Thursday, October 7, 2010

False Penances

Second Council of the Lateran, Canon 22: "Because there is one thing that conspicuously causes great disturbance to holy church, namely, false penance, we warn our brothers in the episcopate and priests not to allow the souls of the laity to be deceived or dragged off to hell by false penances. It is agreed that a penance is false when many sins are disregarded and a penance is performed for one only, or when it is done for one sin in such a way that the penitent does not renounce another. Thus it is written: Whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point, has become guilty of all of it; this evidently pertains to eternal life. Therefore, just as a person who is entangled in all sins will not enter the gate of eternal life, so also if a person remains in one sin. False penance also occurs when the penitent does not resign a position at a court or in business which cannot be carried on without sin, or if hate is harboured in his heart, or if the person does not make amends to whomever he offended, or if an injured party does not pardon the offender, or if anyone unjustly carries arms."

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