Putting the Soul
back in Psychology!
The most important condition buried with the 1898 Raccolta
Sacred Congregation of Indulgences and Holy Relics (1903)
When I suddenly (by Divine Providence) came across this older English version of the Raccolta that was scanned onto the internet, I was not searching for the Raccolta at all. I, like the overwhelming majority of good Catholics, had never heard of the Raccolta. As I read its pages, I was shocked at what I saw that contradicted what I had been taught and failed to be taught from leadership, both clergy and laity, about plenary indulgences.
"8. But the most important condition for gaining a plenary indulgence is to have a true hatred for all sins, even though venial, and to be wholly free from any attachment to them. This condition is absolutely necessary for gaining a plenary indulgence in all its fullness; for in common with other theologians, St. Aphonsus teaches (Moral Theol., Bk. VI., Vol. IV., Ch. I., Art. II.), "it is certain that, so long as the guilt of venial sin is not remitted, the punishment due to it cannot be remitted." So that whilst the soul bears the guilt of a single little venial sin, or even any actual attachment to such sin, it cannot obtain FULLY a plenary indulgence; for a plenary indulgence in all its extension is nothing more nor less than the complete remission of the temporal punishment due to sin, the guilt of which had been already remitted. Hence the great importance for those who desire to gain a plenary indulgence of stirring up in their hearts a sincere sorrow for each and every venial sin."
The photo for this article, and its quote above, is a direct screen shot of the 1903 printing of the 8th rule/norm for one's ability to gain any plenary indulgence through the Roman Catholic Church, from the book "Raccolta"; "Collection of Prayers and Good Works to Which the Sovereign Pontiffs Have Attached Holy Indulgences", translated from the 3rd edition original Italian into English, originally published by Pope Leo XIII in 1898.
This quote of the 8th "most important condition", which makes 3 distinct requirements in order to gain a plenary indulgence, and the quote supporting it from Doctor of the Church St. Alphonsus de Ligouri, was in major ways selectively left out of both former and future English translations beginning at least in England with her 1857 translation from the supposedly same Italian, with permission by the then Holy Father Pope Pius IX, February 3, 1856, to Ambrose St. John, Priest of the Oratory of St. Philip Neri, in the Diocese of Birmingham (a scanned copy of which I have and the rule/norm in question pasted below), BEFORE this 3rd Italian edition translation into English authorized and approved by the "Sacred Congregation of Holy Indulgences" of the Catholic Church published by His Holiness, Pope Leo XIII in 1898, was printed in the US in 1903.
It would seem that "the devil's in the details" depending on the translator and which Pope is in charge, as England's Ambrose St. John's first original 1857 translation of the Raccolta from the Italian, is even vastly worse than its later 1910 edition when His Holiness, St. Pius X was Pope. England's first English translation in 1857, with permission from Pope Pius IX, only states,
The differences between the two English translations from 1898 and 1857 is grotesque. Instead of explaining that the most important conditions to obtain any and all plenary indulgences is 1) hatred for all sin even venial and 2) be wholly free from any attachment to them and 3) the required remission (repentance and forgiveness) of any and all guilt of any and all venial sins even little (which of course includes mortal sin), plus some attempt at an explanation as to why and what these mean, England's version ONLY states, "detest those said venial sins, and moreover lay aside every affection to all such sins in general, as well as to each in particular"...while using completely different vocabulary which changes the meaning, making these two versions of what the rules/norms are, vastly different, with England's version erroneously making it look like plenary indulgences are fairly easy to gain.
"Laying aside every affection for" and "be wholly free from any attachment to them" are quite different in kind and degree, and can be interpreted quite differently. It is one thing to "lay aside" an "affection" for something. It is quite another thing to be completely free from having any attachment to something.
And it gets even more interesting.
What is even more telling, is that this seemly dissident translation of the Italian Raccolta into the English by England, is even pre-rationalized and pre-defended by the translator himself directly in the book, by publishing his "good intentions" as to why he wrote it his way rather than obeying the duty he knew and stated that he had; a direct authentic word for word translation. Which, if anyone knows psychology, pre-rationalizing and pre-defending are manipulations to justify disobedience and other sins.
From the vast differences in English translations, and all the warnings published within the 1898 translation of the Raccolta, it can be easily surmised that Pope Leo XIII new about the disobedience of this first English translation from England, for not only did he generally state such in the most careful of terms, he tried to put some checks and balances into place to not only discredit the previous 1857 version, but also prevent any type of bad translation from occurring again, by adding into the Raccolta the following decrees,
Next, Pope Leo XIII calls out the previous erroneous English version of the Raccolta from England when it is written,
But as sinful humans would have it, the slippery slope of rationalizations and dissidence continued; for by the time we arrived at 1968, under His Holiness Pope Paul the XI, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) approved English version of the Raccolta renamed the, "Enchiridion of Indulgences" issued on 29 June 1968, only wrote and published the following text for the explanation of the rule/norm #8 for plenary indulgences, (with their 1999 version written similarly be it with slightly more explanation for only the three basic conditions, but not the "most important" rule/norm #8),
This continued historical watering down of the Raccolta rules/norms for plenary indulgences, would explain why by the time we have arrived to 2023, Catholics, leadership and laity alike, in at least both the US and Mexico, where I have extensive experience, are never told about this rule/norm #8 at all from the overwhelming majority of Bishops and priest, "have a true hatred for all sins, even though venial, and to be wholly free from any attachment to them...for in common with other theologians, St. Aphonsus teaches (Moral Theol., Bk. VI., Vol. IV., Ch. I., Art. II.), "it is certain that, so long as the guilt of venial sin is not remitted, the punishment due to it cannot be remitted."...So that whilst the soul bears the guilt of a single little venial sin, or even any actual attachment to such sin, it cannot obtain FULLY a plenary indulgence...Hence the great importance for those who desire to gain a plenary indulgence of stirring up in their hearts a sincere sorrow for each and every venial sin".
And on top of it we are directly told and believe the lie that, "it is easy to gain a plenary indulgence", thereby few if any faithful clergy and laity are concerned about Purgatory.
Unfortunately, with today's pervasive misuse and misunderstanding of emotional terminology (thanks to the many lies from modern psychology and psychiatry), it needs to be clearly recognized that the statement about guilt does not mean "the feeling" of guilt. For we can be guilty of any sin without feeling any guilt, as happens frequently with all human beings especially regarding venial sins, and which can happen from both having an attachment to the sin and lacking in the knowledge of how to recognize all sins and/or lacking in self-awareness of any particular sin of oneself.
Furthermore, it is impossible to be wholly free from any attachment to all venial sins when we don't know how to recognize all venial sins, and/or we are not self-aware of all of our own. This psychological fact would be why the original Raccolta's rule/norm #8 ends with the statement, "Hence the great importance for those who desire to gain a plenary indulgence of stirring up in their hearts a sincere sorrow for each and every venial sin". For it is logically impossible to have "a sincere sorrow for each and every venial sin" without first knowing how to recognize all venial sin (both within the intellectual interior and physical exterior) AND be self-aware of all of one's venial sins. All of which take an actively long slow effortful time to learn, which is why it typically takes our entire lives to cooperate with God to make us a saint.
Being truly sorry for all the sins we are self-aware of, and being forgiven by God for all of them plus all the venial sins we are not aware of, and thereby the guilt of all our venial sins being remitted, does not by itself mean that we actually hate all venial sin and don't have an attachment in any way or degree to any. How so?
We sin always because we want/desire to sin in this or that particular way, which is a direct attachment to all of our sins of both commission and omission. We always want/desire the sin that we either commit or omit because we believe lies and rationalize about the exterior and/or interior act either not being a sin and/or being a good for us or another, while we pridefully think we are right and fail to check and discern it with God directly. These alone are a failure to hate all venial sin and fail to be wholly free from any attachment to them.
Most of us have never been sorry for specifically wanting/desiring sin, especially any of our particular venial sins that we commit or sins of omission. Most of us forget that sins of omission even exists. Until we learn and live repentance of wanting/desiring any and every one of our particular habitual sins (venial or mortal), we cannot be wholly free from all attachment to them. And this failure to repent of wanting/desiring a particular sin, happens to be the biggest reason we struggle to not choose to commit the sin. This is also true for any and all addictions/vices/bad coping, etc. Meaning, any habitual sin that we are still committing no matter how many times we confess it, means we want the sin and have not fully repented of wanting it, nor have we made an active practice plan to stop doing it or start doing the virtue as the case may be. If this is in any way willful ignorance, apathy, and/or laziness, with or without scapegoating God for not helping us enough, it will be sins on top of sins that the individual is still attached to.
We human beings (who are not physically mentally retarded) are very attached to the prideful sins of rationalizing and selective memory, which we are frequently lacking in self-awareness of doing, otherwise at least some of us would not be choosing to do them. Rationalizing that a sin is not a sin; i.e. a particular internal or external behavior is not sin, rather than taking our opinions to Jesus Christ in proper discernment to learn what the Truth is, is both a sin of commission and omission. And failing to seek the help of Jesus and actively try to be self-aware of and remember what we choose to want/desire, expect, believe, think, feel, say, and externally do and don't do, long enough to do a thorough examination of them with the Holy Spirit and repent of those that are sinful, is an obvious sign of failure to hate all venial sin and fail to be wholly free from any attachment to them...because working on repentance of them is not a daily priority.
For another example, we who are not constantly actively trying to live as though God is always with us and/or failing to try to always remain focused on His presence with us, and/or failing to want to accept instantly and absolutely every discomfort, disrespect, and not getting our way, as the Loving Will of God, are all a sign of failure to hate all venial sin and be wholly free from any attachment to them. For anyone can lie to themselves believing and saying that they hate all venial sin and are wholly free from any attachment to them, but believing, thinking, feeling, or saying something doesn't make it true. The evidence of the Truth is what one does or fails to do daily directly related to God and sin.
Most of the time we are unknowingly making many of our momentary decisions based in some form of prideful selfish felt or unfelt fear of "discomfort", fear of not getting our way, or fear of loss, while believing (aka rationalizing) all of it as a "good" and a "need", while completely lacking in self-awareness when we choose this. The psychological emotion of fear is a lack in charity as Scripture states, and the distrust in God's Love in some way and thereby distrust in and unacceptance of His Will, are all venial sins that we are all attached to in some way until we are much much closer to being ready for the canonization papers from the Vatican.
Other examples of those of us who are failing to hate all venial sin and failing to be wholly free from any attachment to them, are those who fail to always stay completely sober, those who want and seek to be entertained as a means to an end or an end in itself, those who entertain themselves with or allow/give to someone under their care as entertainment anything that does not lead them to focus on God but rather distracts them while they are entertained, anyone from the age of 7 who feels impatient or irritated when they are hungry or women "pmsing" especially if blaming it on the physical, and those wanting to primarily use material means (including entertainment) to feel good and avoid feeling bad rather than primarily going to God daily for this.
Not wanting to know all of our venial sins for any reason is a sin, which is caused by other sins such as but not limited to, believing the lie and therefore being afraid that to recognize more of our venial sins (interior and exterior) will make us suffer more in feeling worse about ourselves, which are the sins of pride, selfishness, fear, vanity, and idolatry-of-self (among others), the sin of failing to base our value and worth only in God's Love (rather than productivity, human opinion, possessions, etc.), while failing to believe in/accept God's Love for us as an imperfect sinner solely because we exist as created in His Image and Likeness, and failing to love and accept ourselves as an imperfect sinner, all of which are sins of perfectionism.
Perfectionism is a general psychobabble term for a compilation of a long list of sins, which modern psychology and psychiatry won't be teaching you, as they hypocritically believe there is no such thing as sin (bad behavior, being mean, being unethical, etc.). This however is only one of "The Top 12" biggest lies of modern psychology and psychiatry. https://www.theologyofthesoul.org/blog-portal-2-answers/the-top-12 Another three of the top 12 biggest lies about psychological human nature that the majority of people, including Catholic clergy and laity, believe thereby failing to want to recognize and stop many particular venial sins, and therefore fail to be wholly free from any attachment to them are,
1) All psychological emotions and feelings, just like biological and sensory ones, are neutral. Rather than the Truth that all psychological emotions and feelings are all morally qualifiable; making them either virtuous or sinful.
2) Exterior facts and my brain chemistry primarily cause my psychological emotions and feelings. Rather than the Truth that I with my free will and intellect of my Soul make myself have all of my psychological emotions and feelings.
3) The human intellect is the brain just as in brute animals, which means we have no immaterial intellect and free will of our immaterial Soul, but only a brain and instincts. Rather than the Truth that our human intellect (mind) and free will are powers of our immaterial Soul, which does NOT use any corporal organ. This IS Catholic Church teaching as stated by Dr. St. Thomas Aquinas in his Summa.
These three lies that the overwhelming majority of Catholic clergy and laity believe, if they were true, would mean that we cannot have any voluntary attachment to what is sinful and leads to another lie that there is no sin (aka no moral qualifiability) in emotions, feelings, thoughts, beliefs, expectations, wants/desires, likes, dislikes, or attractions,...which leads to the biggest pervasive moral theological lie among almost all of the clergy and laity of the Catholic Church..."Sins are only what you do exteriorly."; aka, tendencies, wants/desires, expectations, beliefs, psychological emotions and feelings, homosexual attraction, addictions, psychological disorders, et. al are not sins.
With this being the status quo false perspective for humanity, including the pervasive attachment to sinfully blame ones' psychological emotions and feelings on the brain and/or everything exterior, at this point in time in 2023, anyone gaining a plenary indulgence is slim. And as such, humanity in general has no idea how to even recognize when an emotion or feeling is a sin, while at least half of humanity isn't even self-aware when they have an emotion.
[Just a few examples of sinfully wanting to sinfully blame sinful emotions and feelings, "I'm so stressed because of my job.", "He hurt my feelings.", "I feel offended because they are talking bad about the Church.", "I get depressed when it rains.", "That driver made me angry.", "My kids are driving me insane.", "You're getting on my nerves.", "I felt worried last night because my son didn't come home.", "My parents not giving me enough love as a child made me feel unloved and insecure.", "Being bullied made me feel suicidal."...and the list goes on and on and on.]
To learn the full Truth on this subject of the real causes of all psychological emotions and feelings read,
Bottom Line: If we don't know how to recognize all of our own venial sins, and/or don't recognize all of them, we cannot hate them all and be wholly free from any attachment to them all, because we want the sins that we do in some way, and we cannot work on stopping them until we recognize them for the sins that they are. And we will be gravely mistaken if we think that we know how to recognize the manifestations of all our venial sins both interiorly and exteriorly with ourselves, while we fail to try to actively work daily with God on recognizing all of our daily venial sins. Oh yes, this is possible to do daily no matter what other responsibilities you may have; it's about priorities of thought.
Even if we work all day every day with Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit to become knowledgeable of all venial sin, and self-aware of all of our own as a daily priority, we will still be lacking, because this is a major part of the slow, long, effortful process of becoming a saint. And any time we think even for a moment that we are almost to sainthood, that is a sure sign that we are much farther away than we think.
It can be pridefully difficult for many of us to accept a Truth after we have been taught and believed a lie on the subject our entire lives, especially if we either didn't figure out the Truth first ourselves, heard the Truth from someone we make ourselves in competition with, or we rightfully don't trust the messenger but fail to take the information to Jesus in proper discernment. Therefore, it is helpful to ask the Holy Spirit and these three great Doctors of the Church, Ligouri, Aquinas, and Augustine, for aid in recognizing and accepting the Truth about plenary indulgences and what is sin.
It also may be very disappointing for many, who before reading this information thought they had accrued many plenary indulgences while finding out now that it is more likely they were only receiving partial indulgences. I understand. As such, As such, some might have the desire to try to use other Truths to negate the Truth that plenary indulgences are difficult to gain.
Objection 1) What if what is written in the Raccolta doesn't mean all venial sins, but only the venial sins we are self-aware of, because there are many venial sins we subconsciously commit?
I answer that: The modern psychology term "subconscious" is nothing more than when we are not in the act of consciously thinking about anything that is of our immaterial intellect and the Soul's memory such as our already freely chosen established: thoughts/opinions, beliefs, expectations, wants/desires, likes, dislikes, and attractions. There is no such thing as a subconscious location in our brain.
Now, regarding the so called "subconscious venial sins", this is either our failure to actively work with Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit daily on self-awareness and proper discernment, our ignorance of how to recognize all the Truth about ourselves, and/or our poor memory in remembering what we choose and fail to choose both interiorly and exteriorly.
The "Hence the great importance for those who desire to gain a plenary indulgence of stirring up in their hearts a sincere sorrow for each and every venial sin" stated under rule/norm #8, absolutely requires self-awareness of each and every venial sin, which is impossible if one's venial sins remain "subconscious"; aka unrecognized.
The norms/rules from The Sacred Congregation of Holy Indulgences of the Catholic Church and His Holiness, Pope Leo XIII on gaining a plenary indulgence is very clear when they write,
"But the most important condition for gaining a plenary indulgence is to have a true hatred for all sins, even though venial, and to be wholly free from any attachment to them. This condition is absolutely necessary for gaining a plenary indulgence in all its fullness"..."Hence the great importance for those who desire to gain a plenary indulgence of stirring up in their hearts a sincere sorrow for each and every venial sin."
We human beings from at least 7 years old who are not physically mentally retarded are attached to our sinful tendency to rationalize and justify ourselves into believing something about ourselves that is not true. Therefore, if you really want to have a true hatred for all sin and be wholly free from any and all attachment to all sin, including venial, the best way to be sure of achieving this would be to pray daily in some form,
"Jesus I'm sorry I want to sin, I want to rationalize my sin, I like particular sins, and I am attached to sin, please heal me, fill me with Your Graces, Virtues, Love, and Truth to replace these, show me Your Truth about these, give me Your Grace to truly hate all sin, hate rationalizing my sins, and be wholly free from any and all attachment to sin, and make me self-aware of all of my sins, both venial and otherwise, including when I rationalize. Thank You Jesus for Your Healing, Truth, and Love."
This objection alone from an extremely intelligent, highly educated, obedient, and devout Catholic, is sufficient proof as to why it was and is a grave error for any and all the other English versions of the norms/rules for indulgences to leave out the complete important explanations of norm/rule #8 for plenary indulgences of the 1898 English translation from Pope Leo XIII directly translated from the 3rd edition original Italian.
Objection 2) But it is wrong to be scrupulous; we need to avoid scrupulosity.
I answer that: Absolutely, and one Truth does not negate another Truth. Needing to not be scrupulous, does not negate the fact that we human beings in general are attached to many of our venial sins in some way and therefore we do not have a true hatred for all sin, both of which are a failure in the strict requirements from God through His Catholic Church to receive a plenary indulgence, of which this article covers.
Objection 3) Not everything is a sin.
I answer that: Absolutely, and one Truth does not negate another Truth. Everything not being a sin, does not negate the fact that we human beings in general are attached to many of our venial sins in some way and therefore we do not have a true hatred for all sin, both of which are a failure in the strict requirements from God through His Catholic Church to receive a plenary indulgence, of which this article covers.
Objection 4) It is difficult to become a saint, but easily possible to achieve sainthood based on all that is given to us by God through the Catholic Church to obtain this.
I answer that: Absolutely, and one Truth does not negate another Truth. Not being able to achieve a plenary indulgence easily does not prevent anyone from the possibility of achieving sainthood. Something being easily possible to achieve does not mean it is easy to do. In general, it being objectively difficult and taking a long time to become a saint, due to our attachment to, including a desire for, venial sins, proves it is equally as difficult to gain a plenary indulgence. Since for the overwhelming majority of us, it typically takes human beings an entire lifetime on earth to become a saint, it would be logical that it would take a very long time and be difficult for us to gain a plenary indulgence.
Objection 5) We don't have to agree with what the Canonized Saints, Doctors of the Church, or the Catholic Church says when it is not doctrine, dogma, or definitive teaching on faith or morals formally or solemnly proposed by the Church.
I answer that: The humble thing to do when we hear something that is from a Canonized Saint or from the Catholic Church directly (not an individual) that we disagree with, we want to reject, and/or believe that we cannot accept, is to seek immediate humility and help from God in understanding how we might be in error and how what we are hearing or reading could possibly be True. And if necessary, tell God we are sorry that we do not want to accept this at this time (for whatever reason), to please heal us, and help us to be able to accept His Truth as soon as possible.
Objection 6) Even the Canonized Saints and Doctors of the Church disagreed with each other on certain points.
I answer that: Absolutely. And since we are not yet Saints or Doctors of the Church, it would be prideful and arrogant of us to think that we know better and know more than they do.
Why is any of this important? If the person doesn't know about rule/norm #8, or doesn't understand it correctly, then they most likely are not actively working to obey rule/norm #8 and then they are failing to gain a plenary indulgence (but at least they are gaining a partial indulgence and their effort is worth it), as they were wrongly told/promised by the clergy, from the Bishops and priests down, who fail to include rule/norm #8 and directly telling/promising the faithful laity that they get a plenary indulgence for "this" or "that". Teaching falsehoods (regardless if knowingly or unknowingly), is objectively uncharitable: i.e. a sin and is a failure to know the Truth that in this case the Church leadership are responsible for knowing and responsible for checking their beliefs on Church teaching before teaching others. Sins incur consequences.
To work toward having a true hatred for all of your venial sins and be wholly free from any attachment to them, actively work daily directly with Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit to: become self-aware of all your sins (both interior and exterior, of both omission and commission), have true sorrow for/repentance of every one of your sins, and have them replaced with Truth/Love/Virtues. (Don't know how? Visit www.theologyofthesoul.org to learn more.) Keep trying to gain plenary indulgences and expect to need to finish being purified of some unrecognized venial sins and compensate for some other venial sins already recognized in the state of purgatory after this earthly life. And you just might be relieved and pleasantly surprised when you die.