iPhone app helps with Catholic confession

By Laura Geller - bio | email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) – We've all heard of apps for the news and weather, even to give your horoscope each morning. NBC12 has one to access updates and weather.

Now, you can purchase an app for your iPhone or iPad that does something unusual: It helps Catholics with confession.

You're not usually supposed to bring your cell phone inside the church and if you do, you're told to turn it off.  Well, that could change with the confession app.  It's designed to be used inside the confessional and will guide you through the sacrament.

This brings a whole new meaning to "there's an app for that!"  For just $1.99 at the iTunes store, you can get help preparing to speak with your priest.  The program is called "Confession: A Roman Catholic App" and developers think it fits in perfectly with the pope's emphasis on a Christian presence in the digital world.

"There's a real call from our pope that says we should use these media things and technology to bring the word to the world," explained developer Chip Leinen.

We stopped John O'Herron on his way to noon mass. He said he tries to go to confession at least once a month but understands not everyone does.

"I think it's great if it helps people go to confession more often or make a better confession," he said.

The password protected app let's you list your sins against the Ten Commandments or write your own transgressions under a custom menu.  You'll even get a reminder about how long it's been since your last confession (no guilt intended).

Kathleen Lynch goes to church multiple times a week but doesn't think she'd download this app to her iPhone.

"I guess I just prefer the old fashioned way where you kneel and you think about it," she said.  "There's so many other helpful materials if you want to try to prepare yourself to go to confession."

The Catholic Diocese of Richmond said it's important to remember no matter how much apps do these days, they can't replace the sacrament.

"The goal of confession of a Catholic is to receive absolution, which can only be given by a priest and it has to be done in person," explained spokesperson Steve Neil.

So far, 5,000 apps have been downloaded.

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