Sacred Penitentiaria

One of the three tribunals of the Roman Curia, is of very ancient but uncertain origin. The Cardinal Chief Penitentiary (pamitentiarius maior) generally exercises the complete jurisdiction of the tribunal. The other officials are the regent, who attends to minor business, the theologian (a Jesuit), the datary, the corrector, the sealer, the canonist, some copyists, a secretary, and an archivist. The jurisdiction of the Penitentiaria is restricted to the internal forum, but is most ample, and for both the Latin and the Oriental Churches. It is empowered to grant favors of all kinds for the internal forum: absolutions, dispensations, commutations, ratifications in the matter of impediments, and condonations. It also deals with questions of conscience submitted to the judgment of the Holy See. A special section of this tribunal treats matters regarding the use and granting of indulgenses, saving the right of the Holy Office over doctrinal questions relating to indulgences, new prayers, and devotions.