A century later again, Wycliffe complains of Indulgences of two thousand years for a single prayer (ed.
368): " and at last Indulgences were so freely given that there is now scarcely a devotion or good work of any kind for which they cannot be obtained " (Arnold & Addis, Catholic Dictionary, s.v.).
The most accepted modern theory is that it is merely a catchword surviving from a longer phrase which proclaimed how, during such Indulgences, ordinary confessors might absolve from sins usually " reserved " to the Bishop or the Pope.
The greatest of all Plenary Indulgences is of course the Roman 1 Equally strong assertions were made by the provincial council of Mainz in 1261; and Lea (p. 287) quotes the complaints of 36 similar church councils before 1538.
Of Auricular Confession and Indulgences in the Latin Church (Philadelphia, 1896); his standpoint in frankly non-Catholic, but he gives ample materials for judgment.