February 21, 2011

A Vatican official said a new iPhone application can help Catholics prepare for Confession, but cannot substitute for the sacramental encounter between a penitent and a priest.

Confession: A Roman Catholic App for Apple's iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch was recently released as a way for Catholics to prepare for the sacrament of Penance.

Some press reports, however, suggested the application could replace in-person Confession.

"It's essential to understand that the sacrament of Penance requires a personal dialogue between the penitent and the confessor, and absolution by the confessor who is present," said Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, Vatican spokesman.

"One cannot speak of a 'Confession via iPhone,'" Lombardi said.