The other day, Archbp. Vigano, bless him, issued a public letter in which he calls for disgraced Theodore McCarrick publicly to repent.
I have on various occasions opined that bishops should prostrate themselves in the steps of their cathedrals in public reparation.
Public penance and public reparation was once a regular practice in the Church.
An example of these public rites can be read about – fascinating – at Liturgical Arts Journal today. Shawn Tribe recounts the rites in the 17th and 18th century in the Diocese of Rouen.
He has an extract of the Grand Penitentiary of Rouen in 1673. The rites are described. There are great old etchings of moments of the rites. The prayers and symbolic gestures are beautiful. Note the significance of the candles.
I am not sure that we need public rites for penitents, even for truly serious sins of a public nature. I’m also not saying that we don’t! However, I think I would support public acts of reparation.
GO TO CONFESSION!