Multiple discussions began in the 3rd century, time of many persecutions, on how to exercise Church penance regarding grave sinners, e.g. idolaters, adulterers, murderers. In this century, the sacrament of penance as reconciliation first emerged in a recognizable form. We find references to admission of sinfulness by outward signs (e.g. shaved head, sackcloth) and by self-accusation.