Thursday, March 14, 2013

Pope Francis and a Plenary Indulgence

To all those of goodwill, the new Pope, Francis, offered a "plenary indulgence" along with his first Papal Blessing.  "What in the world is that?" you may be asking.  Or maybe not.  But simply by watching, you already received one, or so the church teaches:  You received the Powerful Blessing. Of a Humble and Holy Man.  (The whole idea of an indulgence actually turns on whether or not you believe in Purgatory, a concept which has no basis, to my mind, in scripture - thereby making this statement heretical and worthy of this blog!)  

For a fun consideration of indulgences, you can read my blog on that topic from several years back.  The original blog was posted at TPM and when they closed their reader blogs, I selected about a third of them and posted the blogs - along with comments.  Some of the comments are priceless, so if you have the time, read the blog here.  Otherwise, right here where it's heretical nature belongs.

Of course, heresy is in the eye of the beholder...


DrDyson said...

1 Corinthians 3:10-15 is the scriptural basis for the doctrine of purgatory.

TheraP said...

Thanks! I read the verses. And what I see is an apocalyptic metaphor. Which, I can understand, some may "read" as perhaps "a real place" but most likely it is more of a warning, a warning that folks should "build" carefully on the foundation that is Christ. And actually, I think that is more akin to another Old Testament warning: "Unless God builds the house, in vain do the builders labor." In the book of Solomon this comes along with a prophecy that the "house" would eventually be built by a "son of David" - which we Christians view as Jesus, of course.

I do appreciate your taking time to provide that link. And here's mine, a meditation on letting God build the house:

Peace be with you.

TheraP said...

Further thanks, DrDyson. I spent a pleasant few hours perusing various translations and commentaries. And, since to my knowledge only the RCC asserts any claims to the existence of Purgatory, here are two quotes from unimpeachable RCC sources:

#1. From the New American Bible, Revised Edition (2008): "The text of 1 Cor 3:15 has sometimes been used to support the notion of purgatory, though it does not envision this." (see note to verse 15)

#2. From The New Jerome Biblical Commentary (1990): "There is no reference to purgatory." (note to verse 15, followed by many citations)

For me, it's settled. But thanks for an interesting sleuthing search.

For the record, the Orthodox Study Bible does not even mention purgatory, pretty strong evidence that early Fathers of the Church did not consider Paul's metaphor of "fire" in verse 15 to be suggestive of any "place" such as purgatory.

Case Closed.