From tweets to talk radio the buzz is that the new iPad Confession app replaces confession with a Priest.
Absolutely not! The sacrament of reconciliation and penance requires, without out exception, confession to a priest. Oh and not a virtual one.
The Confession app is an aide to prepare for confession. Nothing more.
The Vatican has issued a clarification:
Father Lombardi clarified, “It is essential to understand well that the sacrament of penance requires necessarily the relationship of personal dialogue between penitent and confessor, as well as absolution on the part of the confessor present.”
“This cannot be substituted by any information technology application,” he said, thus, “in no way can one speak of ‘confession through the iPhone.'”
Leinen reiterated the same point: “To be very clear, only a priest can minister the sacrament of confession.”
He told ZENIT that the company is currently updating the program with a notification stating that “this app is to only be used in confession with a Catholic priest.
UPDATE: Now The Media is claiming that the Church has condemned the app.
Fr. Z asks, “Will newsies NEVER report on the iPhone confession app correctly?”
“First, there was a whole string of headlines suggesting that the new iPhone app meant to help people make a good confession was actually a substitute for going to confession. My review here.
Now that a statement was made by the papal spokesman that the iPhone app isn’t a substitute for confession, some headlines suggest that the Vatican has banned or condemned the app.” Read more here.
The sound you hear is my head banging against the wall.