Absolution by iPad? Confession, Forgiveness, Are Indulgences Next?

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Has the Vatican found a new way to address the shortage of priests by turning to silicon? Unless I’ve missed something in history, in the Middle Ages Martin Luther became so incensed by the Roman Catholic Church selling indulgences – basically get out of hell for a fee – that he split Christianity into Catholic and Protestant.

Today, in the 10 a.m. time period, CNN carefully demonstrated an iPad confession app reportedly approved by the Catholic Church (which strongly implies the Pope knows about this).

While the CNN spin is probably a bit exaggerated, there is an active debate in the Catholic Answers Forums.

http://forums.catholic.com/showthread.php?p=7529537

CatholicNews.com states, “The app is reportedly the only one with an imprimatur, an official declaration by a church authority that a book or other printed work may be published. It declares the published work contains nothing offensive to Catholic teaching on faith and morals.

“The app is really built for two kinds of people,” Kreager (one of the three developers of the app) explained. “For Catholics who go to confession regularly, it gives the user information. They enter their name, age, their sex, their vocation and their last confession date, and it generates an examination of conscience based on that information.””

http://www.cathnews.com/article.aspx?aeid=24918

Whether this iPhone, iPad app is really approved as a new way to make confession, or is just a way to help organize thoughts and perhaps make a “have done” list so you don’t leave anything out, some people have expressed concern that having any sort of “confession app” is another move far down a very slippery slope blurring faith, tradition, and convenience.

Of course California invented the drive-in church, so anything’s possible.

I e-mailed The Vatican for comment but they haven’t replied.

John McCormick is a reporter, /science/medical columnist and finance and social commentator, with 17,000+ bylined stories. He is a 38-year member of the National Press Club, retired emergency management coordinator, physicist, and member of the AAAS. He is a senior NewsBlaze writer who writes incisive, investigative stories.