An apology is a statement that acknowledges offence or failure accompanied by an expression of regret. Psychological research adds features found to be effective in the sense that most people will accept the apology.
When the offense causes some difficulty, reputable businesses make amends. For example, after incorrect ticketing in China, I was moved to business class–too bad it was only an hour flight! Larger offenses cause more distress and law suits are costly.
Canadian leaders apologized for the way early Canadians ill-treated First Nations People in residential schools. Many of the schools were religious. Catholic leaders apologized for clergy sexual abuse of children and cover-ups. From time to time religious leaders admit to sexual infidelity.
Apologies usually work as a package.
People receiving an apology often need several items to be present to forgive the offense. Keep in mind that apologies do not always work. And the setting needs to be safe for all involved. Finally, in serious matters, consult an attorney.
Sutton, G. W. (2016). A house divided: Sexuality, morality, and Christian cultures. Eugene, OR: . ISBN: 9781498224888
Thomas, E. K., & Sutton, G.W. (2008). Religious leadership failure: Forgiveness, apology, and restitution. , 10, 308-327.
Thomas, E. K., White, K., & Sutton, G.W. (2008). Religious leadership failure: Apology, responsibility-taking, gender, forgiveness, and restoration. , 27, 16-29.