Wednesday, February 9, 2011

There's an App For That -- Confession?

In a very cleverly title story, Forgive me iPhone, For I Have Sinned, CBS news reporter, Ian Bush, looks at the new "app" to aid a penitent in the Sacrament of Confession. Bush points out that confession can be intimidating and that this new app will help Catholics "take the intimidation factor" out of confessing their sins to a priest.

Well, confession is not easy. That's certainly true. But, the fact that there is a level of guilt associated with saying one's sins out loud to a priest is part of the process. It builds character and reminds the penitent that there are consequences to committing sin -- one of them is recognizing that saying your faults out loud is humiliating. But, hopefully, it is also life changing as a result of receiving the grace that flows from Jesus Christ through the sacrament. The more frequently one attends confession, the less intimidating the act of confessing one's sins becomes. And, the more regularly one goes, the more comfortable one becomes with the process, as well.

The iPhone app is just another technological crutch for those who visit the sacrament infrequently. What it provides on the touch screen of the device is readily available in the walls of nearly all confessionals -- the procedure and prayers necessary to make a good confession from start to finish -- no app necessary.

Fr. Jerry Wild of Temple University's Newman Center offers, "We certainly live in a technological age, so the Church has to be aware of that and respond to that reality." There is truth to that statement, but when technology must accompany a person into the confessional to provide a sense of security, I think we need to address the problem of attachment to technology -- which, in itself, becomes the stuff of habitual sin.

I'm not sure the iPhone app is responding to a need, or creating a dependence.


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