The Vatican — the folks who brought the world the Crusades v.1-8 and the no-meat-on-Friday thing — recently approved an iPhone app that helps guide worshippers through confession.
The app, called appropriately The Confession, is described as “the perfect aid for every penitent” and offers users tips and guidelines to help them with the Sacrament of Reconciliation. It’s available through the iTunes store for a mere $1.99, so it’s not like you have to sell your soul to download it.
Fortuitously, the launch comes shortly after Pope Benedict XVI urged Christians to embrace digital communication and make their presence felt online.
In his World Communications Address on Jan. 24, Benedict encouraged young Catholics to share important information with each other online – although “sister mary frances + ruler = HAWT lol” is probably not the sort of thing he had in mind.
This is the first time the church has approved a mobile phone application, although it is not entirely unfamiliar with the digital world. In 2007, the Vatican launched its own YouTube channel. Rumors that the Holy See would soon launch an “I Can Has Communion” channel remain unsubstantiated.
News about the app made me think, what if all the digital technology that we take for granted had been around back in the day? Can you picture Jesus texting Paul: “Running late for supper – save me a seat near the middle.” Or posting on FaceBook? “SonOfGod just checked in at Golgotha.” Or updating his status? “FML – crucified – brb 3 days lol.”
Another feature of the app allows users to keep track of their sins. That made me think, if it were me keeping track of my sins on my iPhone, I would have gone for the 32-gig model and not cheaped out with the 16. As it is, I barely have room for all my music files, much less them and all my transgressions.
Although he gave the app the holy high sign, Benedict emphasized that digital communication was just one part of a much bigger picture, saying, “Virtual contact cannot and must not take the place of direct human contact.” Ironically, it’s that very “direct human contact” stuff that has gotten the church so much bad publicity over the past several years.
And speaking of irony, Il Papa has to know that this app is for use on smartphones. But I wonder if he realizes that most people protect their smartphones by keeping them … yup … in a snug little rubber wrapper.