MIAMI (CBS4) — It’s password protected and church approved. A new iPhone app may shorten the lines at the confessionals at South Florida churches.

For $1.99 you can confess your sins to your iPhone or iPad with the help of Confession: A Roman Catholic App which was developed by three men who took the Pope’s message to emphasize new media literally.

Patrick Leinen, a Little iApps developer and co-founder, said while church members must still receive the sacrament through a priest the app is meant to help Catholics through the process.

“What you do is you create a user name and profile. You include information about yourself – your age, sex, location, when your last confession was,” said Leinen. “What it does that’s different is it will generate an examination of conscience – sort of like a reflective prayer – specific to you.”

Leinen says the app doesn’t have the power to obsolve sin, but it is the perfect aid for every penitent.

No word on what Miami Archbishop Thomas Wenski thinks of the app but it has received a thumbs-up from Catholic Church officials. A Vatican official has said while the app can help Catholics prepare for confession, it cannot substitute for the sacramental encounter between a penitent and a priest.

“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,” Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, the Vatican spokesman, told reporters.

“This is something that cannot be replaced by any application. One cannot speak of a ‘confession via iPhone,'” he said.

Leinen says the app has only been on the market since late January and has already broken the top 50 most sold apps on iTunes. Some of the proceeds are going to charity.

During his address at the 45th World Communications Day, Pope Benedict stressed that new media “if used wisely, can contribute to the satisfaction of the desire for meaning, truth and unity which remain the most profound aspirations of each human being.” Additionally, Pope Benedict said new media can help young people grow and prepare themselves for society.

In a press release, Leinen, said, “Our desire is to invite Catholics to engage in their faith through digital technology. Taking to heart Pope Benedict XVI’s message from last years’ World Communications Address, our goal with this project is to offer a digital application that is truly ‘new media at the service of the Word.’ The app has already aided one man in returning to the sacrament after 20 years. We hope many more will take advantage of this new confession resource.”


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