Rituals and Means of Dealing with Sins in Christianity before the Reformation
The rituals and other means before the Medieval Ages
If a person commits sins before joining the community, the person’s sins are forgiven through Christ in the ritual of baptism, including immersion, anointing and Eucharist.
If a person commits sins after joining the community, there are two different situations to deal with the person’s sins:
(1) Commit sin against humans
Christian commit sin against humans, and the sin is not serious, such as
lying, the rituals and other means for forgiveness are:
Christian commit sin against humans, and the sin is serious, such as murder or
adultery, the person should:
(2) Commit against God
Christian commit sin against God, such as idolatry, the person:
The rituals and other means of the Medieval Ages
A Christian might die with sins forgiven but assigned
penance incomplete. However, the person has to complete the satisfactory work
before God could justly allow the person into heaven. Hell is inappropriate
and unjust for the person. Heaven can be enter only when penance is completed.
Hence, the person is given the opportunity to complete the satisfactory work
in purgatory. At first, the person goes to and suffers in purgatory after
death. After Satisfactory penance is completed in purgatory, then, the person
can be allowed into heaven.
An indulgence is to link the satisfactory works of the past to a particular
satisfactory work in the present. For example, a Christian can receive the
satisfactory work of a past saint into his own satisfactory work. Since many
saints had done more good and penitential work than was necessary for penance,
Their excess works were available for other Christians. On the other hand, the
pope also claimed, as the representative of Peter and Christ, that he was able
to access the satisfactory works of the saints. Thus he can transfer the
satisfactory work from past saint to a present Christian. Through indulgences,
it is possible for a Christian to keep up with the amount of satisfactory work
which was necessary for the person to complete.
Burns, Patout, Lectures of “The Formation of Christian Tradition” in Vanderbilt Divinity school, 2004 Fall.