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cf. What Are the Origins of Ash Wednesday and the Use of Ashes? by Fr. William Saunders | Catholic Culture. In part The early Church continued the usage of ashes for the same symbolic reasons. In his book, De Poenitentia, Tertullian (c. 160-220) prescribed that the penitent must "live without joy in the roughness of sackcloth and the squalor of ...

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