Why — yes, yes, it’s true. There’s now a Confessional app for the iPhone.
No, this isn’t like those special websites where you “confess” your erotic adventures and attract legions of Ukranian girls who want to “find love” with you, if you’ll just send them your social security number and banking information. Nope; this kind of confession is the usual kind — as in, the kind for us Catholics. It’s called Confession: A Roman Catholic App, and it’s weird. Just plain weird.
Still, it’s not nearly as scandalous as it may seem. In fact, it only mostly seems like it was invented by Father Guido Sarducci. Gothamist may headline its piece on the matter “Sorry, Confessing Your Sins To An iPhone Doesn’t Count,” but the sales copy makes it very clear what the $1.99 app is for — and it’s not meant to be your RoboPriest:
Designed to be used in the confessional, this app is the perfect aid for every penitent. With a personalized examination of conscience for each user, password protected profiles, and a step-by-step guide to the sacrament, this app invites Catholics to prayerfully prepare for and participate in the Rite of Penance. Individuals who have been away from the sacrament for some time will find Confession: A Roman Catholic App to be a useful and inviting tool.
The text of this app was developed in collaboration with Rev. Thomas G. Weinandy, OFM, Executive Director of the Secretariat for Doctrine and Pastoral Practices of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, and Rev. Dan Scheidt, pastor of Queen of Peace Catholic Church in Mishawaka, IN. The app received an imprimatur from Bishop Kevin C. Rhodes of the Diocese of Fort Wayne – South Bend. It is the first known imprimatur to be given for an iPhone/iPad app.
From one of our users which we stand by:
it does not and can not take the place of confessing before a validly ordained Roman Catholic priest in a Confessional, in person, either face to face, or behind the screen. Why? Because the Congregation on Divine Worship and the Sacraments has long ruled that Confessions by electronic media are invalid and that ABSOLUTION BY THE PRIEST must be given in person because the Seal of the Confessional must be Protected and for the Sacrament to be valid there has to be both the matter and the form which means THE PRIEST.
So…no, you can’t get absolution by talking to your iPhone, or even talking to a priest on the phone. The Vatican even issued a statement to that effect. They sez that you still gotta go see the priest.
And if you think that makes it all not really that much less creepy, I’m with you.
Though I’ll admit, I’m very attracted by the app’s “Ability to add sins not listed in standard examination of conscience.” I mean…guys like me could have a lot of fun with that, right? Am I right?