Creed (which is not unique to Catholicism) says "we believe in one baptism for the forgiveness of sins."Catholics do NOT believe that salvation is exclusive to Catholics.Josh, if you believe that Catholics are so evil and Rome is so scary, how do you even speak with such authority on the Catholic Church? Have you even ever spoken to a priest?

  21. Uh, actually the Roman Catholic church does teach that Protestants are damned to hell if they don't become Roman Catholics. The sixth session of the Council of Trent, Canon 9 particularly, makes this crystal clear: "If anyone says that the sinner is justified by faith alone,[114] meaning that nothing else is required to cooperate in order to obtain the grace of justification, and that it is not in any way necessary that he be prepared and disposed by the action of his own will, let him be anathema." And, I got this word for word from aRoman Catholic site.

  22. @Valerie – I do indeed question my own faith. I do my best, with the help of God's grace, to live my life coram Deo. I didn't grow up in the Reformed faith and I came to these conclusions after much thinking, contemplating, and prayer. I'm taught to do the same in my seminary classes.As for your other questions, I do indeed know a lot about Roman Catholicism. I study Rome's views in my classes, talk to my Roman Catholic friends, and I even have a dear friend of mine who is in the process of being a priest. I don't claim to be an expert by any means, but one doesn't need to be in order to quote Rome by their own words as Hollie has done above. The Council of Trent has declared people like me to be anathema. That's absolutely clear. And you will start to see that view become more mainstream again within the RCC over time, just as the Latin Mass and other pre-Vatican II practices are coming back. The near-universalism of John Paul II seems to be on the way out. And I prefer to see this. I want Roman Catholics to act like Roman Catholics. We shouldn't be blurring the lines of distinction.

  23. from the Catechism of the Catholic Church: ANYONE CAN BE SAVED:1257 The Lord himself affirms that Baptism is necessary for salvation.60 He also commands his disciples to proclaim the Gospel to all nations and to baptize them.61 Baptism is necessary for salvation for those to whom the Gospel has been proclaimed and who have had the possibility of asking for this sacrament.62 The Church does not know of any means other than Baptism that assures entry into eternal beatitude; this is why she takes care not to neglect the mission she has received from the Lord to see that all who can be baptized are "reborn of water and the Spirit." God has bound salvation to the sacrament of Baptism, but he himself is not bound by his sacraments. 1258 The Church has always held the firm conviction that those who suffer death for the sake of the faith without having received Baptism are baptized by their death for and with Christ. This Baptism of blood, like the desire for Baptism, brings about the fruits of Baptism without being a sacrament. 1259 For catechumens who die before their Baptism, their explicit desire to receive it, together with repentance for their sins, and charity, assures them the salvation that they were not able to receive through the sacrament. 1260 "Since Christ died for all, and since all men are in fact called to one and the same destiny, which is divine, we must hold that the Holy Spirit offers to all the possibility of being made partakers, in a way known to God, of the Paschal mystery."63 Every man who is ignorant of the Gospel of Christ and of his Church, but seeks the truth and does the will of God in accordance with his understanding of it, can be saved. It may be supposed that such persons would have desired Baptism explicitly if they had known its necessity. 1261 As regards children who have died without Baptism, the Church can only entrust them to the mercy of God, as she does in her funeral rites for them. Indeed, the great mercy of God who desires that all men should be saved, and Jesus' tenderness toward children which caused him to say: "Let the children come to me, do not hinder them,"64 allow us to hope that there is a way of salvation for children who have died without Baptism. All the more urgent is the Church's call not to prevent little children coming to Christ through the gift of holy Baptism.

  24. That excerpt seems quite in line with James' words:What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. But someone will say, “You have faith and I have works.” Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. (James 2:14-18 ESV)Unlike most people who misuse this verse, I understand it to mean that works are NOT necessary for salvation but are rather evidence of salvation. Many of today's Protestants thrive on the idea of faith without works because hey, why live with the consequences of our sin if we can just declare our "faith alone?" Thankfully, the Catholics are smarter than I once gave them credit for – this issue is clarified in other sources. According to the "Dogmatic Constitution on the Church – Lumen Gentium" (1964):"The Catholic Church professes that it is the one, holy catholic and apostolic Church of Christ; this it does not and could not deny. But in its Constitution the Church now solemnly acknowledges that the Holy Ghost is truly active in the churches and communities separated from itself. To these other Christian Churches the Catholic Church is bound in many ways: through reverence for God's word in the Scriptures; through the fact of baptism; through other sacraments which they recognize."The non-Christian may not be blamed for his ignorance of Christ and his Church; salvation is open to him also, if he seeks God sincerely and if he follows the commands of his conscience, for through this means the Holy Ghost acts upon all men; this divine action is not confined within the limited boundaries of the visible Church." While I'm unsure whether I agree with this stance or not, it is an alternative source to the one you posted Hollie. Here are several more:http://www.religioustolerance.org/rcc_salv.htmOver and out! I've got sharks to watch.

  25. @ Christina – Neither Josh nor I would claim that works are not part of the Christian life. We are affirming that works are NOT the means to salvation. @Valerie – So, how do Catholics choose which proclamations from the church to believe? If the Catechism says anyone can be saved, then Council of Trent clearly contradicts. This is why it gets confusing. This is why I appeal to the Bible and that alone. Roman Catholics believe in a different salvation plan than protestants … among many other beliefs. We cannot both be right, because we believe different things.

  26. I feel like a dummy! Ya'll are using words and phrases I have no clue about. I would love to start reading up on the church history. Any starting points? Sites preferably.

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