NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – It’s password protected and church approved. A new iPhone app may shorten the lines at the confessionals at St. Patrick’s Cathedral.
WCBS 880’s Monica Miller with the app’s developer
For $1.99 you can confess your sins to your iPhone or iPad with the help of Confession: A Roman Catholic App which was developed by three men who took the Pope’s message to emphasize new media literally.
Patrick Leinen, a Little iApps developer and co-founder, tells WCBS 880 that while church members must still receive the sacrament through a priest the app is meant to help Catholics through the process.
“What you do is you create a user name and profile. You include information about yourself – your age, sex, location, when your last confession was,” says Leinen. “What it does that’s different is it will generate an examination of conscience – sort of like a reflective prayer – specific to you.”
Leinen says the app doesn’t have the power to obsolve sin but it is the perfect aid for every penitent.
“If you’re somebody who has been away from the church for a while or you’re somebody who is uncomfortable about going we thought this would be a great thing to sort of step you through that process,” Lienen said.
No word on what Archbishop Timothy Dolan thinks of the app but it has received a thumbs-up from Catholic Church officials.
“We’re the only app with an imprimatur,” Lienen said. “An imprimatur is essentially a mark usually given from a bishop stating that the text is free of doctrinal and moral error.”
LINK: Download the App
Leinen says the app has only been on the market since late January and has already broken the top 50 most sold apps on iTunes. Some of the proceeds are going to charity. “All the priests have asked that all the money that they make be donated to Catholic charities, they’re not making a dime,” Leinen said. “All the guys like myself we’re all tithing, and a portion goes back to Apple and portion goes in the business. So we’re not going to quit our day jobs over this, this is a real labor of love and we’re really enjoying it.”
During his address at the 45th World Communications Day, Pope Benedict stressed that new media “if used wisely, can contribute to the satisfaction of the desire for meaning, truth and unity which remain the most profound aspirations of each human being.” Additionally, Pope Benedict said new media can help young people grow and prepare themselves for society.
In a press release, Leinen said, “Our desire is to invite Catholics to engage in their faith through digital technology. Taking to heart Pope Benedict XVI’s message from last years’ World Communications Address, our goal with this project is to offer a digital application that is truly ‘new media at the service of the Word.’ The app has already aided one man in returning to the sacrament after 20 years. We hope many more will take advantage of this new confession resource.”
As of 2009, the Catholic population of the New York Archdiocese was 2.6 million.