What is the Church driving at in the communal form? Here is the justification:
22. When a number of penitents assemble at the same time to receive sacramental reconciliation, it is fitting that they be prepared for the sacrament by a celebration of the word of God. Those who will receive the sacrament at another time may also take part in the service. Communal celebration shows more clearly the ecclesial nature of penance. The faithful listen together to the word of God, which as it proclaims his mercy invites them to conversion; at the same time they examine the conformity of their lives with that word of God and help each other through common prayer. After confessing and being absolved individually, all join in praising God together for his wonderful deeds on behalf of the people he has gained for himself through the blood of his Son. If necessary, several priests should be available in suitable places to hear individual confessions and to reconcile the penitents.
Note these important values:
- A word service functions as a spiritual barometer by which to measure conformity to God.
- The communal nature of penance is more clearly shown in form II, especially in the shared experience of mercy and praise