It was held that Absolution removed guilt and freed from eternal punishment, but that something had to be done to free the penitent from temporal punishment whether in this life or in purgatory.
The soldier is applauded who refuses to serve in an unjust war by those who do not refuse to sustain the unjust government which makes the war; is applauded by those whose own act and authority he disregards and sets at naught; as if the state were penitent to that degree that it hired one to scourge it while it sinned, but not to that degree that it left off sinning for a moment.
Among both Jews and Greeks the earlier forms of the idea had been rationalized into the belief that the most appropriate offering to God is that of a pure and penitent heart, and among them both was the idea that the vocal expression of contrition in prayer or of gratitude in praise is also acceptable.
Public but general confession of sins and intercession for penitent sinners have from early times formed a normal part of public worship in the Christian church.
The Epistola ad omnes philosophos and the Homily on the Penitent Thief, ascribed by Armenian tradition to Aristides, are really of 5th-century origin.
In addition to papers published to defend his claims Antonio was the author of the Panegyrus Alphonsi Lusitanorum Regis (Coimbra, 1550), and of a cento of the Psalms, Psalmi Confessionales (Paris 1592), which was translated into English under the title of The Royal Penitent by Francis Chamberleyn (London, 1659), and into German as Heilige Betrachtungen (Marburg, 1677).
Penitents, therefore (as a rule), were excused the painful ordeal of public humiliation, but performed their penances in secret; only at the end they were publicly reconciled by the bishop. This was at Rome and Milan appointed to be done on the Thursday before Easter, and gradually became a regular practice, the same penitent year after year doing penance during Lent, and being publicly restored to communion in Holy Week.
His mother was only released from prison in October 1729, after she had undergone torture and figured as a penitent in another auto-da fe.
His system declared that holiness and sin are free voluntary exercises; that men act freely under the divine agency; that the slightest transgression deserves eternal punishment; that it is through God's mere grace that the penitent believer is pardoned and justified; that, in spite of total depravity, sinners ought to repent; and that regeneration is active, not passive, with the believer.
The penitent and God-fearing Jews of the post-exilic age needed some softening appendix, and this the editor provided.