I highly recommend a blog post on indulgences by my good friend, His Hermeneuticalness, the great Dean of Bexley and p.p. of Blackfen, the unabashedly Unreconstructed Ossified Manualist, Fr. Tim Finigan. HERE
A sample with my emphases and comments:
[T]there are many plenary indulgences given for particular occasions. Although I have reservations about some of the practical reforms Pope Paul VI carried out, his Apostolic Constitution Indulgentiarum Doctrina is a superb theological and spiritual exposition of indulgences. It is not difficult to read and I heartily recommend it if you never heard anything at Catholic school about indulgences except perhaps that they were sometimes sold in the eeeeevil Middle Ages (Boo! Hiss! He’s BEHIND you!)
One point made by Pope Paul VI is relevant to the indulgences granted for particular days:
The aim pursued by ecclesiastical authority in granting indulgences is not only that of helping the faithful to expiate the punishment due sin but also that of urging them to perform works of piety, penitence and charity—particularly those which lead to growth in faith and which favour the common good. (n.8)In other words, the granting of indulgences is also used by the Church to encourage us to particular devotions that help our spiritual life, perhaps at the same time gently guiding us away from devotions along the lines of the five first Wednesdays Novena of the Holy Kneecap of St Petronilla which you have to photocopy and leave at the back of the Church or the prayer doesn’t work. [Thank you.]
Last year I resolved to prepare a list to remind myself to announce these indulgences. I am happy to share the list on the understanding that it is not an official document, simply a guide:
Plenary Indulgences for particular days. [A great idea.]
Go read the rest over there. Very good.
Fr. Z kudos to H.H.