The topics of sin and repentance have become increasingly important in recent decades, not only for the history of the Church but also for the history of Western sensitivity. This book reflects this new awareness and traces the evolution of penance from the 13th century, when the Fourth Lateran Council (1215) commanded sacramental confession at least once a year, to the new discipline of Counterreformation. The author highlights the specific features of late medieval confession and their links to theological and canonical doctrines and pastoral practice. He focuses especially on how procedure was progressively consolidated through the diffusion of confession manuals. The text also underlines the primary role played in the administration of this sacrament by monks of the beggar orders, who were better prepared and educated then the lay clergy.
Roberto Rusconi teaches History of Christianity in the Faculty of Letters and Philosophy at the University of LAquila.