You shall not make for yourself a false iDol

February 10, 2011 § Leave a comment

Or should that be a fully lowercase idol? If you’re so wrapped up in your new technology you haven’t got time to confess the answer may have arrived – in the form of the Roman Catholic-approved iPhone, iPod and iPad App ‘Confession’, available for the bargain price of £1.19.

Launch screen of iPhone

Launch screen of iPhone App Confession

The developers, Little iApps, have achieved fame by having the first app sanctioned by the church. They told Reuters they wanted everyone to have a “personalised examination of conscience”.

The religious user is led through the sacrament, a number of questions designed to help them keep track of their sins, and to help them prepare for the Rite of Penance. It also takes into account their sex, marital status and age.

Developer Patrick Leinen said: “Our desire is to invite Catholics to engage in their faith through digital technology.” The team wants their customers to use the app on the go and then seek out their priest for absolution at a later date.

Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades of Fort Wayne-South Bend was the priest who gave the approval, known as an imprimatur, which is believed to be part of the church’s efforts to immerse itself in modern society.

Confession app

Confession App - the first sacrament

A spokesperson from The Catholic Bishops Conference of England and Wales said: “The Church believes in embracing new technology and this creative app will hopefully help people to make a good confession.”

“It makes me evaluate my personal situation in life,” Melanie Williams, a 17 year old student at a school in America, told the Catholic News Service. “My favorite part is definitely the inspirational quote that pops up after you have gone to confession.”

While it’s gone down well with the tech-savvy youngsters of the church, some members have their reservations. As Peter Stanford, the former editor of the Catholic Herald, said on 8 February on BBC Radio 4’s The World Tonight: “It seems to me to be a very extreme step forward. If you think about what the Catholic theology idea is that the priest intercedes between you and God… that kind of human element is very important.”

Luckily, the app is password-protected and all that remains after your admissions are some personal details. These include your name, age and, unfortunately for those with more sporadic confessional styles, the date of your last confession.

Not Catholic? Other religious apps are available from a number of sites, and include such classics as the Holy Bible (free), the Quar’an ($1.19) and the iTorah, which comes in at a whopping $16 to $20!

Images from Little iApps website gallery.

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