Pope Francis and indulgences


Sir, – I find some of the comments aired on Pope Francis’s approval of indulgences quite disturbing. To pluck from just two, one calls this practice “superstitious nonsense” (May 31st), while another calls it “clap-trap” (May 29th).

Even to vindicate citizens’ freedom of speech, I wonder would a newspaper think twice about publishing letter after letter mocking a single item of another faith, such as Muslims’ belief in angels or Hindus’ worship of multiple celestial entities? I noticed that none of the letters published yesterday on this subject advanced any thought-provoking theological or doctrinal arguments concerning indulgences. Indeed, however comic, almost all the letters published to date are sneers.

Is this what a more tolerant Ireland looks like? – Yours, etc,




Dublin 18.

Sir, – This letter comes from two concerned Catholics, a further category to be added to Bishop Doran’s “cultural Catholics” and “Catholics by faith”.

Last Friday, when The Irish Times broke the news of the indulgences to be offered on the occasion of the Pope’s forthcoming visit to Dublin, we wrote on the same day to the apostolic nunciature in Dublin and to a senior priest associated with the diocese asking for information, if the Pope himself had announced the indulgences (suspecting that an overzealous cardinal in Rome whose name is familiar to us because of recent controversies, has landed our Pope in yet another difficult situation) and if indeed indulgences were still part of Catholic teaching. It is simply unthinkable that the author of Amoris Laetitia reverted to such in our opinion outmoded theology that is offensive to many Catholics and a deep disappointment to the ecumenical movement in Ireland. We have as yet not received any answer. Therefore we remain concerned. – Yours, etc,



Sandymount, Dublin 4.

Sir, – Many years ago a priest reliably informed me that Purgatory was deleted from the punishment programme. This offer of an indulgence has left me totally in Limbo. – Yours, etc,


Knocknacarra, Galway.