penance


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Related to penance: Sacrament of Penance

penance

(pĕn`əns), sacramentsacrament
[Lat.,=something holy], an outward sign of something sacred. In Christianity, a sacrament is commonly defined as having been instituted by Jesus and consisting of a visible sign of invisible grace. Christianity is divided as to the number and operation of sacraments.
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 of the Roman Catholic and Orthodox Eastern churches. By it the penitent (the person receiving the sacrament) is absolved of his or her sins by a confessor (the person hearing the confession and conferring the sacrament). Every Catholic is required to confess all his or her mortal (serious) sins before receiving communion and at least once a year. A penitent need confess only sins committed since baptism or since his or her last confession. To make the sacrament valid the confessor must be a priest and the penitent must be contrite and possess a firm purpose of amendment. Sins inadvertently forgotten after a careful examination of conscience are included in the absolution. Before granting absolution, the confessor, acting as an instrument of both God and the Church, may admonish the sinner, and he imposes a penance (a punishment, usually consisting of prayers). The penitent is required to make restitution for injuries to others. According to a canon of the Council of Trent, Jesus instituted this sacrament when he first appeared to the disciples after the resurrection (John 20.19–23). Following the Second Vatican Council, the Roman Catholic Church introduced the liturgy for a new communal penitential service, during which the individual has the opportunity to confess privately to a priest. Absolution is still granted only on an individual basis. In the Eastern churches confession is required before communion, but there has been no development of moral theology or of casuistry comparable to that of the West. The priest acts in the sacrament only as an instrument of God, who forgives sins by the sacrament.

Penance

 

in the Catholic and Orthodox churches, a moral corrective measure as well as a punishment for sins. It may be imposed by a member of the clergy or church body or performed voluntarily by the penitent. The penance may take the form of extended prayer, the distribution of alms to the poor, fasting, or the making of a pilgrimage.

penance

Catholic sacrament, whereby the penitent is absolved of sins by the confessor. [Christianity: NCE, 2096]

penance

Christianity
a. a punishment usually consisting of prayer, fasting, etc., undertaken voluntarily as an expression of penitence for sin
b. a punishment of this kind imposed by church authority as a condition of absolution
References in classic literature ?
I know you Christians,'' replied the Jew, ``and that the noblest of you will take the staff and sandal in superstitious penance, and walk afoot to visit the graves of dead men.
We would gladly receive you among us, to perform such penance as we do, but we have already told you that this is impossible.
It seemed like wilful ill-nature, or a voluntary penance, for on these occasions it was not merely a few formal inquiries and an awkward pause and then away, but he actually thought it necessary to turn back and walk with her.
Their interesting, almost too interesting conversation must be broken up for a time, but slight was the penance compared with the happiness which brought it on
I have also an idea of being soon in town; and whatever may be my determination as to the rest, I shall probably put THAT project in execution; for London will be always the fairest field of action, however my views may be directed; and at any rate I shall there be rewarded by your society, and a little dissipation, for a ten weeks' penance at Churchhill.
There be monks in Russia, for penance, that will sit a whole night in a vessel of water, till they be engaged with hard ice.
That is my crime, Father Brown, and I don't know what penance you would inflict for it.
At her death, at the moment when she was passing to the other sepulchre, she had bequeathed this one in perpetuity to afflicted women, mothers, widows, or maidens, who should wish to pray much for others or for themselves, and who should desire to inter themselves alive in a great grief or a great penance.
Steve tore his hair, metaphorically speaking, for he clutched his cherished top-knot, and wildly dishevelled it, as if that was the heaviest penance he could inflict upon himself at such short notice.
My penance, constant in degree, is mutable in kind: one of its variants is tranquillity.
Sometimes it was an act of penance for some great sin done; sometimes of thanksgiving for some great good received, some great danger passed.
I have travelled a good deal in Concord; and everywhere, in shops, and offices, and fields, the inhabitants have appeared to me to be doing penance in a thousand remarkable ways.