Sunday, February 13, 2011

Confessing to iGod

I love my iPod touches. Yeah, plural; I've got two of them: a second-generation model, and a fourth-gen (with the crappy camera, but a crappy camera is better than none at all, and my cell phone is such a cheapy that it doesn't have one). I was never impressed by Mac OS but I'm a total pushover for Apple's PDAs (Personal Digital Assistants). Remember the Newton? I had two of those, too. A calendar with months (or years) worth of info (that can be searched...when did I last take the car in for an oil change?), a contact list that can be updated in seconds, a calculator, a notepad, an alarm clock, and as the technology improved, email and web access...all in the palm of my hand. (Oops, no, Palm is a different operating system for a different PDA, one I only played with briefly a few times.) A well-designed PDA is a geek's wet dream, and my iPods are never far from my side. I even take them to bed with me. (Alarm clock, like I said.)

When Apple introduced the ability to download "apps" (programs) in moments, they had the I-want-it-now generation hooked. Apple quips "There's an app for that" and they're not exaggerating by much. There are apps to get you organized, to improve your health, to run your business, to educate yourself, and of course to entertain yourself (or your kids, which can be a pretty big deal when the oil-change-in-30-minutes place is running behind). I'm not surprised to learn that Confession: A Roman Catholic App ("Making confession easier") exists. I was a little surprised to find that it isn't the first app designed to help users examine their conscience and prepare for the act of confession (with an actual priest; the app doesn't replace the confession booth), but apparently it has received "the first known imprimatur to be given for an iPhone/iPad app." Bishop Kevin C. Rhodes of the Diocese of Fort Wayne – South Bend has declared that the app is free of doctrinal or moral error.

Whew, that's a relief. I mean, anyone whose life is so hectic that they need an app to help them remember everything they should confess would welcome the assurance that the app itself won't lead them into sin. I hope Bishop Rhodes knows what he's doing, though; how carefully did he review the following aspects of Confession?
  • The "Examination of Conscience" feature is a checklist of sins based on the Ten Commandments. This is just going to make people think about stuff they haven't even done yet, and thinking about it is going to make them want to do it.
  • Doesn't allowing users to add "custom" sins encourage them to think up new ways to misbehave? Isn't violating one or more of the Ten Commandments bad enough?
  • The app is rated "9+" for "Infrequent/Mild/Mature/Suggestive Themes." Is it "suggestive selling" to young, impressionable minds?
  • And finally, what's all this talk of "touching users"? Hasn't the Catholic Church gotten in enough trouble with that kind of stuff already?

No comments:

Post a Comment