This article intends to focus on three important theoretical elements from the Catholic ethical and juridical literature: restitutio, satisfactio-satispassio, potestas in se ipsum. These allow us to understand how a theme as complex as that of justice and forgiveness of the victim was treated between the fifteenth and seventeenth centuries. The examinations of these concepts shows that, for the protection of the soul and the body, the ancient private forms of conflict resolution changed their context and goals. At least on the theoretical level, they no longer used only the archaic language of rites of collective reintegration. They no longer expressed the interests of the “particular social groups” as they had done in the past and, eventually, they no longer aimed to stigmatize the illicit behaviours or to create new “antidoral” obligations. In tune with the emotions and anxieties that shook the Western society in the decades following the Reformation, reconciliation and forgiveness became mainly an individual commitment to God, and as a personal process were no longer so independent from the administration of public justice.


Keywords: restitution; satisfaction; satispassio; potestas in se ipsum; victim forgiveness.