Everyone who was raised Catholic remembers readying for their first confession – trying to come up with serious but not overly offensive sins, debating between curtain or no curtain and memorizing the act of contrition.
What cradle Catholics might not remember is the last time they actually went to confession (some people find that once is enough).
But the recently released Confessions: A Roman Catholic App ($1.99), promises to make the sacrament a more meaningful and satisfying experience. The Vatican, however, will not allow the faithful to merely phone it in and through a spokesperson said "penance cannot be replaced by a computer application.":
The app allows you to create a password-protected profile which consists of very basic information, such as age and sex. You are then guided through an “examination of conscience” based on the Ten Commandments. Or you can create customized categories.
Tap on the fourth commandment – honor thy father and mother – and you are asked several questions such as “Do I try not to bring peace into my home life?” and “Do I not care for my aged and infirmed relatives?” Check all that apply.
Then, move into the confession feature. The app guides you through exactly how the sacrament should proceed, including your opening lines “In the name of the Father, Son… Bless me Father for I have sinned…”
And when it is time to state your sins, the items that you had check-marked are listed for you, so you don’t find yourself scrambling or forgetting anything.
Included in Confession: A Roman Catholic App are no less than seven versions of the Act of Contrition, including one in Latin (for those who remember the pre-Vatican II days). Many of other important prayers are also there, including the Hail Mary, Our Father, Apostles’ Creed, etc.
The creators of the app emphasize that it is only to be used as a guide; it is not a substitute for meeting with a priest and receiving absolution.
It would be nice if the app included a map of local Catholic churches, and hours when confession is available, but nevertheless it is a pretty well designed product.