Sinned Lately? There's a Vatican-Approved App for That

By Shannon Palus | February 8, 2011 6:21 pm

First, people chiseled the word of god on stone tablets, then the printing press came along and enabled things like religious flyers, handed out to innocent bypasser on street corners. As of today, the ten commandments are available in a handy Vatican-approved iPhone app.

This interactive app helps Catholics prepare for confession with a handy checklist that asks questions such as, “Have I harbored hatred in my heart?”, and “Have I abused alcohol or drugs?”. It’s so hard to remember things these days. Have you ever been angry or resentful? Not sure? You wish you had a checklist to consult, right?

Confession: A Roman Catholic App was developed by Little iApps (it appears to be the sole product that their website offers).

“I was a bit skeptical at first, thinking Now how in blue blazes is it even a good idea, let alone approved by a bishop, for an iPhone or iPad to hear my con­fes­sion? No freakin’ way!,” explains a reverend named Jeffery Grace, from Los Angeles, on the company’s testimonials page. But he adds that once he realized that the app didn’t actually hear confessions–instead it helps the user through an examination of con­science–he warmed to it. Lisa Hendley of catholicmom.com also testifies: “I’m hooked!”

The press release explains that the app’s release “follows directly on the heels of Pope Benedict’s message for the 45th World Communications Day address.” But the app seems to be more about self reflection–as Popular Science puts it, helping people “enumerate their spiritual shortcomings and make sure nothing is forgotten when the get into the booth”–than about the transmission of knowledge and social networking that the Pope spoke about in his address.

The Pope brought up a few timeless questions in his address, ones that perhaps get only harder to answer as we rack up friends on Facebook: “Is there is a risk of being more distracted because our attention is fragmented and absorbed in a world ‘other’ than the one in which we live? Do we have time to reflect critically on our choices and to foster human relationships which are truly deep and lasting?”

I don’t know, but I’d like an app for that.

Related Content:
Discoblog: Coming Soon to the Internets: Digitized Dead Sea Scrolls
Discoblog: Shocker: Inventor of DIY Holy Water Device Charged With Fraud
Discoblog: New Service Allows People to Twitter Their Prayers to Jerusalem’s Western Wall
Discoblog: Super-Size Me, Jesus: Last Suppers in Paintings Have Gotten Bigger

Image: Little iApps

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Technology Attacks!
  • roughmixer1

    So, why don’t they now line up a bunch of anonymous priests at South Bend to “hear” and hand out absolution for another $1.99 and save everyone time, gas and unnecesary guilt? How about another $1.99 for some kind of glorious Indulgence like in the old days? Or maybe a two for one at $3.99?

  • T.Nortem

    Thank you for covering the news of this Catholic dip into iPhone technology, but I have to admit that the style and tone of this piece is not only irreverent, but downright insulting to every science-reading Catholic out there. Here are a few examples:

    1.) “people chiseled the word of god on stone tablets” The article starts off assuming that the reader is an atheist, that s/he doesn’t believe in God–that is, that the Ten Commandments weren’t handed to humanity by God, but merely chiseled by humans. This view is further entrenched by not giving a respectful capitalization to words like “God” or “Ten Commandments.”

    2.) “enabled things like religious flyers, handed out to innocent bypasser[s]” The realm of religious flyers on street corners is usually frequented by fundamentalists, not Roman Catholics, but that’s not my main concern here–my main concern is your implicit message that these ‘flyer people’ are doing something wrong by handing out flyers, by subjecting these “innocent byspasser[s]” to their views. I don’t appreciate these flyers much myself, but that doesn’t mean these people don’t have a right to profess their faith in God. To imply that what their doing is morally wrong is itself wrong. (I.e. By setting up the bypassers as innocent, you’re implying that the ‘flyer people’ are somehow committing a crime against these ‘innocent’ people; it’s a rhetorical structure.)

    Other news outlets have reported these same findings, but they’ve done it in a clear, non-biased manner: (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-12391129 or http://www.nydailynews.com/tech_guide/2011/02/07/2011-02-07_forgive_me_iphone_new_app_okayed_by_catholic_church.html)

    I’m not asking for DISCOVER to endorse Catholocism or any religion–I’m just asking that it write its news in an un-biased manner…something this article is not. Sadly, this article emphasizes the worn out, wrong view that belief in God and knowledge of science are mutually exclusive. As a newly-minted college physics professor and a practicing Catholic, I can attest that they are not. Bottom line: please show some respect to those who love science and believe in God.

  • Peg

    Oh for pity’s sake, roughmixer1. Get over your 500 year old prejudice, already.

  • roughmixer1

    Not a joke Peg, nor a 500 year old prejudice. It is based on today and probably on things you may be too blind to know about! Like the punished “whistleblowers”. Only attempts to survive day 1 Catholicism and seriously ask, “What is next?” Based on history: Inquisition, Reformation, bought and paid for Indulgences, Luther, Joan, Galileo, killing Jews, etc., etc. all in the name of God and the “true” Church. According to you and Donahue (Hey, that rhymes), we’re supposed to put all that aside and blindly obey and believe our lying bishops?

    But their lies that it is a “true” church and all good are true and you can be content with your learned and forced guilt and pay your $1.99. Ah yes, long live the old memorized Baltimore Catechism. Erroneous? Perhaps, but it still lives in a lot of us.

    You and others can blindly defend and “obey” and say “jokes”. But the “true” Church where we are “forced” to believe, has lied and withheld and continues to pay to cover up the scandals too much for us to blindly accept most anything or defenses, or even silence, or “you must or else” that come from the Vatican, or you, or Donahue, or elsewhere these days.

  • roughmixer1

    And you said the email adress would NOT be published an there is it as cleaa as day!

  • http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/80beats/ Eliza Strickland

    @ roughmixer1: Don’t worry, your email address is never visible to others. But I deleted it from the back end to reassure you.

    – Eliza, DISCOVER online news editor

  • http://www.jesusalarm.com Justin

    I actually found this app to be awesome. I’ve been using it for a few days. It’s called the Jesus Alarm: http://www.jesusalarm.com

    I’m also wondering if people have other apps they’d recommend. Thanks!

NEW ON DISCOVER
OPEN
CITIZEN SCIENCE
ADVERTISEMENT

Discover's Newsletter

Sign up to get the latest science news delivered weekly right to your inbox!

Discoblog

Quirky, funny, and surprising science news from the edge of the known universe.
ADVERTISEMENT

See More

ADVERTISEMENT
Collapse bottom bar
+

Login to your Account

X
E-mail address:
Password:
Remember me
Forgot your password?
No problem. Click here to have it e-mailed to you.

Not Registered Yet?

Register now for FREE. Registration only takes a few minutes to complete. Register now »