Here’s the spectre of Derrida speaking:
“… scenes of public repentance and pleas for forgiveness abound today, sometimes seeming to innovate in descending from the summits of the state, from the head or chief of state, sometimes also from the highest authorities of church, country, or nation state (France, Poland, Germany, not yet the Vatican)…”
(Jacques Derrida, Literature in Secret (U o Chicago, 2008): 140)
So, nothing much has changed since Jacques left this mortal coil. He goes on to point out that, occasionally, even God repents when He fucks up:
“… didn’t Yahweh go back on his error after the flood? Didn’t he take it back? Didn’t he repent, as though asking for forgiveness, in fact regretting the evil of a curse that he had pronounced… didn’t he renounce the evil he had committed and the curse preceding that?… God undertakes therefore to do no more what he has done. What he has done will have been the evil of a misdeed, an evil never to be repeated, and so having to be forgiven, even if by himself.” (141-142)
Now, that could be a precedent that even the Pope might deign to follow. Maybe.