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PENANCE, eccl. law. An ecclesiastical punishment, inflicted by an ecclesiastical court, for some spiritual offence. Ayl. Par. 420.

A Law Dictionary, Adapted to the Constitution and Laws of the United States. By John Bouvier. Published 1856.
References in classic literature ?
But soon, as Maggie looked, every distinct thought began to be overflowed by a wave of loving penitence, and words burst forth with a sob.
Husband, dear husband, if you will but confess this dreadful crime; if you will but implore forgiveness of Heaven and of those whom you have wronged on earth; if you will dismiss these vain uneasy thoughts, which never can be realised, and will rely on Penitence and on the Truth, I promise you, in the great name of the Creator, whose image you have defaced, that He will comfort and console you.
At length this brother coming nearer home, with hope of seeing her, and being delayed by illness; and then a letter, in a strange hand, saying 'he died in hospital, of fever, such a day, and died in penitence and love of you: his last word being your name'?
This, at the time I write, has been proved, I believe, to be the case; but, as it would have been flat blasphemy against the system to have hinted such a doubt then, I looked out for the penitence as diligently as I could.
I found as prevalent a fashion in the form of the penitence, as I had left outside in the forms of the coats and waistcoats in the windows of the tailors' shops.
(to this hour with less penitence than I ought to feel), that if these hands could have taken a linchpin out of his chaise-cart, they would have done it.
As for the moral turpitude that man unveiled to me, even with tears of penitence, I can not, even in memory, dwell on it without a start of horror.
He said that the incompetent rulers had plunged the country and the nation into a situation the only way out from where was collective penitence and the promotion of Islamic teachings.
A time for reflection and sharing, it is a month of fasting which has more to do with purification and less with penitence. The contrast between the solemnity and austerity of the day's fast and the joyfulness that follows is heartening.
Lucia, crucifixion was still the penitence preferred by Melchor Montoya, 64; Danilo Ramos, 48; and Fernando Mamangun, 48.
He said evenif the penitents use nails or whips that have been sterilized, there is no assurance that they would not cause infection because of exposure to various elements in the course of penitence. Domingo added the DOH does not recommend taking prophylaxis or preventive antibitoic before the penitence as this could only expose the flagellants to anti-microbeal resistance.
She said the crime committed by Gen Zia cannot be forgiven and what Musharraf did was also penitence. She said corrupt rulers were the shadows of dictators.