When our Lord and Master Jesus Christ said, ``Repent'' (Mt 4:17), he willed the entire life of believers to be one of repentance.
This word [“Repent”] cannot be understood as referring to the sacrament of penance, that is, confession and satisfaction, as administered by the clergy.
Yet it does not mean solely inner repentance; such inner repentance is worthless unless it produces various outward mortification of the flesh.
The penalty of sin [supposedly removed by indulgences] remains as long as the hatred of self (that is, true inner repentance), namely till our entrance into the kingdom of heaven.
The pope neither desires nor is able to remit any penalties except those imposed by his own authority or that of the canons [church rules].
The pope cannot remit any guilt, except by declaring and showing that it has been remitted by God; or, to be sure, by remitting guilt in cases reserved to his judgment. If his right to grant remission in these cases were disregarded, the guilt would certainly remain unforgiven.
God remits guilt to no one unless at the same time he humbles him in all things and makes him submissive to the vicar, the priest.
The penitential canons are imposed only on the living, and, according to the canons themselves, nothing should be imposed on the dying.
Therefore the Holy Spirit through the pope is kind to us insofar as the pope in his decrees always makes exception of the article of death and of necessity.
Those priests act ignorantly and wickedly who, in the case of the dying, reserve canonical penalties for purgatory.
Those tares of changing the canonical penalty to the penalty of purgatory were evidently sown while the bishops slept.
In former times, canonical penalties were imposed, not after, but before absolution, as tests of true contrition.