Vatican says app cannot replace confession with a priest
Senior church officials in both the US and the UK have approved a new mobile application "Confession: a Roman Catholic App". However, the Vatican has said it cannot be substituted for confession with a priest.
The app allows users to confess to their sins via their mobile devices. It comprises a questionnaire of sins and is protected by a password. The app is targeted at both churchgoers and lapsed Catholics.
"Confession" was developed by Little iApps, a company founded by American entrepreneurs, with the help church officials including priests and a bishop.
BBC News quoted a spokesperson from the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales that the app was a "useful tool to help people prepare for the Sacrament of Reconciliation".
"The Church believes in embracing new technology and this creative app will hopefully help people to make a good confession."
Recently Pope Benedict XVI had urged Christians to participate in digital communication, saying that it was not a sin to use social networking sites.
In his World Communications Address on 24 January, he said, "I invite young people above all to make good use of their presence in the digital world."
However, he had added that it is important to remember that virtual contact cannot and must not take the place of direct human contact.
Following reports that the new app could become a "virtual priest" for people lazy to go to a church, the Vatican came with a statement saying that the app cannot replace a priest.
The Vatican spokesman Rev. Federico Lombardi said, "One cannot speak in any way of ‘confession by iPhone.’ "
The Confession app is being sold on iTunes for $1.99.