Confession, Judgement, Forgiveness, Reconciliation
“As can be gleaned from the liturgical rituals surrounding sickness and death, physical afflictions were, particularly in the West, increasingly seen as the consequence of moral failings. Remission of sins, therefore, played an ever growing role in the liturgy of the dying. In Merovingian Gaul we observe that sickness was often regarded as the consequence of sin…… Healing miracles, therefore, can be regarded as rituals by which sinners were relieved of the consequences of their sins….. The rituals of healing have been examined as processes of reconciliation on at least two levels: the level of the relation of a saint and a sinner and on the other hand that of a relation between a religious community and a sinner. A healing ceremony entailed not so much a physical cure, but ‘rather confession, judgement, forgiveness, and reconciliation. Rituals of exorcism are a subspecies of healing miracles, which have been described as ‘dramas of authority’ and dramas of reintegration’. They also occurred in a public setting, and the liturgical processes bore a close resemblance to Roman judicial procedures as well as confessional practices, for example when a demon answered demands made in the name of a local saint, a processes resembling the interrogation of a criminal or the penitent sinner.
Exorcism rituals, therefore, can be regarded as ceremonies aimed at the reintegration of sinners into the Christian community by supernatural means.”
Rob Means, Penance In Medieval Europe 600-1200