Having just read Calvin on this issue, I have been alerted to the reintroduction of this doctrine to the Roman Catholic Church, which was removed during the reforms of Vatican II in the 60’s.
To be honest this concerns me greatly. It further reduces the insignificance of Jesus Christ’s substitutionary death on the cross.
The article mentions that one of the reasons for bringing the doctrine back is to make people more aware of their personal sin. Preaching the Gospel form the word of God does that through the work of the Spirit in some ones life.
In addition to that it was to combat the culture of pop-psychology and self-help fixes. In my opinion, indulgences leading to penance are a sort of self-help scheme in them self. The sense that you have in some way crontibuted to God granting you forgivness by doing a certain action (confession at least once a year) feeds into that self-help, self centred culture.
Confession should be part of the believers life, daily, not to a human priest but to our great High Priest, Jesus (Heb 4:14-15), who has given us direct access to the father who will forgive us our sin (1 John 1:9). This confession is not in order to gain salvation, but to acknowledge our failure before God and seek for his Spirit to transform our lives to live a life holy and blameless in thankfulness for all that He has done.
(h/t: Josh Harris)