A new Confession app is available for download in the iTunes App Store. Features include "ability to add sins not listed in standard examination of conscience," step-by-step guides to the Sacrament of Reconciliation and seven acts of contrition. The app, which was developed by Little i Apps in partnership with Catholic priests, has been officially sanctioned by the church.
Note, however, that it's designed to help users prepare for confession, not to replace in-person trips to the confessional.
The Catholic League wants to make that last part extra clear:
This application was never designed as a substitute for Confession: on the contrary, it makes it clear that only absolution by a priest in the confessional constitutes the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Even though most Internet stories mention this, many of the headlines are misleading.ABC News religion correspondent the Rev. Edward Beck thinks the app is a good thing for Catholicism:
In all seriousness, I think this app may be a boon for the sacrament. While confession (or the Sacrament of Reconciliation as we professionals are wont to call it) may be on the decline, I can attest that it remains a powerful venue for grace and healing.A reviewer at Catholic Mom tried the app and gives it a thumbs-up:
Some of my most poignant and transformative moments as a priest have occurred in a confessional, on both sides of the screen. I'm all for whatever makes it easier for others to take that cleansing plunge.
You may be skeptical about using an iPhone or iPad app to help you prepare for a sacrament. I'll admit that I was... but after having tested and thoroughly reviewed the Confession app, I'm hooked! ...New Scientist notes that confession is part of a larger trend linking faith and technology:
Along with using this app to better prepare myself to go to Confession, I plan to use this app each night as I go through my daily examination of conscience during my nighttime prayers. I'm not certain that I will actually carry it into the confessional with me, but I will immediately be using it to help myself be more receptive of the graces offered with this sacrament.
[W]hile it is the first to have been officially sanctioned by the Church, there are a host of other apps available for the digital-savvy churchgoers. iBreviary, iMass and iMissal are all iPad apps that contain the entire service of mass for Catholics and other Christians. And the Catholic Quiz app, marshalled by a fearsome-sounding digital nun called Sister Crack-Your-Knuckles, lets users brush up on their knowledge of all things Catholic. ...
The Confession app's approval forms part of a broader move by the Church to embrace new technology, following Pope Benedict's speech earlier this year at World Communications Day in which he said that Catholics should make "good use of their presence in the digital world."
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