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Want to confess your sins? There's an app for that

February 9, 2011

Catholics who are more comfortable with technology than with church sacraments can now use a $1.99 iPhone application to help get them through the process of confession.

The application, available on Apple Inc.’s iTunes store, walks users through an examination of their conscience, including a review of past actions and identification of sins.

Confession: A Roman Catholic App., is designed as a refresher course for lapsed Catholics who’ve forgotten how the sacrament of penance works, according to developer LittleiApps LLC.

The app has received an imprimatur, or official church authorization to publish, from Bishop Kevin C. Rhodes of Indiana. Absolution can still only be granted in person by an ordained priest. Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi declined to comment.

Pope Benedict XVI, head of the world’s smallest state and spiritual leader to more than 1 billion Catholics, is seeking to use modern technology to reach followers while maintaining traditions developed during the church’s 2,000-year history. His predecessor, John Paul II, endorsed the Internet as a tool to “promote justice and solidarity.”

The 83-year-old pontiff made his debut on Google Inc.’s YouTube video-sharing site in 2009. He made his first foray onto Catholic Internet chat forums in 2008.

Vatican officials such as Cardinal Crescenzio Sepe have used sites like Facebook Inc. to “spread the word of God,” though Italian bishops have warned followers about the dangers of social networking with strangers on the Internet.

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