They could be added to the satisfactions actually done by penitents.
And 1 In a letter dated the 4th of April 1882, referring to the publication of his drama Mary Stuart, Swinburne wrote, to Edmund Clarence Stedman: "Mary Stuart has procured me two satisfactions which I prefer infinitely to six columns of adulation in The Times and any profit thence resulting.
When the sins confessed were very heinous the satisfactions were correspondingly severe and sometimes lasted over many years.
Satisfactions took the new meaning of the temporal punishments due in this life and the substitute for the pains of purgatory.
Thus Satisfactions became not merely signs of sorrow but actual merits, which freed men from the need to undergo the temporal pains here and in purgatory which their sins had rendered them liable to.
The conclusion was naturally drawn that a process of penitence which began with sorrow of the more unworthy kind needed a larger amount of Satisfactions or penance than what began with Contrition.
They were always mitigations of satisfactions or penances which had been imposed by the church as outward signs of inward sorrow, tests of fitness for pardon, and the needful precedents of absolution.
When the custom of public confession before the congregation had changed to private confession to the clergy, it became the confessor's duty to impose these satisfactions.
It was thought only right that there should be some uniformity in dealing with repentant sinners, and books appeared giving lists of sins and what were supposed to be suitable satisfactions.
About the 7th century arose a custom of commuting or relaxing these imposed satisfactions.
The institution of penance had been raised to the dignity of a sacrament, and this had changed both the place and the character of satisfactions.
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