Perfect contrition (from Latin contero "grind, crush, pound to pieces") in Catholic theology is a repentance for sins which is motivated by the love of God. It contrasts with imperfect contrition, or attrition; a repentance arising from a less pure motive, such as common decency, or fear of Hell. It is the motive for repentance (rather than the intensity of feeling) that distinguishes the two forms of contrition, and it is possible for perfect and imperfect contrition to be experienced simultaneously. According to Catholic teaching, perfect contrition removes the guilt and eternal punishment due to mortal sin, even before the sinner has received absolution in the sacrament of penance if the person has a firm resolution to have recourse to sacramental confession as soon as possible. The Jansenists often insisted on the necessity of contrition versus simple attrition.
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