the confession app: yay or nay?

confessional app, Catholic church, technology, confession, Christ

yes, the app really does say this.

If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. ~ 1 John 1:9

According to a recent article in the New York Times, a new application being sold on iTunes, “Confession: a Roman Catholic App,” cannot be used as a substitute for confession with a priest, according to the Vatican.

Glad we cleared that up.

This is not a post to examine the confession sacrament of our beloved Catholic brothers and sisters. It is a post, however, to begin a critical conversation about what degree we will allow technology to step into the sacredness of our spiritual life.

Yes, there are bible, scripture, and prayer apps many of us frequently use. But the confessional app seems to take technology to a new, more intimate level. (See the details this app on this video.)

It begs the questions: Are we diving so deeply into The Land of Shiny Things that we now need an app to guide us into repentance? Will this, and apps like it, make us lazy in searching the scriptures and preparing our hearts prayerfully to go before the Lord in confession?

The upside of this app is that the entrepreneurs who designed it, did so with people in mind; people who increasingly live online. It speaks the language of a wired generation (as we talk about extensively in our book, @stickyJesus). The app has supplied a demand (it’s a pretty hot download). It also walks you through the steps of confession, helps you examine your conscience, and categorizes sins under one of the 10 commandments, which could be a positive teaching tool for the Catholic Church.

get a prayerful plan

We would never make the argument that apps (technology) cause people to stray from God. We know it’s the heart that determines our actions. We encourage a balance in your technology use and a prayerful plan of how to integrate each piece of shiny into your spiritual life. When you see an app come onto the market ask yourself this: Will this enhance or distract from my personal conversation with Christ?

We will suggest you save the $1.99 it costs to purchase the confession app and instead, pick up the most powerful (and proven) app on the market: The Holy Bible. Here’s what you’ll discover (along with other awesome truths): If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. ~ 1 John 1:9

What do you think of the confession app and how do you use Christian apps in your daily life?

Post/Tweet this today:
The most powerful, proven, life-changing app on the market today is The Holy Bible. Get it & get wired—for life. #LiveSticky


  • Melinda Ysaguirre

    I agree-we need a balance in our technology use and implementing a prayerful plan.
    Jesus purchased our freedom with his blood on the cross-He paid above and beyond the suggested retail price for our sins.
    Personally, when I look at my own sins, I see distance being created between me and God. Christian apps on my phone(YouVersion and Lectionary) are important guides that influence holiness and restraint as a growing follower in Christ.
    The Gospel message -surrender and confession in prayer is the rescuing force for sins.

    Thank you both for bringing His powerful and proven message to us online. Bless you, dear ones.

  • Brockwellamy

    I say….Yay for the confessions app….whatever it takes to admit sin….and ask forgiveness….opens your prayer life…not that I will use it….just saying……..whatever it takes!

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  • Anonymous

    That’s a great take on it! I got the app to explore it and it also lists a ton of prayers you can pray. Some people will need this “extra” nudge! :)

  • Anonymous

    I like the phrase “influence holiness,” Melinda – that’s a great measuring tool. Does this app influence my daily pursuit of holiness. Awesome!

  • http://twitter.com/JaneLebak Jane Lebak

    I fail to see any problem whatsoever. For hundreds of years, individuals in the Catholic Church have had booklets, pamphlets and other papers with a codified examination of conscience on them. Having a list of areas to consider gives you a well-rounded way of examining your life and not just brushing over parts that are uncomfortable to look at because you’re failing in them.

    This isn’t a high-tech invasion of the spiritual life any more than putting my grocery shopping list on my iPhone would be a high-tech hijack of family nutrition.

  • Anonymous

    Awesome comment, Jane! I grew up with many of those Catholic books enhancing my spiritual life. This generation is definately gadget-dependent and taking that content digital may be the best tool for a lot of people.. I went through the app and it definitely is a teaching tool as well as a spirtual gage. This question definitely has a ton of different answer.

  • Tami Heim

    Excellent point Jane. I would never underestimate God’s ability to pursue us and find us where we are…and we certainly are online and searching for the right apps to meet our daily needs. I am not sure there is a greater need than to live this life with hearts open, contrite, and pure before God.

    Like most missionaries – knowing the language gives you a significant edge when it comes to building a relationship. An app like this may be exactly what a digital natives needs to be reached and to keep the divine connection flowing.

  • Tami Heim

    And if the answer is yes – AMEN!

  • Bill K.

    I just came upon this quote yesterday….

    Our confessions are not to make God know our sins, but to make us know them – Spurgeon

    I believe that our God is so in tune with us that he can and does use any vehicle at his disposal (all of which he ultimately created) to help us get closer to him. God is right there… up to date…hip as it comes. In my opinion it is the church that has some catching up to do before it becomes totally obsolete. Perhaps Karl Barth was correct when he said that “religion is the last great obstacle to faith”.
    Technology allows me to carry a bible in my phone 24 7…I think that is a good thing. I agree that it all starts with the bible…the technology however can truly enhance your spiritual experience. All spiritual roads lead to the same place. Seeking God in a cave on a mountain side is no “better” than stuck in traffic reading your iphone…its just different.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=671101964 Jennifer Adams Klein

    I can see how the app could be useful, but the Scriptures also tells us that it is the Spirit who searches our hearts and convicts us of sin(John 14-16, 1 Cor2:10, Rom8:26-27). I think that going to spend time with God is a natural means of conviction and repentance. We cannot come into His presence without, like Isaiah, falling onto our faces and confessing where we have acted against Him in action or thought. The light of His glory reveals everything to our hearts plainly and we know what we have to repent of. It’s just the (super)natural order of things. Confession is also encouraged in Scripture between believers (Jas 5:16), so I am not sure it is meant to be divorced from personal human interaction.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=671101964 Jennifer Adams Klein

    (SO, if the app helps or reminds you to get humble before God then kudos. But it is a problem if it became a way to ease one’s conscience as a religious activity without actually pointing one to God in relationship)

  • http://www.facebook.com/ron.rigsby Ron Rigsby

    Oh look God already has an “app” for that. Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding.

    ~ Proverbs 3:5, NLT

  • Tami Heim

    Bill – you have me tracking right with you!

  • Tami Heim

    You hit dead center Jennifer – it always comes down to our heart and motives. Thanks for the scripture references and adding to this conversation. Bless you!

  • Anonymous

    Great points, Jennifer. Totally agree. Confession is an intimate thing and if the app educates us and “spurs us on” in the direction of God without taking the place of our time with God, then it’s okay in my book.

  • Michelle Sarabia

    I don’t agree with the confession app. I think you hit the hammer on the head with asking the question would this make us lazy. I think we become complacent of the things of God; we can truly only know Jesus by name and not by a true relationship with him.

  • Anonymous

    This digital conversation could be a parenting issue—what are we modeling for our kids? Do we teach them to search the scriptures or do we teach them to search their iphones. We may get to a point in culture where the two are the same. BUT this possible culture shift makes me wholly uncomfortable. Good comment, Michelle!

  • Anonymous

    ….do not depend on your own understanding (or iphone maybe?). Thrilled to see you drop by Ron!

  • Nancy

    Here’s what I’ve noticed with my mobile phone. Where I used to sit in a SBUX waiting for someone and observing the people around me, now I spend that time interfacint with twitter, facebook or email. We need to find a balance – on line but engaged in the real world. Sometimes God is in the steam of my tea or in the face of the person across the coffee shop.

  • http://twitter.com/TamiHeim TamiHeim

    You are so right Nancy. I find my self grabbing my droid during those in between minutes – convincing myself that I am being ‘productive.’ You offer wise counsel and a great challenge. I am on it! Thank you.