Roman Catholics: Indulgences Made Easy

At the fourth session of the Second Vatican Council, a number of bishops and theologians suggested that it was high time to reform or even abolish the church's ancient system of indulgences. For performing certain pious acts, such as visiting churches or reciting prayers, penitent Catholics can get dispensations for part or all of the time that they would otherwise have to spend in Purgatory suffering for their sins.

Pope Paul, however, is not yet ready to give up this particular Catholic tradition—and last week he made one kind of indulgence easier than ever to get. In honor of the...