An iPhone app "prepares" you for confession, in the same way that online poker "prepares" you for Vegas. So let's just get these right out of the way: 1. "Yes, Father, I can hear you just fine, please stop asking me that." 2. I'm on AT&T, so I have a better chance of getting a signal in hell than I do on my back porch, and 3. Whoever had "touch-screen confession before women can become priests" in the pool totally won this week.
When you are a barely functional idiot who attempts to "write humor" for a living, and by "living" I mean "occasional side deposits of nickels and/or circus peanuts that augment your salary from maintaining the slurry tubes at the poultry processing facility," it can be sometimes impossible to come up with a decent topic. Revolution in Egypt, for instance, is a heartening story of the power of the united human condition, but it's not terrifically funny, except for those protestors who kept stepping on rakes that would fwap up and hit them in the noses. There are times when it can be difficult to think of a topic, although generally during these times I just give my son eight or nine cups of coffee and follow him around with a voice recorder. And then there are times that the Catholic Church approves an iPhone app designed to assist with confession. Bless me, Father, for I have sinned, although you apparently don't mind that much, because you TOTALLY HAVE MY BACK THIS WEEK.
To recap: An iPhone app that handles confession — although, if we're being literally interpretive about it, which we probably should given the circumstances, the app "prepares" you for confession, in the same way that online poker "prepares" you for Vegas. So let's just get these right out of the way: 1. "Yes, Father, I can hear you just fine, please stop asking me that." 2. I'm on AT&T, so I have a better chance of getting a signal in hell than I do on my back porch, and 3. Whoever had "touch-screen confession before women can become priests" in the pool totally won this week. Because if you've ever felt confused that a life's accumulation of sins, impure thoughts, impure memories, thoughts about impure memories and so forth could be recalibrated into math, wait until you see it done by the same device with which you tweet.
Full disclosure: I have been to confession precisely twice. The first was, conveniently enough, my First Confession, which happened when I was about 10 and in which I copped to dishonoring my parents, taking the Lord's name in vain like a crazy person, coveting some G.I. Joe stuff and some sort of claptrap I made up about fighting with my brother because, let's be honest, I was 10, and generally speaking it's pretty difficult to get into any serious commandment-smashing by the fifth grade, although these kids now have the Facebook, so maybe. The second confession took place, literally, like two Sundays later. I cannot possibly fathom what I was doing at this rushed-into-theaters sequel, other than maybe my parents were heading downstairs to grab some donuts and coffee and needed me to kill 15 minutes. I also cannot imagine what I would have possibly confessed to, having already scrubbed my slate clean 14 days prior; I'm pretty sure my penance was like, "I don't know, sweep the garage when you get home or something."
Anyway, so this is my history with confession: Phase One (covering everything from DNA through fifth grade), Phase Two (covering two wholly average weeks in 1985) and Phase Three (pending, covering everything from 1985 until right now, and which frankly includes some pretty awesome stuff). As you may have surmised, I do not frequently find myself in churches much these days, unless someone's getting married, someone's getting baptized or I really, really feel like playing bingo.
Luckily, I no longer have to. The "Confession" app from Little iApps, which retails for $1.99 ("At prices this low, it's a steal — which means you can confess just for buying!"), is, according to a press release, is "the perfect aid for every penitent. … With a personalized examination of conscience for each user, password-protected profiles and a step-by-step guide to the sacrament, this app invites Catholics to prayerfully prepare for and participate in the Rite of Penance. It also syncs with ‘Angry Birds’!"
"Our desire is to invite Catholics to engage in their faith through digital technology," said Patrick Leinen of Little iApps, a company based in South Bend, Ind., which also produced a giant Jesus who is personally invested in facilitating touchdowns by the local football team, so, you know, they know their stuff.
Moreover, the app was developed in collaboration with actual pastors, including a bishop from Fort Wayne, Ind., near where I grew up, making northeast Indiana the nation's leading general geographical region for producing people who allow you to cleanse your mortal coil through the same device on which you're losing at Words With Friends. But, as an expert confession veteran who has gone through the process not once but TWICE, I can say, with some authority, that it is totally missing a button for G.I. Joe stuff.
Jeff Vrabel tried to launch an iBaptism app, but it turns out phones cannot get wet. He can be reached at http://jeffvrabel.com or http://twitter.com/jeffvrabel.com.