An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church


Imperfect repentance for sin, possibly due to fear of punishment or displeasure at the sin itself. Attrition has been distinguished from contrition since the twelfth century. Contrition is motivated by love of God, causing the penitent to regret sin as evidence of a turning away from God who loves us. Attrition falls short of the firm intention for amendment of life that characterizes contrition. Attrition has been referred to as imperfect contrition. Nevertheless, moral theologians have generally held that attrition is sufficient for the forgiveness of sins by God in the context of sacramental reconciliation. See Contrition.

Glossary definitions provided courtesy of Church Publishing Incorporated, New York, NY,(All Rights reserved) from “An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church, A User Friendly Reference for Episcopalians,” Don S. Armentrout and Robert Boak Slocum, editors.