Catholic church gives blessing to iPhone app
By BBC NEWS - BBC NEWS WEBSITE
Added: Tue, 08 Feb 2011 18:26:32 UTC
The Catholic Church has approved an iPhone app that helps guide worshippers through confession.
The Confession program has gone on sale through iTunes for £1.19 ($1.99).
Described as "the perfect aid for every penitent", it offers users tips and guidelines to help them with the sacrament.
Pope Benedict XVI has said Catholics should use digital technologies responsibly.
Now senior church officials in both the UK and US have given it their seal of approval, in what is thought to be a first.
The app takes users through the sacrament - in which Catholics admit their wrongdoings - and allows them to keep track of their sins.
It also allows them to examine their conscience based on personalised factors such as age, sex and marital status - but it is not intended to replace traditional confession entirely.
The app guides users through different elements of the sacrament
Instead, it encourages users to understand their actions and then visit their priest for absolution.
"Our desire is to invite Catholics to engage in their faith through digital technology," Patrick Leinen of developer Little iApps told Reuters.
The launch comes shortly after Pope Benedict XVI gave urging to Christians to embrace digital communication and make their presence felt online.
In his World Communications Address on 24 January, he said it was not a sin to use social networking sites - and particularly encouraged young Catholics to share important information with each other online.
"I invite young people above all to make good use of their presence in the digital world," he said.
He warned them to keep in mind that digital communication was part of a bigger picture, however.
"It is important always to remember that virtual contact cannot and must not take the place of direct human contact with people at every level of our lives."
The app guides users through different elements of the sacrament Confession's developers, who are based in Indiana, said they took the Pope's words to heart when they were preparing the application for public consumption.
"Our goal with this project is to offer a digital application that is truly 'new media at the service of the word'," said the company.
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