Penance


#1

Where, what, why is history behind performing penance required for remission of sins, Is this required by man or GOD?

BIC


#2

[quote=BIC]Where, what, why is history behind performing penance required for remission of sins, Is this required by man or GOD?

BIC
[/quote]

I will let someone else tackle the history of it.

Is it required by man or God? The answer is that it is required by God. It has been given to us by God’s Church, the Catholic Church.


#3

Strictly speaking, doing penance is not required for the remission of sin. That is accomplished in the confessional when the priest gives absolution in the name of Christ. From the Catechism:

1473 The forgiveness of sin and restoration of communion with God entail the remission of the eternal punishment of sin, but temporal punishment of sin remains. While patiently bearing sufferings and trials of all kinds and, when the day comes, serenely facing death, the Christian must strive to accept this temporal punishment of sin as a grace. He should strive by works of mercy and charity, as well as by prayer and the various practices of penance, to put off completely the “old man” and to put on the "new man."85

In other words, penance is a way of demonstrating repentance for one’s sinful ways and deals more with the temporal punishment of sin, rather than the eternal. Think of it as a way of satisfying God’s justice.

Now as for when our current practice of penance developed. If I’m not mistaken, this took place in the early Medieval age (c. 700-800 AD), when Irish monastics were brought in to reform the practice in continental Europe.


#4

[quote=BIC]Where, what, why is history behind performing penance required for remission of sins, Is this required by man or GOD?

BIC
[/quote]

As our Lord says

Luke 12:59
I tell you, you will never get out till you have paid the very last copper

Therefore, it’s better to pay now, through penance, then after death, through Purgatory.

Penance isn’t necessary for forgivness. Indeed, one is forgiven once the priest absolves you. But, we still have to offer restitution, either in this life, or the next.

Peace and God bless! :slight_smile:

Eric


#5

[quote=enanneman]Penance isn’t necessary for forgivness. Indeed, one is forgiven once the priest absolves you. But, we still have to offer restitution, either in this life, or the next.
[/quote]

This is quite correct; remember, if we sin against our neighbor, we are required to put right that which was damaged.

If, however, the nature of the sin is such that no amount of physical effort could correct the damage (such as taking the Lord’s Name in vain), we must still do something to demonstrate our willingness to repair the damage.

Thus, we express our remorse in confession and then receive our penance, so that we may work to make things right.

A very good question, to be sure.


#6

Who determines what the penance is? the church? the heirarchy?

BIC


#7

[quote=BIC]Who determines what the penance is? the church? the heirarchy?

BIC
[/quote]

The individual priest determines your specific penance.


#8

[quote=enanneman]The individual priest determines your specific penance.
[/quote]

Is there a Table of penalty that the church has established? Or does each priest have the latitude to determine his own?

thanks

BIC


#9

[quote=BIC]Is there a Table of penalty that the church has established? Or does each priest have the latitude to determine his own?

thanks

BIC
[/quote]

The latter. It’s been my experience that the priest will try to tailor the penance to the sin, but there’s no set formula.


#10

Acts of Penance as act of repentence intended to train your body so as to keep yourself spriritually fit comes from Sacred Scripture, specifically from St. Paul, 1 Cor 9:27:

I discipline (Grk “hupopiazo”) my body and make it my slave, so that, after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified.

According to Vine’s Expository of NT Words:

hupopiazo lit., “to strike under the eye” (from hupopion, “the part of the face below the eye;” hupo, “under,” ops, “an eye”), hence, to beat the face black and blue (to give a black eye), is used metaphorically, and translated “buffet” in 1_Cor_9:27 (AV, “keep under”), of Paul’s suppressive treatment of his body, in order to keep himself spiritually fit (RV marg., “bruise”); so RV marg. in Luke_18:5, of the persistent widow, text, “wear out” (AV, “weary”). See KEEP, WEAR, WEARY.


#11

Penance is a necessary element of the Sacrament of Penance. As such, it is necessary for the remission of sins.

Pope St. Pius X stated:

“The parts of the sacrament of Penance are contrition, confession, and satisfaction on the part of the penitent, and absolution on the part of the priest.” (Catechism of Pius X, Sacrament of Penance)

What we refer to as “penance” is the “satisfaction” part of the Sacrament of Penance.

It is true that perfect contrition alone remits sin, however, as Pope St. Pius X states:

“Confession of sins consists in a distinct accusation of our sins made to the confessor in order to obtain absolution and receive penance for them. … Satisfaction or penance is that prayer or other good work which the confessor enjoins on the penitent in expiation of his sins. … Of all the parts of the sacrament of Penance the most necessary is contrition, because without it no pardon for sins is obtainable, while with it alone, perfect pardon can be obtained, provided that along with it there is the desire, at least implicit, of going to confession. … Perfect sorrow does not obtain us pardon of our sins independently of confession, because it always includes the intention to confess them.” (ibid.)

Penance is intended to help remit the temporal punishment for sin. Forgiveness of sins does not necessarily relieve the sinner of the punishment. For example, King David was forgiven by God for the sins he committed, yet immediately following his forgiveness, he was severely punished by God.

Thus, "A penance is imposed because, after sacramental absolution which remits sin and its eternal punishment, there generally remains a temporal punishment to be undergone, either in this world or in Purgatory. " (Pope St. Pius X, ibid.)


#12

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