A number of questions regarding the current teaching was submitted last week. I’d like to address one here:
Does the Roman Catholic church today believe in taking money to in exchange for forgiveness of sins?
In my understanding, this is not an overt doctrine of the RCC. However, given their system of salvation (process justification—as Dan has pointed out), almsgiving is seen as one of many “bricks” in one’s road toward justification. Whereas we believe that the Bible teaches that one’s forgiveness of sins is a one-time event (forensic justification), we would hold that giving money to the church or to the poor would be as a RESPONSE to forgiveness. Not as a means of forgiveness.
To make it more simple, the RCC believes that you do good works IN ORDER TO BE forgiven. We believe that God has clearly taught in the scripture that we are justified by trusting in Jesus’ good works. Our good works are therefore done BECAUSE were are forgiven.
Paul makes a HUGE deal out of this in the book of Galatians. I’d recommend a fresh reading of that epistle.