Friday, December 07, 2007
Christmas Gift for the Sinner Who Has Everything? A Get Out of Purgatory Card?
Just in time for the Christmas shopping rush, Pope Benedict XVI has added a gift suggestion for the sinner who has everything: a "get out of purgatory" early card.
Rome, Dec. 5, 2007 (CWNews.com) - Pope Benedict XVI (bio - news) has announced that a plenary indulgence is available to Catholics who travel to Lourdes during the coming year, for the 150th anniversary of the Marian apparitions there.
The indulgence is available to those who, under the usual conditions, make a pilgrimage to Lourdes between December 8 of this year and the same date in 2008. The pilgrimage should include visits to the famous Massabielle grotto at Lourdes where the Virgin Mary appeared to St. Bernadette Soubirous, the Soubirois family home, and the places where St. Bernadette was baptized and received her First Communion.
A plenary indulgence is also available to those who venerate an image of Our Lady of Lourdes at any church or chapel between February 2 and February 11 of 2008, the feast of Our Lady of Lourdes.
One wag commented that maybe it is time to pull out the "Tetzel is my Homeboy" shirts in honor of the indulgence merchant whose marketing efforts helped precipitate the Protestant Reformation in 1517.
Just when efforts to reconcile Rome and Protestantism have been gaining traction in the Protestant community (e.g., Evangelicals and Catholics Together), something like this reminds me why I am a Reformation Christian: sola fide, sola gratia, sola scriptura, solus Christus, and soli deo gloria!
Christmas reminds us that the Creator stepped into his creation to redeem us from our sins, to justify us by his own sacrifice, and to purchase us for himself forever -- without our works or efforts, purchased indulgences or otherwise.