• probably Latin: penitus, within


  • Detestation of one’s own past sins, with the “determination to avoid sin in future. In a general sense, any virtue, when it begets such aversion of the will from sin, can be called penance. Moreover, the majority of theologians hold that there is also a special virtue of penance. This is a species of the cardinal virtue of justice, and induces hatred for sin as a violation of God’s right to the homage of His creatures. The principal act of penance (whether in the general or in the special sense) is contrition, which is the detestation of sin itself; a secondary act is satisfaction which is self-inflicted punishment in atonement for the temporal punishment remaining after sin has been remitted.
  • An act of self-denial, either internal or external, performed in atonement for the temporal punishment due to sins already forgiven; especially the sacramental satisfaction, imposed by the priest and accepted by the penitent in the administration of the sacrament of Penance.
  • A sacrament of the New Law. See also, Sacrament of Penance.

MLA Citation

  • “penance”. New Catholic Dictionary. CatholicSaints.Info. 12 June 2010. Web. 5 December 2021. <>