I've heard of churches in the South that oblige people to make a public confession of their graver sins to the whole congregation. I think sometimes there might be an advantage in making people aware of how worn and stale these old transgressions are. It might take some of the shine off them, for those who are tempted. But I have no evidence to suggest it has that effect.
Marilynne Robinson, from her Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, Gilead