Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Confession Time

The Catholic story coursing through the news cycle in a big way this week has been the news of an app for iPhones, iPads and iPods developed in Indiana that walks the user through an examination of conscience in preparation for confession.

Like any good Catholic story, this one has plenty of nuance and detail that some media outlets didn't get exactly right.

First of all, the app isn't a replacement for traditional confession, as some early accounts suggested.

It also has not received the endorsement of the USCCB, as other outlets have alluded. (It's nothing personal. The USCCB simply doesn't endorse products.) As this CNS story explains, the app has received the imprimatur of Bishop Kevin Rhoades of Fort Wayne-South Bend, Indiana, meaning the local bishop has signed off on its release and said nothing about the app is contrary to Catholic teaching.

Further confusion has come from the fact that one of the priests involved in developing the app was Father Thomas Weinandy, OFM Cap., the executive director of Doctrine for the USCCB. And while this involvement would seem to suggest USCCB approval, Father Weinandy's role in the process was not in his official USCCB capacity.

By this point, news of the app has circled the globe, drawing comment from secular media, Catholic media and even the Vatican spokesman.

Apart from being a ton of free publicity it's generated for the app itself, the energy behind this story suggests a real interest in the Catholic Church when it engages contemporary society, especially through new media. One could argue, for instance with Pope Benedict's recently urging of Christians to engage the world of social media, that this enthusiasm is mutual.


Jeff Hedglen said...

Thanks for the clarification! I think the app giving age and station in life specific examination of consciences is a great idea!

Unknown said...

I teach social media in the Mayborn School of Journalism at the University of North Texas, and have been trying to set my students straight on this all week. Unfortunately, many people--media included--read a headline and perhaps a catchy lead and make assumptions without reading the rest of the story. That's how rumors and innuendo go viral. Thanks for setting the record straight. I'm now Tweeting this link!

Michael Francis James Lee said...

Fr. Weinandy, in fairness, should not be engaged in such activity while also being an official with the USCCB. Just as I am not free to, say (for example), sell Avon while being the public face of a Catholic parish, so Fr. Weinandy should be restrained from product development while working for an entity of the Church. This confusion is exactly the reason for the inclusion of such clauses in many contracts. Not having such a clause for Fr. Weinandy contributed to this confusion.

Unknown said...

Anything can will keep the children away from priests as much as possible is the best thing for the children's safety.

Until the Church takes some action against those that passed known pedophile priests to other parishes, children are always at risk against the current Catholic management hierarchy.