When my grandmother hit her mid-nineties, it became too much of a hardship for her to hoof it the three blocks to the Polish church every Sunday. Instead, the priest came to her house once a month with his little bag to hear her confession and administer the Holy Eucharist.
There in her living room, beneath the hand-tinted photograph of the man she knew as Jan Pawel II⎯who occupied the second position in her pantheon of heroes just beneath Liberace⎯she made her confession in Polish, presumably because God would think she was trying to fudge it if she did it in her limited English.
It didn’t take long. She once said to me, “I old lady, ninety-six years old. What’s left to confess?”
Still, she did it regularly. It was important to her, and I’ve never seen a lady more at peace with her life and her maker than Nana.
It was with skepticism, therefore, that I read the story about the new iPhone “Confession App.” Since we now rely on technology for just about everything else, it seemed only a matter of time before we employed our smart phones to manage the data stream between us remote users and the Great Mainframe Designer in the sky.
Certain members of the clergy have endorsed the app, albeit cautiously, indicating that if it helps put young people in better touch with their spiritual identities, then it has some redeeming value. They stress that it is really a way to aid self-examination and introspection.
In a world full of secular distractions, this may be a clever form of spiritual jiujitsu, using the very power of technology to cut through the clutter it helps to create.
Or maybe it’s just silly, which is what I confess I thought when I first heard of it.
Like any of man’s artifices, its value lies in how intelligently it is used.