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HISTORY of Christian Theology

A Roman Catholic doctrine and practice that eliminates or reduces an individual’s time in purgatory based on a formal pronouncement by the church that is obtained by performing some extra-ordinary action such as participating in a crusade, going on a designated pilgrimage, or paying for a written indulgence. In Luther’s day, a person could purchase an indulgence for oneself or others whether they were living or dead. In theory, an indulgence only applies to the satisfaction portion of the sacrament of penance so sinners still need to confess, feel true contrition, and receive the pronouncement of absolution from the priest in order to obtain forgiveness of sin, but in practice during the middle ages many persons viewed the purchase of an indulgence as the purchase of forgiveness of sin.

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