His absolution followed, and then he took courage.
A book called The Priest in Absolution was compiled, and at first privately circulated among the clergy; but in 1877 a copy was produced in parliament, and gave rise to much scandal and heated debate, especially in the House of Lords and in the newspapers.
This stay furnishes some biographical documents of importance in the shape of letters to Geoffroy d'Estissac, of the already-mentioned Supplicatio pro Apostasia, and of the bull of absolution which was the reply to it.
He wandered from village to village and town to town, preaching to enormous audiences, always in the open air; the earnestness and straightforward eloquence with which he insisted that true repentance came from the heart, that pious pilgrimages and the absolution of the Church were mere outward symbols, appealed to all classes.
However bad his natural disposition, the magical words of absolution would make him a new man.
In France, Paschal granted absolution to Philip I.
And, from an absolution from the consequences of guilt, it became, in the 14th and 15th centuries, a negation or the guilt itself; while simultaneously the opportunity was offered of acquiring an indulgence for the souls of those already in purgatory.
But in 1696 for his boldness in granting absolution on the scaffold to Sir John Friend and Sir William Parkyns, who had attempted the assassination of William, he was obliged to flee, and for the rest of his life continued under sentence of outlawry.
The practice of confession in the Church of England practically dates from his two sermons on The Entire Absolution of the Penitent, in 1846, in which the revival of high sacramental doctrine is complemented by the advocacy of a revival of the penitential system which medieval theologians had appended to it.
On the one hand he repeated the provisions of the Fourth Lateran council on behalf of the Crusade to the Holy Land; on the other hand he preached a Crusade against Frederick II., and promised to all who would join the full benefits of absolution and remission of sins.