In 2008, over coffee with some members of the clergy as well as youth ministry leadership, I predicted that in a couple of years sacraments will be aided by social media, and that the most personal of all sacraments – confession – will make use of the digital age.
I still remember the raging conversation that followed, with a diverse array of people for, against and confused about the idea. ‘Sacrilige’, one said, and went on to say the grace and mercy of Christ cannot be transmitted through fibre optics, it requires a personal interaction between a priest and a penitent.
‘Nonsense’, said another, elaborating that while the personal act is required, there is nothing wrong with using all media to bring the penitent to repent. In fact, St. Paul in all his letters kept calling the Gentiles to repent and evangelised through them.
This week, in something that has shocked conservatives and delighted proponents of social and digital Christian ministries, the first official app for Confessions was launched WITH the approval of the Catholic Church.
For the largest body of Christian believers on the planet to approve this is a testament to the works of God among youth today.
The company that created the app – Little iApps – is a three-man team led by Patrick Leinen, and claims to be a company “with a Roman Catholic twist”. Patrick said ‘his team had wanted to engage Catholics with new media in response to the Pope’s World Communications Address last year, in which he spoke of its potential benefits”. (Full report here.)
The app itself creates a customised and password-protected “examination of conscience” based on a person’s age, sex, vocation and the time elapsed, in days, weeks, months or years, since the last confession. It is designed NOT to replace the actual sacrament, but to aid penitential Christians to do a good examination of conscience and then encourages them to go for the actual sacrament.
It also has seven acts of contrition to choose from, all for $1.99.
Bishop Kevin Rhoades even granted it an imprimatur – official endorsement from a church authority!
Below is a screenshot.
What do you think?