“Is it worth spending $1.99 to clear your conscience?”

That’s the question Nicole Brodeur asks about confessional apps. She downloaded one to see what it was like, thus saving me the trouble.

The app, called “the perfect aid for every penitent,” includes a personalized examination of conscience, a step-by-step guide to the sacrament, and “invites Catholics to prayerfully prepare for and participate in the Rite of Penance.”

I don’t dare speak for God, but I’m not sure the Almighty intended for us to tap out our transgressions, then head into the confessional with our heads bowed not in reverence but because we’re trying to read the screen.

And while I may be a fallen Catholic — more like Wile E. Coyote careering off a cliff — I think that when you’re confessing sin, you need to look like you’ve done something wrong and want to make it right. You need a little wringing of the hands, like your heart and mind are working out a knot of guilt or sin.

Confession should not be an act as blasé as checking the weather in Cabo or posting pictures of the chair you reupholstered over the weekend.

While I went to Catholic school, I never was baptized so the confessional was off-limits to me. I get what she says here, though, and I’d say I agree with her. If you’re going to get an apology from someone, do you want to hear it in person, or is a text message enough? I would assume “SRY BRO” is never going to be as good as seeing a person penitent in front of you. Then you can see and hear for yourself if the sorry is sincere.

The Vatican issued a statement saying that the app was all right, but that the Sacrament of Penitence requires “a personal dialogue between the penitent and the confessor and the absolution by the confessor. This cannot in any way be substituted by a technology.”

But if “Confession” will get people to search their souls and total up their transgressions, who can argue?

“If you can grasp the depths of your sinfulness by looking at an iPhone app, then it serves the purpose,” said Nim.

“And if that doesn’t do it, nothing’s going to do it.”

All it does is let you check off whether or not you broke commandments and suggests the prayers you’d need to recite, but since you still need to have a priest tell you which ones and how many will suffice, they aren’t completely out of a job with this thing. I think it’s an unnecessary purchase, myself. For the same price you can get Angry Birds which will offer up far more enjoyment…

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