I recently came across a New York Times article that floored me. The article described how the Catholic church has reinstituted the distribution of indulgences. I learned about indulgences in high school history (when we covered the middle ages and the Reformation), but I never thought I’d see them in my lifetime.
Before their sale was forbidden in 1563 (and perhaps covertly sold afterward), indulgences were marketed by the Catholic church. Purchasers were promised that, for a set amount of money, they could pre-absolve sins they were planning to commit in the coming days. The Sisteen Chapel was actually constructed using money largely collected through indulgence sales.
One of the earliest voices to gain attention as he preached against this unbiblical practice was John Huss. I well remember standing in the home of Huss in Constance, Germany, a few years ago. There, I thanked the Lord for this courageous man who was willing to preach the truth in a time of great darkness. Huss was burned at the stake in 1415 for his “heresy” against the Catholic church. (more…)