iPhone confession app for sinners on the go


37 Responses to “iPhone confession app for sinners on the go”

  1. dp1974 says:

    Much as it makes for great, perhaps even divine, comedy, the suggestion that it replaces confession as sacrament is not, as much as I am loathe to point out, doctrinally accurate.

    It smacks of a strategy to leverage techne in the service of insitutional renewal.

    I’ve written a little on this and the comparison of the app to the Jesuit Spiritual Exercises over at the Religital blog:


  2. johnphantom says:

    Just as an aside: I have been to the Vatican. I found it’s wealth to be physically revolting, like the larger than life gold Grim Reaper with a flowing marble cloak – hell, you had to “donate” a coin to light an electric candle. I wanted to piss in the holy water, to tell you the truth. I’ll never go back.

    • Mister44 says:

      re: “I have been to the Vatican. I found it’s wealth to be physically revolting,”

      Why? You stick around for 2000 years and you will have some nice stuff too.

      I guess you found the Uffizi and Doge’s Palace as revolting?

      @toyg – because the media sucks. It assumes everyone is an idiot and dumbs the news down the tabloid level. No one wants to read an in depth article on the origins of the unrest in Egypt. They want big, sensational headlines, sports, and what the pretty people are doing.

      • johnphantom says:

        It comes under the heading of hypocrisy. Something along the lines of “they may call themselves Christian, but they are not much like Christ.”

        • Mister44 says:

          Yes, you can say that about every single Christian.

          1) The Church is one of the few entities that kept up things like literacy and using books for other things besides toilet paper during the Dark Ages.

          2) The fancy paintings and architecture are supposed to be in Glory to God. If you believed in a deity, you might want to make his house bad ass as well. From a purely artistic standpoint, it would be a tragedy if one were to get rid of the art.

          3) With wealth they are able to do more good throughout the world (missionaries, homeless shelters, hospitals, etc)

  3. toyg says:

    I don’t know why the media are trying to spin this as a “technology vs Vatican” story. From the appstore description:

    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.

  4. asbuuu says:

    Great, just in time for these guys to use it:

    Oh wait! They are on the other side of the screen. Oh well.

  5. aelfscine says:

    Just because it’s real doesn’t mean it’s still not a joke.

  6. Caroline says:

    For the record, you don’t actually submit your confession online. This app is just to help you prepare for confession — think about what you want to confess, remind you of what to expect during confession, etc. It’s basically an iPhone version of the little booklets some churches give out. You still talk to the priest in person as usual (behind a little screen or face-to-face — it’s done both ways).

    • Mister44 says:

      Oh come now. Don’t read the whole article! The headline is suffice to know everything about it.

      • Caroline says:

        A lot of the articles — including the press release on the app website — still don’t make it clear that this app is for preparing for a normal in-person confession, not confessing via iPhone.

        It’s amusing to imagine confessing by iPhone, sure, but this is not that. And after the 2343948394th joke article about “just submit your sins online!”, I have to start saying “…You do know that isn’t true, right?”

        (I’m a lapsed Catholic, but I still have an inner Catholicism nerd who jumps out whenever misconceptions about Catholic doctrine pop up. It’s funny because it’s not “OMG BLASPHEMY”, but “Get your blasphemy right, jeez.”)

    • robulus says:

      “You still talk to the priest in person as usual (behind a little screen or face-to-face — it’s done both ways).”

      In Australia the Priest absolves the whole congregation in one go. It’s very efficient. The Pope is quite annoyed about it, apparently its only supposed to be done in emergencies, like when your ship is sinking.

      Yay Australia.

      • teapot says:

        The Vatican has supposedly disapproved of this app, though I’m not totally sure they even tried it out.


        @robulus: Fuck the pope. That senile old fart is tacitly responsible for hundreds of thousands of deaths due to STDs. Not to mention us lazy Aussies are all about reducing workload wherever possible. How are we gonna find the time to ride around in the pouches of kangaroos if we also have to wait in line to be absolved of our sins individually? Insanity!

        Best part: They are charging double what most basic apps cost ($1.99).
        @bob: Finally an act of piracy that can lead to itself being forgiven!

        • robulus says:

          “Fuck the pope.”

          If Pell would just STFU the Pope probably wouldn’t even remember we existed, and we could get on with practising Catholicism like the skallywags and ne’re-do-wells we are.

        • Mister44 says:

          re: “That senile old fart is tacitly responsible for hundreds of thousands of deaths due to STDs. ”

          How the hell do you figure that? If you are contracting an STD, you are most likely having sex outside of marriage. Sooo hey, if you’re committing sin, whats one more?

          • teapot says:

            When the Vatican has long maintained their disapproval of condom use it is hard to not blame its figurehead. Furthermore AFAIK the catholic church opposes ALL condom use.. not just use outside of marriage.

            My question: if unprotected sex is a sin because you are supposedly committing premeditated murder, does the catholic church approve of ejaculating all over your partner’s face? What if your partner is starving? Surely then it’s a charitable action.

            Catho-baiting is the bestest sport.

          • robulus says:

            “My question: if unprotected sex is a sin because you are supposedly committing premeditated murder, does the catholic church approve of ejaculating all over your partner’s face?”

            As long as you insist you were making a fair attempt at procreation. They’re very forgiving.

            “Catho-baiting is the bestest sport.”

            Puhleeese. You obviously haven’t checked out this thread.

          • Mister44 says:

            Oh – where to begin…

            Yes it opposes condom use – as sex should be between a married couple and they should welcome the gift of a child. Life is scared etc etc. That is how they see it. By ‘they’ I mean the official doctrine. There are factions within the church that want it changed.

            It isn’t premeditated murder, and I am pretty sure the rest is just trolling so.

            Oh and just recently they loosened their opposition to them in some circumstances: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/religion/the-pope/8148899/Pope-approves-use-of-condoms-in-fight-against-Aids.html

          • Antinous / Moderator says:

            The Vatican denied that the Pope approved condom use after that news story came out. And the Pope went on a tour of Africa and told people not to use condoms for any reason, ever. Satan himself could pick up tips from that man.

          • Mister44 says:

            re: condom use – didn’t see that. Must not have been such a good headline and didn’t see it pop up.

            re: Africa

            Now I want to say at the start, I support condom use for whatever. Especially water balloons. But their position isn’t so crazy when you look at it.

            I wrote a big long letter to a friend one time about this. It was a lively discussion. Oh I found it…. much too long and a lot of cussing…

            Anyway – people look at this through western eyes and Africa is not a western country. Their culture is different. Rape and abundant and monogamy is rare – hence the rampant AIDs. Others are teaching condom use – it just isn’t working that well.

            So instead of trying to band-aid the symptom, they are going after the problem – trying to create a paradigm shift where monogamy is valued and rape is not and abstinence is practiced.

            Neither method is working that well, but there are pockets in both camps that have shown improvement. I don’t know the solution, but I don’t think it will change until the people of Africa all decide spreading AIDs is bad and does something about it.

          • Anonymous says:

            “How the hell do you figure that? If you are contracting an STD, you are most likely having sex outside of marriage.”

            Tell that epistemological fallacy to the thousands of women in African countries who have contracted HIV/AIDS from their husbands.

        • robulus says:

          “The Vatican has supposedly disapproved of this app”

          There’s just no pleasing those guys.

  7. abulafia says:

    Is this just for the iPhone, or can priests load it onto their iPaeds?

  8. Donald Petersen says:

    It occurs to me that it must be increasingly difficult to preserve the majesty and mystery of the Church, if it tries to adopt more modern technology in an effort to reach more of the world.

    All the nifty gorgeousness of ecclesiastical art and its awe-inspiring cultural influence seems to have come from centuries past. Whenever a sect tries to modernize its approach, either directly or indirectly (and since this app has received a bishop’s imprimatur, it ain’t exactly unofficial), it makes it even harder for me to take them seriously.

    From the linked article:

    For the 45th World Communications Day address, Pope Benedict XVI emphasized that new media, “if used wisely, can contribute to the satisfaction of the desire for meaning, truth and unity which remain the most profound aspirations of each human being.”

    Are they in danger of losing all their woo in favor of technological relevance? I always felt that the very obsolescence of religion held most of its appeal to the masses. Mystery, timelessness, eternal wisdom and salvation.

    Heck, at least the pre-Vatican II hucksterism used real gilding.

  9. Mark Dow says:

    “I will go to hell.” Huck Finn

  10. Anonymous says:

    To echo Caroline’s comment, this is an examination of conscience and an outline of how the sacrament is celebrated — not a substitute for in-person confession.

  11. webarnes says:

    Why is this a story? It has crossed every blog I read in the past week and I just don’t understand the appeal. It’s an app that is basically a prayer book and a notepad…

    The only interesting thing about this story is the fact that so many people find it interesting.

  12. Ranting Nerd says:

    Gosh, I’m feeling old! Everywhere I see this story, no one seems to remember either (a) Umberto Eco’s article from 1994 about which religions PCs and Macs represented: http://www.themodernword.com/eco/eco_mac_vs_pc.html; or (b) the similar-vintage “Microsoft Bids to Aquire Catholic Church” April Fool’s joke (which predates the Onion): http://www.april-fools.us/microsoft-catholic-church.htm

    Life does imitate art!

  13. voiceinthedistance says:

    It would almost be worth converting, if it were required, just to have a pocket reference with radio buttons for every imaginable sin. The fact that you don’t have to show your Catholic ID card to download the app makes it a no brainer. I can’t imagine how many times I’m going to find it handy to have a quick prod when I am looking for another sin to commit on a given day. No more mental blocks standing in my way.

    • BookGuy says:

      Ideally they’ll come out with an augmented reality update so it can also make suggestions about where sins might be committed.

  14. bob cooley says:

    Best part: They are charging double what most basic apps cost ($1.99).

    I love being a recovering catholic…

  15. irksome says:

    Coming soon: iGuilt and iShame.

  16. RikF says:

    Ah, the Catholic Church – supporting advances in technology everywhere, just as long as they improve the afterlife and not this life.

  17. teapot says:

    I just randomly found this image of what looks like the pope exhaling a killer bong hit:


  18. rebeckyleigh says:

    I don’t understand why this app is such a big story. It’s a way to PREPARE for confession, not a stand-in for confession. Why mock others’ faith or their personal examinations of conscience?

  19. alexsmth says:

    Nice new app from apple, keep them coming apple, thanks for sharing!!..

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