I don’t know if you heard the news today. The Vatican has released an I-tunes application called Confession, for $1.99; it has been billed as “the perfect aid for every penitent”. It lets you pick a commandment and list all your sins, keeping a running tally to bring into the confession booth with you. Why couldn’t I have thought of that?
If you can’t find your particular transgression on the sin scroll, no worries. You are able to add you own specific misdeed, customize your very own naughty list. In fact, the app walks the user through the sacrament of reconciliation (the more recent title for the sacrament of confession).
You can examine your conscience based on personalized factors such as age, sex, or marital status.
It’s actually quite brilliant. In an age when the number of Catholics that actually go to confession on a regular basis has been steadily declining, this may very well be the fresh air that blows the cob webs out of the confessional.
While the Roman Catholic Church has been unapologetically slow in moving into other areas of mainstream modernity (women as religious leaders, married clergy, birth control, to name a few), it has decidedly embraced the toys of technology and blessed the good works of social networking.
Pope Benedict XVI, in his World Communications Address on Jan. 24th, said it was not a sin to use social networking sites, “I invite young people above all to make good use of their presence in the digital world.” While the pope sanctioned these new tools for salvation, he added, “It is important to remember that virtual contact cannot and must not take the place of direct human contact with people at every level of our lives.”
Words of wisdom to be sure.
Yet, with information flying at us, all clamoring for our attention, “Confession” is designed to keep the user mindful of one’s individual and personal Catholic faith journey. For instance, for reviewing the 1st Commandment, “I am the Lord thy God, thou shall have no other Gods before me”, you are given a check list that includes these questions, “Do I not give God time every day in prayer?”, “Do I not seek to love Him with my whole heart?”, “Have I been involved with superstitious practices or have I been involved with the occult?”, and “Do I not seek to surrender myself to God’s Word as taught by the Church?”
As a sinner myself, I know my own too human tendency to let myself off the hook, to not only forgive my trespasses, but simply just forget ’em. Perhaps daily prompts on an I-phone could get us one step closer to holiness? Personally, I’m all for ways for us to engage in our faith journeys more fully and daily…and it these ways are fun and include colorful graphics, all the better.
And one more plus, it was made in the US of A (Indiana to be exact…America’s heartland). Gotta love it.