The Catholic Church is embracing the burgeoning digital world and encouraging its followers to do the same. With its own You Tube channel and Facebook page (hopefully this won’t encourage a host of Catholics with eating disorders), the Holy See believes that technology and Catholicism can be mutually beneficial. Which is why Bishop Kevin Rhoades of the Fort Wayne Diocese approved the iPhone confession app created by Patrick Leinen of Little iApps in Indiana. Too cold or too lazy to drive to Church? Pick up your iPhone instead, and save some greenhouse gas emissions while you’re at it.
For less than $2, penitent Catholics can purchase the app and confess their sins. The software includes a list of the ten commandments and a menu of possible transgressions. Simply tick off the sin that best applies and the confession is complete.
If a particular sin is not available, users may create their own. For a random selection, sinning Catholics need only shake the phone until one shows up.
Engadget readers responded with more than a touch of sarcasm to this news.
One reader noted, “Besides, everybody knows God uses Android.” Another asked if there is an option for molesting choirboys.
A more discerning reader, Scott Foshizzle Thompson pointed out that “It’s just a guideline to use during confession.”
Indeed, the Catholic Church is not opposed to technology, but it is also careful to point out that it must not take precedence over our humanity.
According to the BBC:
In his World Communications Address on 24 January, Pope Benedict XVI said it was not a sin to use social networking sites but urged users to maintain their perspective.
“It is important always to remember that virtual contact cannot and must not take the place of direct human contact with people at every level of our lives,” he said.
A spokesperson from the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales told BBC News the app was a “useful tool to help people prepare for the Sacrament of Reconciliation.”
One hopes that the list of sins won’t create a new realm of possibility for wayward Catholics, or that recovering Catholics will resist the temptation to clock up as many sins as possible. Stranger things have happened, like confessing to a phone.
More on the intersection of religion and the environment.