"In his 1984 postsynodal apostolic exhortation, Reconciliatio et Paenitentia, Pope John Paul II characteristically tried to reframe the Church’s thinking about “going to confession” and receiving the Sacrament of Penance: what sometimes seemed a strange or arcane Catholic practice, John Paul proposed, should in fact be understood in terms of the personal drama of every human life, which is the drama of freedom. Taking freedom seriously means taking the abuse of freedom, which is sin, seriously. And to take sin seriously requires us to name the wounds in our lives as the first step toward their being healed. Thus, John Paul taught, the very fact of someone kneeling to name the wounds he or she bears adds to that man’s or woman’s human dignity.
"Confession of sins, far from being demeaning or dehumanizing, is liberating and ennobling. Regular confession of sins is also, the pope suggested, an essential part of configuring oneself to Christ, for the Cross of Christ is the fountainhead from which all reconciliation between God and humanity flows. Indeed, the very geometry of the Cross expresses the two dimensions of the reconciliation that every sensitive soul seeks: the vertical beam symbolizes our need for reconciliation with God, while the horizontal crossbeam represents the imperative of being reconciled with our neighbors. As individuals we crave forgiveness from God for the guilt we carry along the journey of life; the human family craves reconciliation within itself. Both aspirations are embodied in the Cross."
Weigel, George (2013-10-29). Roman Pilgrimage: The Station Churches (Kindle Locations 2679-2690). Basic Books. Kindle Edition.