According to Roman Catholic teaching this is a way to reduce the amount of punishment one has to undergo for sins in purgatory – a place of purification before reaching heaven. An indulgence is considered partial if it removes part of the temporal (earthly) punishment due to sin, or plenary if it removes all punishment.

Going to confession, receiving Holy Communion, doing good deeds, abstinence, Bible reading, self-punishment (penance), and praying all done with a contrite heart besides signing themselves with the sign of the cross while saying  ‘In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen’ are some of the ways an indulgence can be granted. Over the centuries a vast amount of finance has been raised by the RC church though indulgences, in the mistaken belief that this will make amends for sin. However, the Bible's teaching this is only achieved by the blood of Christ (1 Jn 1:7,9).

See also: penance, purgatory, Roman Catholicism.