Most Catholics just give a sigh when they think of Confession. There was an effort to renew the rite in 1977 or so but it did not make much difference. Many have recourse to Confession only in times of crisis, such as when they are gravely ill.
I just stumbled on a piece by Jakob Baumgartner (Theologisch-praktische Quartalschrift 1990:2) on how rapturously the ritual for general absolution was received in Switzerland and how a nervous Vatican clamped down. The new Code of Canon Law whittles this possibility of restoring the Sacrament of Penance down to nothing; moreover, those who receive general absolution have to confess their sins individually anyway within a year; Trent trumps Vatican II once again. Baumgarten asks "if such control of their behavior can still be understood and accepted by contemporary people."
I don't know what are the most signal developments on this front in the last 20 years. JP2 and B16 put all their eggs in the basket of individual confession, but their strategy has not been noticeably successful. For very many Catholics now, Penance is a dead duck.
Jean-François Garneau replied to me, on Facebook, as follows: 'I tend to side with Trent. I'm sufficiently quietist not to worry too much about it being given collectively (i.e.: I believe that God loves and forgives unconditionally anyway, the point of the sacrament is to be reminded of it and what it does TO US), but I have difficulty seeing the sacrament fully embodied without it happening on a one on one basis. It's like psychoanalysis or a declaration of love. Some of these things don't work unless they're done in private and on a one-on-one basis.'
Well, yes and no. Individual confession is in crisis because of the stalemate between the laity and clerical officialdom about sexual ethics, and also because the infantilization characteristic of the decadent way the sacrament was celebrated is so hard to overcome. General absolution was provided in cases of necessity, which was interpreted to include moral necessity -- the case where individuals cannot in conscience feel that private confession can be performed by them in a genuine and mature and free way. The Swiss bishops were happy that general absolution was renewing a culture of penance within the Church, keeping alive a sense of sin, etc., but the Vatican would not buy this.
In fact, private confession could make a comeback as a supplement to the general absolution. As it is, private confession has become a rarity. It is a case of cutting off one's nose to spite one's face, an unwise pastoral decision -- especially as general absolution in cases of necessity was a long-honored, positive tradition in the Church, especially in the trenches of World War I.