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Explain what Luther meant by the word indulgence. How are indulgences related to the concept of sin? Use the Internet to research any relevant background information, including the religious practices of the time and the historical context of Martin Luther's debate with the authorities of the Roman Catholic Church.

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"The term indulgence is related to the concept of sin, or actions in opposition to God's laws. In Luther's time, when a person did something that was considered a sin, he or she was required to confess the sin to a designated church authority (usually a priest). The person then had to undergo a penance (punishment) that the authority prescribed (depending on the nature of the sin). In the context of the church, an indulgence was a statement by the pope exempting a group of people from specific penances by virtue of good deeds they had performed. Indulgences were often published in written form."