Creators of an iPhone app that leads Catholics through confession say they are just trying to bring worshippers back into the church by helping them focus and remember all their sins so they can seek proper absolution. Detractors, such as Truth Wins Out (TWO) (a nonprofit group that fights against anti-gay tendencies in religion), claims the app is an affront to homosexual Catholics.
New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd puts a humorous twist on it, ending her column with: “At least we know now that Nietzsche was wrong. God isn’t dead. His server may be down though.”
Some people must think the app is a good idea — or at least an interesting curiosity — because the iTunes store shows that as of today (Feb. 9), Confession: A Roman Catholic App is the 54th most downloaded app that isn’t free in the United States. It costs $1.99.
The app guides the penitent through the commandments and suggests questions to help pinpoint their sins. (As if there were big questions or difficult criteria to determine right from wrong). When in the confessional talking to a priest, nervous confessors can refer to their list of sins on their iPhone.
TWO says the problem it has with the app is that Confession asks questions such as whether the user has “been guilty” of homosexual activity. “This is cyber spiritual abuse that promotes backward ideas in a modern package,” TWO executive director, Wayne Besen, says in a news release. “Gay Catholics don’t need to confess, they need to come out of the closet and challenge anti-gay dogma. The false idea that being gay is something to be ashamed of has destroyed too many lives. This iPhone App is facilitating and furthering the harm.”
TWO also cites a double standard in asking congregants whether they've engaged in homosexual acts but asking priests only if they have "flirted."
The description in the iTunes store, however, says the app provides “a personalized examination of conscience for each user … and a step-by-step guide to the sacrament,” describing itself as a “useful and inviting tool” for Catholics who haven’t been to confession in a while.