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Vatican Bans IOS Confession App 323

Posted by samzenpus
from the get-your-iabsolution-somewhere-else dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Despite all the hype that a lowly priest had approved the new confessional app hitting the app store, the truth has now revealed itself. According to today's Daily Mail, a spokesman for the Vatican, Federico Lombardi said: 'It is essential to understand that the rites of penance require a personal dialogue between penitents and their confessor. It cannot be replaced by a computer application. I must stress to avoid all ambiguity, under no circumstance is it possible to confess by iPhone."
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Vatican Bans IOS Confession App

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  • by intellitech (1912116) * on Thursday February 10, 2011 @11:28AM (#35162300)

    Confessions probably shouldn't be communicated over cellular data connections, anyway..

    • by Anonymusing (1450747) on Thursday February 10, 2011 @11:34AM (#35162394)

      The app wasn't to make confessions anyway, but to assist Catholics in the confession process. From the original article [go.com]: "So, how does the app work? It leads you through an 'Examination of Conscience' to help you figure out what your real sins are -- and not just by retreading your run of the mill 10 Commandments. The sinful suggestions the app offers are inventive and even age appropriate."

      I've read elsewhere that one of the priests who designed it, had a parishioner show up in the confession box with it, and used the app during confession to help remind him of his transgressions.

      So this is just grandstanding by the Papacy. The app was never meant to replace "personal dialogue between penitents and their confessor." This is like saying Google Maps is bad because it somehow replaces the actual travel you're intending to take. Uh, no.

      • I wouldn't say it's "grandstanding by the Papacy". There was a lot of misinformation going around about the app - a lot of news stories that were flat wrong - and setting the record straight officially and unambiguously makes sense. (I'm hardly a fan of the Catholic Church, but they're not guilty of quite everything they're accused of. :) )
        • You are right. I should not have included the "grandstanding" remark. My apologies. I initially interpreted the official statement as attacking this specific app, but that's not what is going on here.

      • by RudeIota (1131331)

        So this is just grandstanding by the Papacy

        This is probably less grandstanding and more of just ignorance. It's clear by the statement that Mr. Lombardi didn't understand the intention of the app. If the Vatican understood that the intention is not to confess to the device but to use it as a tool to aid "real" confessions, then maybe their opinion would be different.

        On the other hand, it is probably difficult for anyone to come to that conclusion with news headlines reading, "Can the iPhone forgive your sins?" and "Make confessions through your iPh

  • by grub (11606) <slashdot@grub.net> on Thursday February 10, 2011 @11:28AM (#35162310) Homepage Journal

    FTA: The Vatican has warned that an app can never replace visiting a priest.

    Oh, I don't know. An app is much easier on the ass.
  • Stopped reading there.
  • by hsmith (818216) on Thursday February 10, 2011 @11:32AM (#35162360)
    To pay the 30% Apple tax on selling indulgences through IAP either - is it a consumable or a subscription?
    • Haha, very funny. The truth is, contrary to popular perception (especially from protestants), that indulgences aren't sold; in fact, they are acts of penance done to reduce the required stay in purgatory, not a money-making scheme. In fact, if they were a money-making scheme, they're one of the least effective ones in existence. Indulgences were given for reading your bible, for reciting prayers regularly, and many other things. The times when money was involved were occasions where you'd give alms (charity

      • yeah, they're different now, but that's one of the reasons the Protestants even exist.
        • yeah, they're different now, but that's one of the reasons the Protestants even exist.

          Did you even read the articled I linked to? The point I'm trying to make is that they were never different. The only major differences in the Catholic Church between now and then is the number of officially approved doctrines, political power, and how we now use native translations in places like America (New American Bible, for example). Indulgences were exactly as I, and those articles, said; to say otherwise would be grossly historically inaccurate. Opposition to purgatory and many of the Catholic Church

          • And then I went to other places, and verified that the abuses of indulgences by the Catholic Church were one of the triggers of Reformation.

            Here's one! [wikipedia.org].

            And yes, I do consider Wikipedia to be more reliable than the Catholics. One of these organizations keeps claiming an invisible man is telling me what to do, and coincidentally enough it involves a tithe to the Church!

          • Did you even read the articled I linked to? The point I'm trying to make is that they were never different. The only major differences in the Catholic Church between now and then is the number of officially approved doctrines, political power, and how we now use native translations in places like America (New American Bible, for example).

            I'm sure a large number of dead spaniards and anabaptists would disagree with you.

            • Catholic.com on the Inquisition [catholic.com]
              Fr. Joe on the Inquisition and then some [tripod.com]
              I am going to be totally honest here and say that I don't 100% trust these articles. Note that these articles were written in 2004 and 1998, respectively. While some citations and statistics may be inaccurate or even wrong, it's no worse than many protestant citations. The articles are at least worth considering, however, and make some very valid points.

              Also, Google's your friend.

        • Interestingly enough, another other reason was the fact you needed a priest to intercede for you with the creator.
          The idea you could pray directly to God was blasphemy back then.

          And I think that is their major objection. Once more, the personal interaction with a priest is no longer needed in the process.

          • And yet, I'm the only one with citations here. Not only is there a lot of evidence that I've stated here to the contrary, but it's so incredibly easy to find that there is no logical reason to believe you, especially considering your lack of citations of any sort, and are merely repeating the same lies and misconceptions that are said so often that they're almost accepted as fact.

          • by GooberToo (74388)

            Interestingly enough

            Interestingly enough is right. The ONLY reason Christianity was able to take root is because it spoke to the lowly peasant. Meaning, anyone can speak directly to God, never requiring a priest as an immediacy. And so it spread - the religion for the layman. The same thing happened with Islam. You only need priests to teach, guide, and console such that you can one day do the same. Hell, they worship idols despite it being one of the most basic and fundamental tenets not to do so. And that's one of many endle

      • by SETIGuy (33768)
        I thought Purgatory was no longer part of the dogma.
        • Your Karma just ran over my Dogma
        • Nope, it very well is. Same with indulgences.

        • by wsxyz (543068)
          The only dogma about Purgatory is that prayers for the dead are beneficial.

          Since it is also dogma that souls in Hell cannot be helped by prayer, and those in Heaven have no need of prayer, the dogma that prayers for the dead are beneficial demands that another state exist. This state is what the Church calls Purgatory. The exact nature of Purgatory is not defined by the Church.

          You may have been thinking of Limbo - the state of deceased unbaptized infants - which a few years ago was, with great fanfare
      • by hedwards (940851)

        Either way they aren't legitimate Christian practices. The Catholic Church hasn't been "God's very own church" in hundreds of years. Also, the Catholic Church is hardly an unbiased source of information on Catholic practices. They remained for quite some time the only organization out there that didn't see anything wrong with the church shuffling pedophiles around to protect its own image.

        The whole practice of confession isn't one which is found in the Bible and leads one to believe that it somehow assists

        • Either way they aren't legitimate Christian practices. The Catholic Church hasn't been "God's very own church" in hundreds of years. Also, the Catholic Church is hardly an unbiased source of information on Catholic practices.

          Well I'd love to see a historically accurate source that doesn't fall to common misconceptions. Of course the Catholic Church is biased; who isn't? I can assure you though that it is truthful and doesn't lie to protect itself.

          The whole practice of confession isn't one which is found in the Bible and leads one to believe that it somehow assists one in getting into heaven. The truth is that there is one gate keeper in the religion and it isn't somebody you're going to run into.

          First of all, you're forgetting where the Bible even comes from [catholicapologetics.info]. The Bible is not the sole rule of faith, was never intended to be, and does not contradict the doctrine of purgatory, as the links I shared earlier stated rather clearly.

          Additionally Purgatory doesn't exist, it wasn't introduced until a really long time after the events of the Bible and frequently involved both masses being said and prayers.

          The original church fathers did, in fact, believe i [catholic.com]

      • by Bill_the_Engineer (772575) on Thursday February 10, 2011 @12:50PM (#35163302)

        Haha, very funny. The truth is, contrary to popular perception (especially from protestants), that indulgences aren't sold; in fact, they are acts of penance done to reduce the required stay in purgatory, not a money-making scheme. In fact, if they were a money-making scheme, they're one of the least effective ones in existence. Indulgences were given for reading your bible, for reciting prayers regularly, and many other things.

        Newsflash: catholic.com provides literature supporting the catholic church. :P

        The truth is that in the past the Catholic church was a very corrupt and power hungry organization. Notice I'm giving the benefit of doubt to the present church.

        Indulgences were sold, AND the church purposely kept the bible away from the masses by keeping it in latin and in limited distribution. Johannes Gutenberg got in trouble with the church by publishing a readable translation of the Bible, and later Martin Luther inadvertently initiated the protestant reformation by publishing his "95 Theses on the Power and Efficacy of Indulgences" protesting the actions of the Archbishop's selling of indulgences to finance the rebuilding of St. Peter's Basilica.

        Just because the church spent centuries trying to justify indulgences doesn't negate the suspicions that protestants still hold against catholicism.

        • I'd love to respond to this obviously troll-ish post, but you fail to cite any sort of sources and spout the very same misconceptions that many people fall to [catholicapologetics.info]. Saying, in a nutshell, "this is a fact" with no logical or historical basis besides common misconception is illogical. What do they call this, again? Oh, right: "If you repeat a lie often enough, people will believe it".

          • It's only trollish because you disagree.

            If you can't bring yourself to take my word for it, then please do your own research. There are history books at your local library, and you could follow your own advise and use Google. Just don't limit yourself to the catholic church for the information.

            I'm not going to post citations, and quite frankly I'm pretty startled that your view on historical facts are so skewed and incomplete. Look up "Johannes Gutenburg" and "Martin Luther". Why should I limit your resea

  • Not Banned (Score:5, Informative)

    by ThePCJedi (107372) on Thursday February 10, 2011 @11:34AM (#35162392)

    To be more specific the app is not banned, but it's purpose has been clarified.

    It is an app designed to help prepare people for confession, they only say no to the idea of this replacing the act of confessing to a priest.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by gad_zuki! (70830)

      Right, thank goodness the proper magical bullshit has been protected. Imagine doing your weird cult-like activity incorrectly! Thank you Vatican overseers!

  • Don't you mean excommunicates?
  • The Penance Project (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward

    The iPhone app was never meant to replace the Sacrament. It is a tool to help people prepare, do it, and pray. I don't agree with using a digital device while in confession or saving information even temporarily on devices when it comes to my sins.

    There is a free application for Android devices that is similar called PenanceProject. It helps users do an examination of conscience before the Sacrament and to pray afterwards.

    You can get the application here: https://market.android.com/details?id=appinventor.ai

  • Wrong, Not Banned (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 10, 2011 @11:38AM (#35162446)

    The app in question was created to help people through the process of Confession. It's a little daunting if you haven't done it in a while. Trust me, as a chronic on-again-off-again Catholic, I know. I have he app. It just takes the place of old catechism books I would use to brush up on Confession before going.

    The article says that no app can ever replace going to a priest. That's not what this app attempts to do. The conclusion that the app is banned is drawn from faulty logic. There is no ban. Who ever wrote the article has absolutely no idea what either side of this is talking about.

  • "under no circumstance is it possible to confess by iPhone"

    What about a burning bush????? I suppose that's an approved holy communication device?
    • Only if a deity lit the fire.
      • by JWSmythe (446288)

            Damn. All these years and all those arson charges have all been for nothing.

            [looks somberly at the gas cans and lighters]

            What to do... what to do...

    • by SETIGuy (33768) on Thursday February 10, 2011 @12:37PM (#35163170) Homepage

      What about a burning bush?????

      I think you're supposed to confess that to your gynecologist.

    • by gravis777 (123605)

      Since when did anyone confess by a burning bush? God spoke to Moses through the bush, never did Moses confess His sins through said bush.

      I don't understand why Catholics think they have to confess to a person anyways. Forgiveness comes from God, through the blood of Jesus, and only He can dish out forgiveness of sin. Therefore, logic dictates that you should dictate your sins directly to God / Jesus.

  • by Tridus (79566) on Thursday February 10, 2011 @11:39AM (#35162464) Homepage

    This app doesn't do confession. It never did. That was some creation by an incredibly simplistic media headline which was always wrong.

    The app helps you figure out what your sins are, and can keep track of what you've previously confessed.

    So all they're saying now is that the app can't do something that it never did in the first place. Umm, goodie?

    • by Chapter80 (926879) on Thursday February 10, 2011 @11:48AM (#35162576)

      I wish I had mod points to mod you up.

      "Vatican bans IOS Confession App" headline is totally misleading (and actually incorrect).

      They didn't ban the app. They said that the app is to be used to as you said - to help you determine what to confess. Which is exactly what the app was designed for, and what their earlier announcement said.

      No change. No story here. Nothing to see here. Move along.

    • by PatHMV (701344)

      Except that the Vatican DIDN'T say that this app is bad or impermissible. That's TFA's conclusion from the Vatican's statement, not what the Vatican actually said. The Vatican did not, as best I can tell from TFA, condemn this app. It said only that it's not possible to confess by iPhone. Since this app does not allow for confession by iPhone, the Vatican has not condemned it. They didn't mention the app by name. They didn't say that [app name] can't be used.

    • At long last the Vatican actually says something with clarity and timeliness. Maybe they finally hired a communications director. So I'm quite glad they came out and made sure that this was clarified. The whole thing about contraceptives for medical purposes wasn't new but the Vatican had never been explicit about clarifying things, so we all went apeshit at the announcement. Good of them to get in front of the curve on something for once.
    • The app helps you figure out what your sins are, and can keep track of what you've previously confessed.

      Best. Facebook app. Ever. [pops some popcorn and starts reading].

    • by hedwards (940851)

      And this is somehow different than confession in general? It's a purely Catholic construct that you can go do your confession and whatever the Priest tells you and you're good to go. The reality as far as Christian religion goes is that it's God not some church official that makes those decisions and anybody that believes that the Pope is capable of granting such powers is sorely mistaken.

      One of the main reasons why we have Protestants is that the Pope tends to be full of it on a lot of issues. You can't ea

  • Misleading Title!!! (Score:5, Informative)

    by tkprit (8581) on Thursday February 10, 2011 @11:40AM (#35162472) Homepage

    The Vatican didn't BAN anything! A spokesperson for the Vatican said it wasn't supposed to be used for call-in confessions — which it was never DESIGNED to do in the first place; it's not even possible to do that!

    RTFA!

    a spokesman for the Vacitan, Federico Lombardi said: ‘It is essential to understand that the rites of penance require a personal dialogue between penitents and their confessor.’It cannot be replaced by a computer application’. ‘I must stress to avoid all ambiguity, under no circumstance is it possible to "confess by iPhone".’

    The guy is STATING THE OBVIOUS because the app has been sensationalized, hello! /. is better than this!

    • /. is better than this!

      [citation needed]

      You must be new here.

      The cake is a lie.

    • by IANAAC (692242)

      hello! /. is better than this!

      Um, actually, no it's not. Slashdot ROUTINELY puts up sensationalist and outright wrong headlines.

    • ‘I must stress to avoid all ambiguity, under no circumstance is it possible to "confess by iPhone".’

      The guy is STATING THE OBVIOUS because the app has been sensationalized, hello! /. is better than this!

      I don't think it's that obvious, and I bet there's not a programmer on Slashdot who didn't immediately start thinking of counterexamples. "What if I'm an astronaut and my spaceship is about to burn up on re-entry and I want to confess? What if I'm that guy in 127 hours and I need to confess before the gangrene sits in. What if I was on my way to the confessional when I got trapped in a blizzard and need to call one in?"

      "Under no circumstances"? This guy doesn't write unit tests for a living.

      • by Tanktalus (794810)

        Under these exigent circumstances, it may be possible to confess via a two-way communication device (though I'm not sure an iPhone, or any cellular phone, will work from space). But that doesn't make it an "iPhone" - just a "phone". It's still not an app.

        Yes, under truly dire circumstances, confessing without a priest may be allowed. But it's still not an app.

      • by sznupi (719324)
        Edge scenarios don't change much, as far as desirable conduct of sacrament goes. Heck, I can hypothetically perform a perfectly valid baptism, if in dire circumstances ... even though I should be excommunicated by Vatican many times by now.
      • by bjackson1 (953136)

        Sacramentally speaking, there is no way to confess via iphone, just as it was clarified in the 1800s about telephone and telegram. Sins can be forgiven by confession, or if in neccisity you are perfectly contrite (i.e. contrite because the sin offended God, not because you are sorry because of the consequences) then your sin is forgiven you by God, and you are still required to go to confession if your spaceship doesn't burn up.

        In the end grace and the sacraments are a mystery (the Easterns/Orthodox call th

      • The guy is STATING THE OBVIOUS because the app has been sensationalized, hello! /. is better than this!

        I don't think it's that obvious, and I bet there's not a programmer on Slashdot who didn't immediately start thinking of counterexamples.

        But they didn't do it because they are programmers They did it because of the geek hubris that they know better than anyone else, even when they know nothing about the problem domain.

        Your farcial 'counterexamples' show just how deep your misunderstanding is. The

    • hello! /. is better than this!

      This is demonstrably false. Slashdot is exactly as bad as this, the proof is that this news article is, in fact, posted on Slashdot.

  • by Sarten-X (1102295) on Thursday February 10, 2011 @11:43AM (#35162512) Homepage

    I actually agree with this, to an extent. Religion aside, my understanding (as an atheist) is that confession is supposed to be an admission of guilt, and reflects an internal acceptance of the church's morality. I'm not saying that morality is particularly right, but I digress. I think the actual visit with another person is a vital part of that admission and acceptance. With a quick look through any online forum, it's quite clear that people are inclined to be aggressive and dishonest if they think they are anonymous.

    Remove the personal contact, and sincerity vanishes as well.

  • by ddd0004 (1984672) on Thursday February 10, 2011 @11:46AM (#35162548)

    They couldn't get past the l33tspeak and SMS language

    for9!ve m3 fath3r f0r I h@ve s!nn3d,OMG LOL
    !'ve l00k3d 4t pr0n and OMG th!s ch!ck w@s hawt!!
    l8r noob

  • by ildon (413912) on Thursday February 10, 2011 @11:48AM (#35162588)

    It's so wrong it's wrong about being wrong. The app was never intended to replace confession to begin with. It was to assist people in doing an examination of conscience so they could be better prepared for their real confession with the priest. At no point was this app ever intended to *replace* confession. It's like a study guide to help you prepare for an exam, not an exam itself. However, much of the news media saw "Confession App" and often did zero research on the subject and was just like "LOL ROBOTS REPLACING PRIESTS". I will say that NPR at least got the story correct, but I saw a lot of other news outlets that did not at all.

    In fact, the Vatican saying that an iPhone app cannot replace confession with a priest is exactly the same as the app's creator's belief. The Vatican is not banning the app at all, and their statement is likely more a reaction to the aforementioned news media and idiotic public who didn't even try to figure out what the app's purpose was rather than an indictment of the app itself.

  • I was confessing with my iPhone app, and suddenly, I felt God's "Grip of Death". My connection was dropped, and I dropped my iPhone, as well. I guess I'll have to convert to another religion. Are Protestantism, Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, or Buddhism locked, or unlocked? How long are the minimum contracts with the carrier?

    That piss-poor joke aside, I'm not religious myself. But I could imagine that religious folks wouldn't mind religious learning apps on their iPhones. Like quotes of the day from the H

  • From what I gather the app does nothing more than act as a "confession for dummies" in that it guides you through the process, among other things suggesting potentially confessable sins.

  • by Enderandrew (866215) <enderandrew@noSPam.gmail.com> on Thursday February 10, 2011 @11:55AM (#35162670) Homepage Journal

    The Bible actually clearly states you are to confess sin directly to God, not to man. But the Catholic Church wants you dependent on the Church, and this app removes part of that dependence.

    • by LastGunslinger (1976776) on Thursday February 10, 2011 @11:58AM (#35162712)
      Yeah, we went over this between 400 and 500 years ago. It was called the Reformation.
      • by Locke2005 (849178)
        Martin Luther FTW!
      • by Lumpy (12016)

        Yup yet it seems that doing it right is not profitable.. so all the reformists are taking up the old path once again and adding in "value added" features to generate more cash flow.

        Christianity in it's correct sense is not profitable. Churches have to twist it to make it profitable.

      • by dkleinsc (563838)

        It depends somewhat on which Protestant group you're talking about. The English Reformation was all about where Henry VIII could put his wing-wang and didn't focus all that much on the issue of confession. The Calvinists were very clear that it didn't matter how you confessed, you had no control over whether you were saved or not.

        • Meh, it was more along the lines of a compromise: "I'll endorse your religion and protect you from the nasty inquisitors, if you'll let me have a divorce". The founders of the Church of England were very much concerned about reformation issues - it was just its titular head that wasn't.

    • [citation needed]

      Never says anything about "directly", nor does it say you can't have someone help you through the process, which is what the sacrament is.
    • Sigh... The app was *never* approved as a replacement for visiting a Priest to forgive sins. It was only seen as something that can *help* you to want to ask for forgiveness. Also, contrary to protestant belief, the Bible (which is not intended to be the sole rule of faith, by the way, considering where we got it from [catholicapologetics.info]) does not, in fact, contradict this Catholic practice:

      Source 1 [catholic.com]
      Source 2 [catholic.com]

    • But the Catholic Church wants you dependent on the Church, and this app removes part of that dependence.

      Lets ignore the attribution of intent to the Church here and get to the readily verifiable fact part of this claim, the part about removing dependence: since all the app does is provided guidance for the penitent participating in the rite according to the normal Catholic norms -- it does not replace the confessor -- the app, in fact, does not do this. The misrepresentation of what the app does (and the mispresentation of the Vatican statement as "banning the app") are gross distortions of facts which are re

  • Part of the point of confessing is that it keeps you from doing crazy shit because you know u have to tell the priest that crap eventually. It can help keep you on the straight and narrow.

    An iOS app however would feel more like you're announcing stuff to the world and getting attention from an anonymous fan or fans. It's totally different and has the opposite effect.

    The Catholic church, though they may be wrong about the existence of a sky God, is correct on this one.

  • by NicknamesAreStupid (1040118) on Thursday February 10, 2011 @12:08PM (#35162848)
    Many years ago, I new woman, who was raise Catholic, sorta, but never went to Church as an adult -- except to go to confession. Instead of confessing, she made up stories to get the priest hot. She claimed that some of them would get off listening to her.
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      An elderly man goes into confession and says to the priest, "Father, I'm 80 years old, married, have four kids and 11 grandchildren, and last night I had an affair. I made love to two 21 year old girls. Both of them. Twice."

      The priest said: "Well, my son, when was the last time you were in confession?"

      "Never Father, I'm Jewish."

      "So then, why are you telling me?"

      "Are you kidding? I'm telling everybody!"

  • Forgive me father, for iHave sinned.

  • This is one of those cases where everyone read a headline, misinterpreted this, and then went on to make false statements regarding the story.

    1. The app was meant to be an AID to confession. It was never meant to replace confession itself. The app NEVER MADE THAT CLAIM.
    2. The Vatican isn't Banning the app, it's saying that the app was never meant to replace confession, see #1.

    So, to summarize. The premise that the app was intended to replace confession is false and the other premise that the Vatic

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