ETYM Latin indulgentia: cf. French indulgence.
1. A disposition to yield to the wishes of someone; SYN. lenience, leniency.
2. An inability to resist the gratification of whims and desires; SYN. self-indulgence.
3. The act of indulging or gratifying a desire; SYN. indulging, pampering, humoring, pleasing.
Former Catholic pardon granted for remission of punishment for sins.
In the Roman Catholic Church, the total or partial remission of temporal punishment for sins that remain to be expiated after penitence and confession have secured exemption from eternal punishment. The doctrine of indulgence began as the commutation of church penances in exchange for suitable works of charity or money gifts to the church, and became a great source of church revenue. This trade in indulgences roused Martin Luther in 1517 to initiate the Reformation. The Council of Trent 1563 recommended moderate retention of indulgences, and they continue, notably in “Holy Years”.