Confession is something that faithful followers of Catholicism have undergone for centuries. Long thought to be a way to cleanse the soul of misdeeds, the confession ritual has undergone the most radical transformation in the past 100 years, and it seems the latest addition may be one of the most radical of them all. Technology is taking the place in some regards to the confession booth. Rather than dialing in your confessions, you tally them off on your phone. The development has been called everything from innovation to blasphemy by followers of the Catholic faith.
The new app designates your faith and registers your name and then starts clicking away at a clock since your last confession. It then allows those seeking a confession to contact their priest and through a menu interface confess their sins from the digital readout to the heavens. The latest move reminds some of the other technological innovations that have received mixed reviews in the Catholic church as its members move into the next century. The new application takes everything out of the act of confessing that once might have been considered a problem and makes the act more accessible than ever. But many critics suggest the act itself is not a confession, nor should it be advertised as such..
The church does approve of its use, though suggests it would be unwise to use such a device instead of a priest for confession. Instead it urges users to use the device in conjunction with more traditional means. But will people in the end heed this advice? Or will some instead find themselves confessing to a machine instead of a real life flesh and blood human. And if confession can be performed by a machine, some critics have asked why communion and other rituals can’t likewise be performed by a machine or computer of some sort. This suggestion only brings to mind images of an automated and robotic church service where the rituals are performed by machines instead of their human counterparts.
Last year a number of devices came out that suggested humanity become more modern in the church including confessional booths such as those seen in George Lucas’ THX-1138 and an electronic holy water dispenser designed to fight off disease. The holy water dispensers were met with less criticism than the former as it didn’t change any portions of the service that were considered integral. But confession as a whole seems to be heading in an automated direction, and while some say it’s a welcome change others are protesting the forbidden apple product that may promise an Eden of convenience when confessing. But it should also be noted that phones have been utilized in some forms of confession, though they have not always been approved, for some time even being featured in some science fiction literature of the early eras.