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An indulgence is a remission before God of the temporal punishment due sins whose guilt has already been forgiven, which the faithful Christian who is duly disposed gains under certain prescribed conditions through the action of the Church, which, as minister of redemption, dispenses and applies with authority the treasurey of the satisfaction of Christ and saints.
An indulgence is partial or plenary accordingly as it removes either part of, or all of the temporal punishment due to sin. Indulgences may be applied to the living or the dead. [Indulgentiarum doctrina, Norms 1-3]