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The first preaching of Jesus is described in the words: "Do penance, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand"; and the Apostles, in their first sermons to the people, warn them to "do penance and be baptized for the remission of their sins " ( Acts ). The Old Testament Prophets laid particular stress on the necessity of hearty repentance. The obligation of perfect contrition is also urgent whensoever one has to exercise some act for which a state of grace is necessary and the Sacrament of Penance is not accessible. Alphonsus Liguori will aid the solution: "The duty of making an act of contrition is urgent when one is obliged to make an act of love " (Sabetti, Theologia Moralis: de necess.
1) seems to hold the opposite opinion.] Until the time of the Reformation no theologian ever thought of denying the necessity of contrition for the forgiveness of sin. The Fathers followed up with like exhortation (Clement in P. The Psalmist says that God despises not the "contrite heart" (Ps. and rend your hearts, and not your garments" (Joel, ii, 12 sq). (b) Supernatural In accordance with Catholic teaching contrition ought to be prompted by God's grace and aroused by motives which spring from faith, as opposed to merely natural motives, such as loss of honour, fortune, and the like (Chemnitz, Exam. Theologians have questions how long a man may remain in the state of sin, without making an effort to elicit an act of perfect contrition.
There is no forgiveness without sorrow of soul, and forgiveness is always accompanied by God's grace ; grace cannot coexist with sin ; and, as a consequence, one sin cannot be forgiven while another remains for which their is no repentance. The Prophet urged men to turn to God with their whole heart (Joel, ii, 12 sq.), and Christ tells the doctor of the law that we must love God with our whole mind, our whole strength ( Luke ).
This doctrine is intimately bound up with the Catholic teaching concerning grace and repentance.
Nearly all the medieval theologians hold that contrition is based principally on the detestation of sin.
On this account I say, that if you receive the priest's absolution, believe firmly that you are absolved, and trulyabsolved you will be, let the contrition be as it may." Luther could not deny that in every true conversion there was grief of soul, but he asserted that this was the result of the grace of God poured into the soul at the time of justification, etc. 32: "Do penance in full, give proof of the sorrow that comes from a grieving and lamenting soul.