An App for Penitence?

The BBC News website’s most shared story as of this morning is entitled:  ‘Church blesses iPhone confessions’

An intriguing headline!  Dig deeper and it becomes clear that the story relates to a ‘confession program’ that has gone on sale via iTunes for the bargain price of £1.19 ($1.99).

The app, which is not intended to replace the process of confession in its entirety, guides the user through a number of stages, allowing them, in the words of the BBC article to ‘keep track of their sins.’  The users are still required to visit a priest ‘in person’ to receive absolution.

Regardless of the theological arguments which exist between reformed and Catholic understanding of the exact nature of confession and absolution (which I don’t have time to get into here!), is this idea as ludicrous as it first seems to many, or is it a smart move by the Catholic church?

It seems to me that the Catholic Church is trying to accommodate the evolving and increasingly technologically sophisticated lifestyles of its adherents.  For that it is to be congratulated.  Perhaps other denominations can take heed of this innovative move and reflect on how we can better connect with the people we serve?

You can read the story on BBC News online here: (

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