12. The locations for the ministration of the sacrament of penance and the place of the confessor are those prescribed by canon law.
Regarding the “Time of Celebration,” the rite urges a mutual openness: the confessor’s publicized schedule and the laity taking advantage of this:
13. The reconciliation of penitents may be celebrated in all liturgical seasons and on any day. But it is right that the faithful be informed of the day and hours at which the priest is available for this ministry. They should be encouraged to approach the sacrament of penance at times when Mass is not being celebrated and preferably at the scheduled hours. [See SCR, Instr. EuchMyst, 25 May 1967, no. 35.]
Celebration is appropriate for Lent, with an eye to participation in the Paschal Mystery–not just “Easter duty,” but Triduum-focused.
Lent is the season most appropriate for celebrating the sacrament of penance. Already on Ash Wednesday the people of God hear the solemn invitation, “Turn away from sin and be faithful to the Gospel.” It is therefore fitting to have several penitential services during Lent, so that all the faithful may have an opportunity to be reconciled with God and their neighbor and so be able to celebrate the paschal mystery in the Easter triduum with renewed hearts.
Notice the understanding in the rite; let’s repeat it:
It is therefore fitting to have several penitential services during Lent …
The wisdom in offering more than one liturgy–and the designation is broad: these could be sacramental or non-sacramental–has probably yet to be plumbed. I wonder if there was any experimentation going on in this regard prior to 1974.
Lastly for this post, the bishop decides on “Liturgical Vestments.”
14. With respect to liturgical vestments in the celebration of penance, the norms laid down by the local Ordinaries are to be followed.
The use of vestments, the connection with Lent and Triduum, and the limiting of the place of the sacrament to a church or oratory all seem to indicate the Church’s mind is that this sacrament is not a juridical-based effort from the start, but primarily a liturgical one.