Implementing an ecumenical council takes a long time, some say over 100 years and several generations. For every several steps forward, there are a few steps back. The new translation for the Rite of Penance seems to me to be a step back. In 1973, the Church revised the Rite of Penance in accord with the liturgical reforms of the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965). Gone were prayers that referred to the fear of punishment as motivation and sin as offending God. Rather the focus was on mercy and sin as our failure to love God.
In the 2022 translation that goes into effect this Lent, the idea of offending God is back in some of the prayers as well as the fear of punishment as the motivation for sorrow. The notion of sin offending God was very strong in the medieval church. From it developed the theology of atonement. Nevertheless, it also made God seem mean and angry. I think sin saddens God; I am not sure I would say it offends God.
I affirm the teaching of the Church that states, “Since every sin is an offence against God which disrupts our friendship with him, the ultimate purpose of penance is that we should love God deeply and commit ourselves completely to him” (Lumen Gentium 8). However, an offence against God is different from saying sin offends God. Maybe my struggle is comparing what human beings do when they feel offended. Often, we get angry and react harshly. I should not place a human response on God. I think God reacts possibly with sadness, but also with mercy and forgiveness.
The Rite has many options for the act of contrition, including the penitent just praying from their heart. You probably will not hear me using those that talk of offending God or God’s just punishment. Other changes in the translation are rather nice. As always, steps forward, steps back.