09 February 2011

Confession App is NOT a Substitute for the Sacrament

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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  1. Amen to that, Father!

  2. C'mon Father, next you'll be telling us we have to physically attend Mass on Sunday instead of catching it via EWTN!

  3. Anonymous4:39 PM

    from Dallas:

  4. Anonymous11:01 PM

    The app called "Confession: A Roman Catholic app" is the one that all the news stories are about, however it is not the only one. The big deal, after looking at the other apps, is that "Confession: A Roman Catholic app" is the only one with a imprimatur. I have the app, I have played with it and I can say if I was a brand new convert or unfamiliar with the sacrament of confession I would think this app substituted for going to confession. It guides you through the entire process, what the priest says, what you say, what the priest says, what you say, gives you an act of contrition and then gives you a quote from the bible or from a saint to meditate on and that quote could easily be confused for penance. The others apps out there do not do all of that and are only for examining your conscious while you wait for the priest. I like the app, it's great for people like me who get really nervous when going to confession because you don't forget things.

  5. Interesting. Although I love iPhone apps, I think this confessions app might be taking it a bit far..? Seems like it takes away the tradition to the faith.