I have been following reports about the new iPhone/iPad App called Confession - a Roman Catholic App. I have wanted to post on it, but lack of time, was one thing that hindered me, and I wanted to download and get into it before offering a review. Today, for $1.99, I installed the application and tested it under several different "users". It got some real press by virtue of the fact that it is the first App which carries an imprimatur.
The secular press got confused and, in some cases, led people to believe that they did not need to go to Confession if they had this App. This led the Holy See to issue a statement of clarification and the developer agreed with that clarification. I think this is more a case of high-paced journalism which has caused a decline in quality in many other subjects. People no longer take the time to truly study what they are writing on, or consult the right sources. When it comes to Catholicism, the mainstream media has shown a propensity to consult dissident Catholic theologians and others whose views cannot be reconciled with Church teaching. This is like asking a vegetarian to comment on a plate of coq au vin.
HOW IT WORKS
Upon downloading it, you need to set up a user. It supports more than one user and it is password protected with a pin number of your choosing. Don't use obvious dates if you don't want someone reading what you have checked in the Examination of Conscience (EoC).
When I was filling in my user settings, I wondered why it would ask for my birthday, but it later dawned on me that the EoC would be formulated by age. I thought this was very good because you don't want a 9 year old reading an EoC geared for a 40 year old. (Hmmm... perhaps there should be a question in all EoC's which ask if the user is truthful about user settings). I really thought that it would have been sufficient to ask the user for birth year, rather than birthday, but perhaps it needs that date so it knows when to change the EoC as the person ages.
There is a provision to key in your last confession date because it is necessary to tell the priest how long it has been since your last confession (a week, a month, 20 years, etc.)
User settings also ask if you are a male or a female, and whether you are single, married, priest, or religious.
There are several Acts of Contrition to use, including one in Latin. You can read them by first going to the "Prayers" section, then go back and set the one you want.
With this information filled in, it is ready to use.
Examinaton of Conscience
You enter the EoC and go through the categories for your given settings. You check boxes as you go along for those items you want to confess (remember, this is password protected). There is a provision to enter additional items in a custom list that may not be in the general EoC. So... what happens with these? Hold that thought...
The user is given easy to follow instructions from the time they get before the priest to when Confession is complete. Upon entering the confessional, you are told to make the Sign of the Cross. It then has you telling the priest how long it has been since your last confession. What I found lacking was the request: "Bless me Father, for I have sinned..." (Remember, you are not confessing to a man, but to a priest who is sitting in persona Christi while hearing confessions. A priest lacking in moral character does not invalidate the Sacraments and it would be cruel to make your absolution dependent on the priest's state of grace (see Donatism and "Holier than thou" in this Catholic Culture article).
Continuing on with the "Confession" tab, after you click next, the second page carries over anything you had checked in the EoC section. After you have completed that and listened to any counsel the priest may have, your Act of Contrition is ready for you to pray when he instructs you to do so. The next page then tells you how to respond after absolution, and if he should say, "Give thanks to the Lord for He is good" (we respond, "For His mercy endures forever". ) When you click the "Finish" button, a nice quote comes up from any number of sources, like Pope John Paul II, St. Josemaria Escriva, etc.
So, what happens to those sins you had checked in the EoC? As soon as you hit the "Finish" button, they are reset to blank!
I decided to set up 3 users, each with slightly different settings. All were listed as female. One was set up with factual information about myself. Another was set up by just changing the birth year to 2001, and a third was set up for an adult religious. It was interesting to see the various EoC's in each.
At first I thought the "religious" setting should read, "consecrated person" because there are those like consecrated virgins, who are not religious, but who would benefit from some of the questions there. However, there are many other things that do pertain to religious, but not consecrated virgins. There is a provision to customize an Examination of Conscience, which is good for things that may not be listed, but are needed by an individual.
Over all, I have a favorable opinion of the App. If anything, it has brought attention to the fact that, contrary to popular belief, Confession was not done away with by Vatican II. Catechesis has been so bad, and pastors so reticent on the matter, that many of our young people are not even aware of the Sacrament.
Changing the world involves changing ourselves. Sacramental Confession drives us to look within at those things that we do, or don't do, which counter God's law and virtue. It is a Sacrament which helps us to see that conscience is something which must be formed in light of Sacred Scripture, the Magisterium, and Sacred Tradition.
FURTHER READING ON THE APP AND ON SACRAMENTAL CONFESSION
- Father Z's initial review of the iPhon Confession App with lots of snapshots
- Father Z's updated review of the iPhone Confession App
- St. Francis de Sales on the Sacrament of Penance
- Where is that in the Bible? (Scripture Catholic)
- Sacrament of Penance and Reconciliation in the Catechism of the Catholic Church
- Father Z's tips for making a good Confession
- Examination of Conscience at St. Charles Borromeo (10 Commandments)
- Examination of Conscience by Fr. John A. Hardon, SJ (Theological Virtues)
- Examination of Conscience by Fr. John Corapi, SOLT (10 Commandments)
- Catholic Information Network (CIN) - EoC (various)
- Links to EoC's for Children and Teens at Catholic Parents Online
For interesting news items I don't have time to blog on, check out my Twitter Feed: @TeDeumBlog
Te Deum Laudamus! Home
The obedient are not held captive by Holy Mother Church; it is the disobedient who are held captive by the world!Note: The recommended links below are automatically generated by the tool, so they are not necessarily related content.