Bless me iPhone for I have sinned, it’s been 4 calls since my last confession…..
Ok, penance doesn’t quite exactly start like that, but it just might over the next few months.
The NY Daily News reports that the Vatican has surprisingly given its approval for a new “Confession” application for Apple iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch. Patrick Leinen of the company Little iApps which created the app, based in South Bend, Indiana says their intention blends old school religion with new gadgetry:
“Our desire is to invite Catholics to engage in their faith through digital technology,” explains Leinen. “Taking to heart Pope Benedict XVI’s message from last years’ World Communications Address, our goal with this project is to offer a digital application that is truly ‘new media at the service of the word.”
Little iApps says that Bishop Kevin Rhoades of the Diocese of Fort Wayne in Indiana, officially authorized the app for Catholics to use. The app is possibly an answer to Pope Benedict XVI’s plea at a recent World Communications Address on January 24 in which he stressed the need for a Christian presence in the digital world.
As a parent, I have a problem with this. I am all for technology and I’ll be the first one to admit my addiction to my beloved laptop and Blackberry. Yet, to me this app takes all the spirituality out of the sacrament of reconciliation.
My son made his First Penance just a few months ago. He studied and prepared for it for months. During one of the many parent practices, the priests emphasized the importance of being a role model for your kids, how we should all go to confession, go to mass, receive Holy Communion regularly, and do everything we are asking our kids to do. How would that be possible if adults are allowed to confess mortal sins in the form of a text message but kids are expected to sit face-to-face and admit wrong doings to a priest?
Another issue is that it takes away from the holiness of the sacrament. My sons was so nervous to make his First Penance. He asked me several times, ‘what will I say’, ‘what if I forget my Act of Contrition’, and other questions that made him anxious. He was so proud coming out of the confessional and told me how he just talked to Father Mike. Now he is so at ease with chatting with the priest, I’m convinced he nearly talks Father Mike’s ear off with his tales.
With an already shady record of reporting sexual abuse by priests, this text message options lends itself to an air of secrecy the church probably doesn’t need.
The app will cost $1.99 and the exact information on who the text message confessions will go to is still in the works.
What do you think? Is this a convenience for busy Catholics or it just simply strange?