Feb 11, 2011

Virtual Confession - There's an App for That

Saw the news this week about an app for the iPhone/iPad that assists Catholics in performing confession.To be clear, you cannot actually engage in confession through the app - it is only an aid, particularly directed toward those that have not engaged in it for some time. A couple comments on this and on some comments the Pope made...

In two recent posts, I came out against virtual church and noting how little technology is required for worship. I do NOT want to have folks think I'm against technology in worship altogether. God was not, when he gave very specific directions for building the tabernacle and its furnishings. I also think technology can be very helpful, for example for the hearing impaired.

In this case, setting aside my reformed protestantism, the Catholic church is trying to do something to aid people that want to engage in confession; and using an app that is fairly cheap and they can carry with them on their phone into confession is an interesting idea. Within their framework of belief, I can see how that would be beneficial to a Catholic. An argument with that framework is beyond the scope for today.

In my own Presbyterian tradition, I could imagine an app that helps you learn the Westminster Catechisms (and maybe there is one). Again, not necessary, but helpful.

I also have to admire two things that Pope Benedict XVI is quoted to have said related to this (from a talk given before the launch of this app):
I invite young people above all to make good use of their presence in the digital world
Indeed. This, along with a talk I heard by David Warlick recently (on "native information experience") impressed on me the need for us to really understand our current digitally-infused society. But, I hope we balance that by remembering what is really essential. Another quote:
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.

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