The Hand of Forgiveness

  • Linda Marie Rouillard
Part of the The New Middle Ages book series (TNMA)


Starting with depictions of rituals associated with penance as illustrated in such works as La Fille du Comte de Ponthieu and La Manekine, this chapter considers the subtle changes in attitudes toward contrition, clerical absolution, and penitential acts described by theologians and canonists, and reflected in medieval poems such as Li Contes del graal, La Vie de Saint Gilles, Li Chevalier au barisel, and Le Dit du buef, among others. There remains a need even in the modern age for some kind of public avowal of oneʼs moral failings, serving as a kind of secular penance. The modern public televised admissions of failings by political figures who acknowledge their transgressions (often of a sexual nature) and beg for their constituentsʼ pardon reenact the purifying humiliation of public penance.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • Linda Marie Rouillard
    • 1
  1. 1.The University of ToledoToledoUSA

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