10 January 2024

The Magisterium of Pio Nono ... three queries

In Mr Hodges' magnificent new version of the Guide To and History of the Church of our Lady of the Assumption and S Gregory in Warwick Street, there is a splendid text (do I rightly assume that it is a translation?) of a decree of Bl Pius IX, granting multiple indulgences, many plenary but some whopping great Partial Indulgences (Seven Years!) as well, to those performing certain exercises in that Church. 

At the end of the Decree, the Blessed Pontiff writes: "These Presents to be valid in perpetuity, notwithstanding whatsoever may be done to the contary."

Remember that I am only a poor ignorant convert, unlearned in Canon Law. Once again, I need help.

My questions: (1) What does 'valid in perpetuity?' mean ? 

(2)  What does 'notwithstanding whatsoever may be done to the contrary' mean? 

(3) How does this legislation marry up with the rules issued by S Paul VI?


Michael Gormally said...

Does it matter? Just say your prayers and try to do God's will.

fr. Thomas said...

"Par in parem potestatem non habet' is I believe the canonists' axiom here.

Arthur H. said...

Dear Father,

Time and Eternity, HOW do they relate to eachother in the Mind of God?
(did I get it?)

As with other subjects, such as the "historicity" of Our Lord, for the last century and more, certain theologians, etc, got all embarrassed by traditional Catholic teaching, "nun theology", etc, and went along sheepishly with so many "scientific" fads and trends.

So, what does God say about the time we must spend in Purgatory? How are we time-bound critters supposed to think about it? So, the 1960s faddists, if they believed in Purgatory at all, and gasp, indulgences, it was in a very general way.

We were definitely embarrassed by the idea that the Church could actually put a number of days a person were to get "off" from Purgatory by the accomplishment of a particular indulgenced prayer or act.

Now the valid teaching that indulgences are based on our conversion to the Will of God, to our purity of heart, has always formed the basis for indulgences, so the question remains, on this foundation, does the Church have the authority, and should it give a period of time for certain pious acts?

What is the history of this practice? (I don't know.) While Purgatory is pretty clearly in the Gospels and the letter of John, this practice doesn't seem to appear there, other than praying for the dead... God bless you, Father.

Thomas said...

@ Arthur H: My understanding is that the assigned period of indulgenced originally applied to canonical penalties that were applied to certain sins. So the indulgenced work mitigated the time spent doing penance (e.g. 1 month fasting). It then came to thought of in terms of an equivalent grace applied to however we may experience the endurance of spiritual purification in Purgatory. Others may correct me on that, of course.

As for perpetual indulgences granted by previous Pontiffs, I would think it safe to assume that they still apply, although time based ones might be thought of now under the catchall term 'partial'. Exactly how partial may only be known to God, although the relative merits of various graced actions may still be inferred from the older language. Again, I bow to more qualified commenters in these matters

The Ancient Professor said...

There is a guy on EWTN radio that describes the history of indulgences in a manner similar to Thomas but they were originally done without intervention from Rome. At some point Rome decided it should decide how many days of penance would be waived in exchange for various spiritual practices.
The elderly Monk whom I contacted to start attending Latin masses responded to this question of mine in the affirmative: “Can we think of indulgences as the Church’s measure of the value of spiritural practices. For example, the Church believes it is very valuable practice to pray for the dead on All Souls Day.