Following the launch of the iPhone App aimed to help Catholics for confession, Father Federico Lombardi, the Director of the Holy See Press Office issued a clarification on the church's position on receiving the sacrament of penance.
The Vatican Radio quoted Lombardi as stating that it is essential to understand that the sacrament of penance requires a personal dialogue between the penitent and the confessor in order for absolution to be given. This cannot be replaced by any computer application such as the iPhone.
Lombardi however said that in today's era of digitalization, such means can be used in the preparation for confession. But he feels that such technology is by no means a substitute for the sacrament.
The statement signifies that although the Roman Catholic Church still supports the development of the new application, yet it can never act as a substitute for actual confession.
Quoting Patrick Leinen, co-founder of Little iApps which developed the application, CNN reported that the Confession app is an aid to confession and in no way, (can) shape or form a replacement.
Developed for those who frequent the sacrament and those who wish to return - this was the notion which guided Leinen to develop the new tool.
The app offers features like password protected customized profiles, a guide to performing the sacrament and also a list of acts of contrition. Available in Apple's iTunes store, the app guides users through an Examination of Conscience to help them prepare for confession before stepping into the confessional.
This is followed by a second stage where stepwise instructions are given to guide users what to do inside the confessional. The last part is a space to record any absolution or penance from the priest.