In medieval times, the Church used to sell 'indulgences' for money. This amounted to paying for some number of days' remission from purgatory, and the Church literally (and with breathtaking presumption) issued signed certificates specifying the number of days off that had been purchased. . . . And of all its money-making rip-offs, the selling of indulgences must surely rank among the greatest con tricks in history. . . .
Here is what I am not going to do: I am not going to go to a restaurant, take pictures of my food, download them, and call that a blog. That is beyond the pale. The Internet is such a bazaar of self-indulgences that I don't know why that particular one should bug me so much. But it really does.
Manifest in this trade (commercial sale of indulgences via bankers) at the same time was a pernicious tendency in the Roman Catholic system, for the trade in indulgences was not an excess or an abuse but the direct consequence of the nomistic degradation of the gospel. That the Reformation started with Luther's protest against this traffic in indulgences proves its religious origin and evangelical character. At issue here was nothing less than the essential character of the gospel, the core of Christianity, the nature of true piety. And Luther was the man who, guided by experience in the life of his own soul, again made people understand the original and true meaning of the gospel of Christ. Like the 'righteousness of God, ' so the term 'penitence' had been for him one of the most bitter words of Holy Scripture. But when from Romans 1:17 he learned to know a 'righteousness by faith, ' he also learned 'the true manner of penitence.' He then understood that the repentance demanded in Matthew 4:17 had nothing to do with the works of satisfaction required in the Roman institution of confession, but consisted in 'a change of mind in true interior contrition' and with all its benefits was itself a fruit of grace. In the first seven of his ninety-five theses and further in his sermon on 'Indulgences and Grace' (February 1518), the sermon on 'Penitence' (March 1518), and the sermon on the 'Sacrament of Penance' (1519), he set forth this meaning of repentance or conversion and developed the glorious thought that the most important part of penitence consists not in private confession (which cannot be found in Scripture) nor in satisfaction (for God forgives sins freely) but in true sorrow over sin, in a solemn resolve to bear the cross of Christ, in a new life, and in the word of absolution, that is, the word of the grace of God in Christ. The penitent arrives at forgiveness of sins, not by making amends (satisfaction) and priestly absolution, but by trusting the word of God, by believing in God's grace. It is not the sacrament but faith that justifies. In that way Luther came to again put sin and grace in the center of the Christian doctrine of salvation. The forgiveness of sins, that is, justification, does not depend on repentance, which always remains incomplete, but rests in God's promise and becomes ours by faith alone.
Toleration is not the opposite of intoleration, but it is the counterfeit of it. Both are despotisms. The one assumes to itself the right of withholding liberty of conscience, and the other of granting it. The one is the pope, armed with fire and fagot, and the other is the pope selling or granting indulgences.
A Christian anarchist has no business belonging to such a reactionary organization [the Catholic Church]. I do not believe in original sin, indulgences, the infallibility of the pope, or obedience to any church official if it is against my conscience. I am not interested in earning "merit" or in being saved by priestly incantation.
It should be said that my parents had married for love. The affection and devotion they had shared was the rarest of indulgences, perhaps especially in those days. For them, it had been love at first sight, and so my mother's death shattered my father. That it only dimmed his light rather than snuffed it out altogether was a miracle in and of itself. ~The Peacemakers ~(The Nemesis Engines)
Olivier A. Blanchard
Then might ye seeCowls, hoods, and habits with their wearers tostAnd flutter'd into rags; then reliques, beads,Indulgences, dispenses, pardons, bulls,The sport of winds; all these upwhirl'd aloftFly to the rearward of the world far offInto a limbo large and broad, since calledThe paradise of fools.
The Roman Catholic Church is an institution for whose gains the phrase "ill-gotten" might have been specially invented. And of all its money-making rip-offs, the selling of indulgences must surely rank among the greatest con tricks in history, the medieval equivalent of the Nigerian Internet scam but far more successful.
We notice that the mind is a restless bird; the more it gets the more it wants, and still remains unsatisfied. The more we indulge our passions the more unbridled they become. Our ancestors, therefore, set a limit to our indulgences. They saw that happiness was largely a mental condition. A man is not necessarily happy because he is rich, or unhappy because he is poor.... Millions will always remain poor.
Life is tough and it's tough whether you're famous or not famous. And in the end it's probably better to be famous because the perks are better. You get better seats at the basketball game, and you get better tables and reservations places. If I call a doctor on Saturday morning I can get him. There's a lot of things, indulgences that you don't get, if you're not famous. Now I'm not saying it's fair. But I can't say that I don't enjoy it.
... so large a portion of those who hold much capital, instead of using their various advantages for the greatest good of those around them, employ the chief of them for mere selfish indulgences; thus inflicting as much mischief on themselves, as results to others from their culpable neglect. A great portion of the rich seem to be acting on the principle, that the more God bestows on them, the less are they under obligation to practise any self-denial, in fulfilling his benevolent plan of raising our race to intelligence and holiness.
We smoked fat cigars by the campfire and they tasted like wood and ash. The inhale and exhale was exciting. Blowing smoke rings in the calm forest air was followed by a deep swallow of cheap beer, and this too was exciting. There was no judgment in the wild, and so indulgences were plentiful. There were no regulators here and we were free to indulge in the deep intoxications that made our minds free.
Daniel J. Rice
In short, I will preach it [the Word], teach it, write it, but I will constrain no man by force, for faith must come freely without compulsion. Take myself as an example. I opposed indulgences and all the papists, but never with force. I simply taught, preached, and wrote God's Word; otherwise I did nothing. And while I slept, or drank Wittenberg beer with my friends Philip and Amsdorf, the Word so greatly weakened the papacy that no prince or emperor ever inflicted such losses upon it. I did nothing; the Word did everything.
I believe I'm very normal. I'm hyper-normal. I'm more normal than anyone else I know. I think my thoughts, my indulgences, my desires, my pleasures may at first appear different, but that is only because they are more normal, not because they are more esoteric. I believe I am bored when other people are bored, only faster. I am interested when others are interested, only more interested. But I also think I'm less, rather than more, intelligent than other people. By indulging my interests through my life, and perhaps because of rather than despite many failures, I have been able to design my life.
Richard Saul Wurman
The deviation of man from the state in which he was originally placed by nature seems to have proved to him a prolific source of diseases. From the love of splendour, from the indulgences of luxury, and from his fondness for amusement he has familiarised himself with a great number of animals, which may not originally have been intended for his associates. The wolf, disarmed of ferocity, is now pillowed in the lady's lap. The cat, the little tiger of our island, whose natural home is the forest, is equally domesticated and caressed. The cow, the hog, the sheep, and the horse, are all, for a variety of purposes, brought under his care and dominion.
The woman movement is one which is uniting by co-operating influences, all the antagonisms that are warring on the family state. Spiritualism, free love, free divorce, the vicious indulgences consequent on unregulated civilization, the worldliness which tempts men and women to avoid large families, often by sinful methods, thus making the ignorant masses the chief supply of the future ruling majorities; and most powerful of all, the feeble constitution and poor health of women, causing them to dread maternity as--what it is fast becoming--an accumulation of mental and bodily tortures.