I just came across the cannons of the First Council of the Nicea. I have to say that the practice of the early Church was rather different. I am just posting two short paragraphs to compare.
Cannon 11. Concerning those who have transgressed without necessity or the confiscation of their property or without danger or anything of this nature, as happened under the tyranny of Licinius, this holy synod decrees that, though they do not deserve leniency, nevertheless they should be treated mercifully. Those therefore among the faithful who genuinely repent shall spend three years among the hearers, for seven years they
shall be prostrators, and for two years they shall take part with the people in the prayers, though not in the offering.
Amoris Laetitiae 310.
We cannot forget that “mercy is not only the working of the Father; it becomes a criterion for knowing who his true children are. In a word, we are called to show mercy because mercy was first shown to us”. This is not sheer romanticism or a lukewarm response to God’s love, which always seeks what is best for us, for “mercy is the very foundation of the Church’s life. All of her pastoral activity should be caught up in the tenderness which she shows to believers; nothing inher preaching and her witness to the world can be lacking in mercy”. It is true that at times “we act as arbiters of grace rather than its facilitators. But the Church is not a tollhouse; it is the house of the Father, where there is a place for everyone, with all their problems”.
The Church today appears to disagree with the implementation of the pastoral practice mentioned in Nicea I as an expression of welcoming of all where they are. But are we not as Catholics returning to the times when we are a social minority…, when our exterior expression of faith needs to be more radical … Most of all however I wonder how and when did Church move away from the practice of public repentance …