Skip to comments.Catholic Word of the Day: AMENDE HONORABLE, 12-02-14
Posted on 12/02/2014 8:54:17 AM PST by Salvation
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Public form of satisfaction formerly inflicted on condemned criminals. With candle in hand, stripped to the waist and barefoot, they appeared before the ecclesiastical judge, begging pardon of God, the king and justice. It was used as late as the seventeenth century.
All items in this dictionary are from Fr. John Hardon's Modern Catholic Dictionary, © Eternal Life. Used with permission.
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Amende honorable was originally a mode of punishment in France which required the offender, barefoot and stripped to his shirt, and led into a church or auditory with a torch in his hand and a rope round his neck held by the public executioner, to beg pardon on his knees of his God, his king, and his country; now used to denote a satisfactory apology or reparation.
The amende honorable was sometimes incorporated into a larger ritual of capital punishment (specifically the French version of drawing and quartering) for parricides and regicides; this is described in the 1975 book Discipline and Punish by Michel Foucault, notably in reference to Robert-François Damiens who was condemned to make the amende honorable before the main door of the Church of Paris in 1757.
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