The Western world lost much when the confession-absolution dyad dropped God out of the equation. Vanished is the power of the purifying rhetoric that once gave voice to sinners in classic words and acts of contrition and confession. The banal phrases of today’s transgressors, gathered from any recent week’s newspapers or broadcasts, contrast drastically with the language of confession in the classic Book of Common Prayer and the Roman Catholic Act of Contrition, as the following examples show:
We have erred. "I didn’t think I’d get caught.” —Baseball star Pete Rose after he was charged with outlawed sports gambling
We have strayed from our ways like lost sheep. “I sincerely regret my actions in this case.” —The USA Today executive who embezzled $3.6 million
We have followed too much the devices and desires of our own hearts.