Vatican Nixes iPhone "Confession" App

So much for phoning it in.

The Vatican quashed hopes of tele-communioning Catholics everywhere by stating today that "Confession: A Roman Catholic App," an iPhone app sanctioned by and developed with the help of the U.S. Catholic Church would not, in fact, pass muster with the Big Guy.

The app was the first to be sanctioned by the U.S. Catholic Church, Reuters reported, and was meant to guide Catholics through the sacrament of confession and help lure back those that lapsed. According to the South Bend, Ind., company Little iApps, which created “Confession,” Reverend Thomas Weinandy of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and Reverend Dan Scheidt, pastor of Queen of Peace Catholic Church in Mishawaka, Indiana aided in its development.

Patrick Leinen, of Little iApps added that the program was developed partly as a response to Pope Benedict XVI's World Communications Address on January 24, which called for a Christian presence in the digital world.

But apparently, this was a little more presence than the Vatican was really looking for.

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Asked about the app, EFE reported, Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi stated that there was no communion without a priest and a penitent, and that no program can fill in for the confessor in granting absolution.

He added that it was important that the app have a pastoral purpose, rather than simply being “a commercial enterprise feeding off a religious and spiritual reality.”

The app, which works on iPhones, iPads and iTouch, goes for $1.99 at the iPhone store.

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