According to a bloke I know (ex-priest, still catholic) it’s not quite that simple.
Priests are supposed to do God’s work on earth, and god is supposed to be infinitely forgiving beyond the comprehension of humans. So yes, god WILL forgive transgression and transgression after lapse after lapse - if those lapses and transgressions are sincerely repented for. Cos it’s catholic doctrine that we are all flawed and weak and the temptation of sin is constant, and we probably will succumb at times. But god is supposed to know your innermost self, and if some child molester is all just rocking up to confession once a week and confessing everything just to get the seal of approval from the priest that all is hunky dory but with no intention of changing his ways - well, it doesn’t work like that and god isn’t fooled. Cos the most important part of the rite of confession is the demand and sincere desire for repentance.
Of course, from the priest’s point of view, the priest is entitled to assign penance. Most often it’s just ‘say 10 hail mary’s’ for minor stuff, but they really have carte blanche about what to assign (I assume there is doctrine saying what penances are appropriate for what sins, but I don’t know what that is). Priests will rarely assign penances that are too brutal or arduous, because the purpose of a priest is supposed to be to bring his congregation closer to god, and a assigning a penance that is so severe that the penitent would be unlikely to do it is counterproductive to that aim. But when a priest is hearing the confession of a child molester they COULD theoretically assign a penance of ‘go hand yourself in to the cops’, or somewhat less arduously ‘go join a cloistered monastic order and never have unsupervised contact with children again’, for example. If these priests were indeed confessing their abuses (which i have no idea of one way or the other), then these preventative penances obviously were either not assigned or not adhered to.