"The Vatican" announced Cardinal O'Brien will not be retiring comfortably to his little cottage in Dunbar on the North Sea, but rather going away for spiritual renewal and penance. The story here. I wondered, 'couldn't he just do penance at home and do so privately?' Their sins were made public and were a source of grave, public scandal - hence, public penance.
That is what the former porn star, Jake Genesis is doing with his public apology, which I posted on yesterday. His apology is public because his sin was public.
"So I am on a very personal journey. It is a journey of reconciliation, forgiveness, and redemption. Anyone who has followed my career knows that I am a Catholic. As such, the path to reconciliation with God and with the Church is relatively clear: through the ministry of the Church God’s mercy is infinite and His love with without limit. Forgiving myself for what I have done and finding the humility and the words to seek the forgiveness of others is another, more difficult matter." - Genesis
Which reminds me, today is also the feast of St. Margaret of Cortona - a penitent saint. She led a life of public scandal and did penance the rest of her life.
I think doing penance - living a penitential life, is far better than writing your conversion story and making a living from the lecture circuit telling everyone about your sinful life and making money from it. There was a priest who did that once, and his ministry came to nothing.
"Penance, penance, penance!" - The angel at Fatima.
"So it was that he saw himself essentially as a “penitent,” as it were, in a permanent state of conversion. Abandoning himself to the Holy Spirit’s action, Francis was converted ever more closely to Christ, transformed into a living image of him on the paths of poverty, love and mission." (Pope Benedict XVI, Assisi, 17 July 2007)
"Most High, Glorious God, enlighten the darkness of my mind, give me right faith, a firm hope and perfect charity, so that I may always and in all things act according to Your Holy Will. Amen." (Saint Francis's prayer before the San Damiano Crucifix) - Source
Since we pray for the souls in Purgatory, perhaps we should pray for the penitents as well - that they persevere and avoid seeking out celebrity for their conversion.