Is there anything iPhone apps can't do?
Recently, an app appeared on the market that helps Catholics make a thorough confession. I've not seen the app. . .mostly b/c I don't have an iPhone. But Fr. Z. has posted a review. He notes that the app is "useful but flawed."
My worry about the app echoes his: media reports of the app confuse the fullness of the sacrament of reconciliation with the necessary preparations one makes in approaching the sacrament. Headlines all over the web blare out nonsense like "Vatican Approves iPhone App for Confession" and "Can't Make It to Confession? There's an app for that!"
No. There isn't.
The app is nothing more than an aid for preparing one's conscience for making a good confession and completing the assigned penance. It cannot substitute for the sacrament b/c only a validly ordained priest can absolve sins.
Of course, Catholics who regularly make use of The Box know this. But some might easily be deceived into thinking that checking little boxes on their iPhone and reciting the appropriate prayers will substitute for sacramental confession. It will not.
So, if you need help examining your conscience and remembering the prayers associated with confession, get a copy of the app. Use it. Then find a priest and finish the job!
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