"...what we receive when the Church lessens the temporal penalties to which we may be subject even though our sins have been forgiven." Partial = reduction in punishment; Plenary = elimination of all sins incurred up to that time.
o Principle 1:
Sin results in guilt and punishment. Even forgiven sin stains the soul (Isa 1:18).
o Principle 2:
Punishments are both temporal and eternal (Dan 12:2). Temporal punishment is real (Ge 3:16-19).
o Principle 3:
Temporal penalties may remain when a sin is forgiven (2 Sam 12:13-14, Num 14:13-23).
o Principle 4:
God blesses some people as a reward to others (Ge 15:1-6, Rom. 11:28).
o Principle 5:
God remits temporal penalties suffered by some as a reward to others (1 Kgs. 11:11-13, Rom. 9:4-5).
o Principle 6:
God remits temporal punishments through the Church (Matt. 9:2-8, Matt. 18:18, John 20:21-23).
o Principle 7:
God blesses dead Christians as a reward to living Christians by prayer (2 Macc. 12:42, Col. 1:24).
To gain a plenary indulgence, you must perform the act with a contrite heart plus you must go to confession (one confession may suffice for several plenary indulgences), receive Holy Communion, and pray for the pope's intentions. (An Our Father and a Hail Mary said for the pope's intentions are sufficient, although you are free to substitute other prayers of your own choosing.) The final condition is that you must be free from all attachment to sin, including venial sin. Because of the extreme difficulty in meeting the final condition, plenary indulgences are rarely obtained. If you attempt to receive a plenary indulgence, but are unable to meet the last condition, a partial indulgence is received instead.