ROUND ROCK, Texas, Feb. 8, 2011 – Need a digital confession? The Roman Catholic Church has an app for that. Seeing as how most of us have our faces turned in deep concentration to the screen of our smartphones, the Church is now reaching out through the iPhone with a new application designed for your conscience.
The latest effort is an application for reconciliation called “Confession: A Roman Catholic App,” developed by Little iApps, LLC.
The app isn’t the first for the Church, and is not replacing the need to interact with people altogether. Catholics still require a priest in persona Christi Capitis, or “in the persona of Christ,” to absolve sins for the sacrament of reconciliation to be deemed valid. The new application is an interactive examination of conscience (Catechism of the Catholic Church, Article 1454) that allows users to prayerfully consider their personal states of grace before asking for the Rite of Penance. Other applications exist, too, for finding resources for prayers, traditions and more.
This isn’t the first time that the Church has used to social media to connect with the faithful. Recently, it tapped into YouTube.
In April 2009, the Diocese of Bronx, Queens and Long Island launched a campaign for Lent to attract the flock to confession using a parody of the ShamWow commercials. Calling it “SoulWow.”
“Father Vic” is the spokesperson, and the video quickly became viral. It advertised the Rite of Penance as a way to “get clean from the inside out.”
During the Christmas season, the Nativity story, digitally retold, went viral through YouTube, using a clever montage of several social media programs to mimic a modern-day dramatization of Mary and Joseph’s journey to parent the newborn child Jesus. See coverage about that innovation here.
Meanwhile, several Catholic websites offer a plethora of podcasts and downloads of books and articles. The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, the Roman Catholic Church’s hierarchical authority in the United States, posts audio podcasts of the daily readings for the Mass on its website, www.usccb.org, complete with RSS feeds.
A quick Google search yields numerous other sites with an audio version of the “saint of the day,” a popular novena, or even the Rosary.
On the tube, EWTN Global Catholic Network® (Eternal Word Television Network) is broadcast for select cable television providers, and its website offers syndicated video programming, with shows of Catholic interest, and audio from AM and FM radio affiliates.
Several U.S. cities also have increasingly popular Catholic radio stations. Relevant Radio®, which is listener-supported, is increasing its coverage area through affiliate stations, and Ave Maria Radio, Immaculate Heart Radio, among others, even offer streaming audio online.
The Church is literally at your fingertips. It’s in your earbuds and can be the first thing you hear when your clock radio wakes you. And, if you’re not using an iPhone or iPod, you can always download the recently revised 2011 edition of the New American Bible on your Kindle.
The Holy Soap Opera is on Facebook. (And so is the Vatican.)
Erica Bonnell is a displaced Houstonian who currently resides in Round Rock, Texas. Aside from volunteering and educating, she spends much of her spare time in theological pursuits. Her personal adventures with faith and divorce are regularly blogged at http://writtenstraw.wordpress.com.
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