In A Man for All Seasons, More's character commments that England is planted thick with laws. I do not know whether the real Sir Thomas made such an observation, but, before the post-Conciliar disorders, the Western Church was certainly thickly planted with indulgences (remissions of the canonical penalties still due to sins which have already been absolved in the Confessional). Except for those still published in the Encheiridion, these have all been abolished ... 'partial indulgences' do survive but without an indication of how long a period of canonical remission is being granted.
Indulgences made the Christian life varied and interesting. For example: in 1747, that enlightened pontiff Benedict XIV created the Duke of York (from 1788 de jure Henry IX King of England Scotland France and Ireland) Cardinal Deacon of S Mary in Portico. His Royal and Eminent Highness endowed his titular Church with regular prayers for the Conversion of England.
Subsequent popes favoured this devotion: from December 9-11 1868, Leo XIII pesided over a Solemn Triduum, to which the Faithful ... including three cardnals ... were enticed with indulgences.
The Forty Hours Devotion involved a Plenary Indulgence once a day; partial indulgences of fifteen years were granted for each Visit. Benedict XV granted indulgences to those frequenting the Chair of Unity Octave. Cardinal Griffin granted Three Hundred Days to those reciting the Aniphon, Vand R and Collects, for the Canonisation of Forty of th Blessed Martyrs of England and Wales.
Particular orders could entice their members with indulgences: Dominican tertiaries gained 500 days for the Prayer O Spem miram.
And medieval diocesan bishops could and did grant indulgences ... in England, even after the Tudor Schism. These often related to financial contributions to public works such as roads and bridges. I wonder if the grants are still valid!
As Church-Crawlers will probably have noticed, sometimes, in older and unvandalised Catholic Churches, you will see an Altar with the words above it ALTARE PRIVILEGIATUM. This was an altar at which a Plenary Indulgence could be secured for a soul in purgatory by the application of a Mass celebrated upon it. Perhaps the pastoral rationale was that the faithful felt they were doing their very best for their departed member.
And who dares say that they were wrong?
S Paul VI, of course, typical Lombard, put the stoppers upon such merciful generosity!
[Here's a merry research project for readers. Vide Waugh; Officers and Gentlemen; Book 1; section 5 ... what exactly is Mr Goodall up to toties quoties on All Souls' Day?]
I had better make clear that all the previously available indulgences were ruthlessly snuffed out after the Council, and, accordingly are no longer available!