Immediately after entering England (July 1213) he showed his desire for peace by absolving the king.
It was more and more regarded as the special function of the priest to administer absolution, though as late as the i 6th century we hear of laymen confessing to and absolving one another on the battlefield because no priest was at hand.
The sovereign pontiff never claimed any power of absolving in grievous matters apart from these.
He had become an incurable hypochondriac. He said long after that he had been mad all his life, or at least not perfectly sane; and, in truth, eccentricities less strange than his have often been thought ground sufficient for absolving felons and for setting aside wills.