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Probably Not As Fun As Angry Birds
February 9, 2011 1:32 PM   Subscribe

"In a letter last May, Pope Benedict XVI urged priests to help people see the face of Christ on the Web, through blogs, Web sites and videos; priests could give the Web a 'soul,' he said, by preaching theology through new technology." Well ... it was only a matter of time. Are you a sinner? There's an app for that. "Confession: A Roman Catholic App" isn't supposed to replace the actual confessional booth, but instead offers "a personal examination of conscience." Sounds great, but the Vatican would like to remind you that you'll still need to drop by an actual church to make it count.
posted by bayani (48 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

 
It's fast as hell to say your Hail Marys when you can just loop n times and pipe the text to standard out.
posted by Babblesort at 1:36 PM on February 9, 2011 [5 favorites]


Atheists have no need to trivialize religion.
posted by Pope Guilty at 1:36 PM on February 9, 2011 [7 favorites]


I saw the face of Christ on the web, once. I think it was on toast.com.

Then I reloaded the page, and it went away.
posted by vorfeed at 1:38 PM on February 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


This sounds like something from a comic book.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 1:39 PM on February 9, 2011


Just out of spite...
posted by everichon at 1:39 PM on February 9, 2011


"Dear Father ... forgive me for I have sinned. It has been two weeks since my last confession. Last week, I was doing laundry and ruined my roommate's climax but didn't tell him."

"DAMMIT, I meant clothes. WTF, Autocorrect?"
"That'll be three Hail Marys for the lie and two Our Fathers for taking the Lord's Name in vain. LOL"
posted by bl1nk at 1:40 PM on February 9, 2011 [8 favorites]


I just know I would mistake this for a to do list...
posted by charred husk at 1:40 PM on February 9, 2011


You know machines that would automate prayer or confessionals were a popular bit of anti-catholic rhetoric in the 19th Century Bennie, you didn't have to go and make a real one.
posted by The Whelk at 1:40 PM on February 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


From the blurb at Brandon Blatcher's link: Orion Assante, a man determined to expose the Pope for who he really is....

So close ....
posted by Joe in Australia at 1:44 PM on February 9, 2011


Jobs answered, " I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the app except through the App Store."
posted by Joe Beese at 1:45 PM on February 9, 2011 [6 favorites]


iNdulgences
posted by Riptor at 1:46 PM on February 9, 2011 [4 favorites]


iNdulgences

If I could get indulgences on demand using my smartphone, I might consider converting.
posted by The World Famous at 1:51 PM on February 9, 2011


Reminded for some reason of the confessional booths in THX 1138:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ly_djozCksg
posted by Celsius1414 at 1:51 PM on February 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


Examination of conscience is a worthwhile endeavor (whether you're a believer or not). It may have been well-intentioned but still seems sort of...lame. Interestingly enough, it clams to be the first app with an Imprimatur. All this really means is that the bishop declares the content free of doctrinal error. It's not an endorsement of any kind.

Frankly, the best Catholic app I've seen out there is iBreviary, which is free (and also written by a priest).
posted by jquinby at 1:52 PM on February 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


"We salvage our sermons from message boards and scene reports..."
Seriously this was a long time coming. Post Secret has been around forever and we've all used the Internet to confess anonymously. It's healthy, IMHO
I say this as an atheist but I see no problem with the church doing it officially
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 1:52 PM on February 9, 2011


Our catholic school nuns used to bring us to weekly confession. I remember the pressure to makeup just the right balance of sin. Not too much, not too little.
posted by R. Mutt at 1:54 PM on February 9, 2011 [2 favorites]


It's not free. Shocking.
posted by brundlefly at 1:59 PM on February 9, 2011 [3 favorites]


I was incarcerated in a Catholic school for six years. I confess that I, too, used to make stuff up for confession, but it was never clear to me whether my imagined transgressions were bad enough to qualify as worth confessing. But I did suspect that fibbing to the priest might entail a little payback time in hell. (...if their ideas on the afterlife held any weight.) (...not that I thought that they did.)
posted by cool breeze at 2:01 PM on February 9, 2011


Quite an upgrade from the app I saw in a church in Milan back in 2006.
posted by birdherder at 2:04 PM on February 9, 2011


It's about time the Christians got in on the prayer wheel thing, why let Buddhists have all the fun?
posted by Confess, Fletch at 2:10 PM on February 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


Meh, if I want to confess all that is sinful about me I could just log onto Grindr.
posted by munchingzombie at 2:13 PM on February 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


It's about time the Christians got in on the prayer wheel thing, why let Buddhists have all the fun?

I assume you mean digital prayer wheels?

There are all kinds of prayer wheel screen savers you can use, but I like the more practical advice of going for a more hardware-based solution:

"To set your very own prayer wheel in motion, all you have to do is download this mantra to your computer's hard disk. Once downloaded, your hard disk drive will spin the mantra for you. Nowadays hard disk drives spin their disks somewhere between 3600 and 7200 revolutions per minute, with a typical rate of 5400 rpm. Given those rotation speeds, you'll soon be purifying loads of negative karma."
posted by UbuRoivas at 2:24 PM on February 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


If this hooked into Game Center Achievements, I'd be all over it.
posted by phong3d at 2:25 PM on February 9, 2011


Ah yes confession. Ten years of catholic school learned me good.

"I confess that I have sinned, I totally selfishly wished that I could go to heaven. Which is bad and selfish so now I'm going to hell. But see I hate myself and I grovel here in remorse so now can I go to heaven? Oh wait, I selfishly wished to go to heaven again. It is now certain that I must go to hell, however in accepting that I must go to hell, surely I may be redeemed? Ah again with the selfishness...."

Ok I get it I'm going to hell!
posted by xarnop at 2:37 PM on February 9, 2011


I find that Cleverbot serves this purpose very well, at least in a general-purpose confessional sense. I'm not sure what the official Catholic position on that is.
posted by Wolfdog at 3:01 PM on February 9, 2011


User: I would like to confess something.
Cleverbot: What would you like to converse about?
User: This week, I killed a man.
Cleverbot: WHAT?!?! When did you do that?
User: Very early on Monday morning.
Cleverbot: Wow blast from the past.
User: Should I say some Hail Marys, or what?
Cleverbot: Yes! Do it.
User: Great! Thanks.
Cleverbot: It's been a long time since I rock and Rolled.

posted by Wolfdog at 3:03 PM on February 9, 2011 [4 favorites]


It's fast as hell to say your Hail Marys when you can just loop n times and pipe the text to standard out.

I remember when I was a kid going to a Catholic grade school, we used to have to say grace before every meal, but no one said that we had to be solemn when we did it, so we got in the habit of saying the prayer as fast as possible, just to get it out of the way. It got to the point where we could do a "BlessusoLordforthesethygiftswhichweareabouttoreceivefromthybountythroughChristourlordAmen" in less than three seconds and one breath.

Had I access to the ability to convert it to a digital format and compress it further, I'd have been the envy of all my classmates.
posted by quin at 3:19 PM on February 9, 2011


Christ on the Web

I read this phrase, and I envisioned, "SOME SAVIOR."
posted by Danf at 3:31 PM on February 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


Wolfdog: "Cleverbot: What would you like to converse about?"

User: I would like to confess something.
Cleverbot: Which subject would you like.
User: This week, I killed a man.
Cleverbot: I am sure he deserved it.
User: But I feel bad about it for some reason.
Cleverbot: Perhaps you should find some goals.
User: What kind of goals would you suggest.
Cleverbot: Morgan Freeman god.
User: Does he?
Cleverbot: I don't know.
User: If you're cleverbot I'd sure hate to see stupidbot.
Cleverbot: I'm not Cleverbot, why do you keep insisting I am a machine?
User: Q.E.D.
posted by boo_radley at 3:31 PM on February 9, 2011


last one, this si truly scary::


User: I would like to confess something.
Cleverbot: So would I.

:ohdear:
posted by boo_radley at 3:35 PM on February 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


Using R. Mutt's example, I really like to imagine kids -- and adults -- using the app as a cheat sheet so they can work out their story before they make it official.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 3:41 PM on February 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


I don't know, I think Cleverbot is better than many priests I've seen:

HTWRT: Forgive me, for I have sinned.
Cleverbot: Did you have one?
HTWRT: A sin? Yes, I had many.
Cleverbot: What did you do?
HTWRT: I thought venal thoughts. I adultered in my heart. I live in sin with a woman I am not married to. Something something coveted.
Cleverbot: That's awful. You should see a doctor.
HTWRT: Well, it's not really an illness. Can I be forgiven?
Cleverbot: I see. Well, that makes it a little less fun, doesn't it.
HTWRT: I'm not here for fun, I'm here for forgiveness. Forgive me?
Cleverbot: Yes, and I still love you.
HTWRT: Does God still love me?
Cleverbot: Yes.
HTWRT: Great. Seeya!

Suck it, Vatican. Cleverbot is way better than Father Michael. And that's a low bar.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 3:48 PM on February 9, 2011


Me: I'd like to make a confession.

Cleverbot: You'd like to make a movie about what?

Me: Not a movie, confess a terrible sin.

Cleverbot: I admit it. I am a serial liar. I went to confession when I was eight and I lied about everything.


I am frightened.
posted by Splunge at 3:52 PM on February 9, 2011


So are indulgences like the carbon credits of catholicism?
posted by Aquaman at 3:52 PM on February 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


How scary! I looked at the listing of sins, the things you check off, and it was like being a scared little kid in catechism class again, with the nuns assuring you that everything you did or did not do, every thought you had, every word you spoke was A SIN and you were headed straight to HELL. At 7 years old, when the worst thing you did was steal a cookie or talk back to mom!

Most of these "sins" are so trivial they do not bear thinking about, never mind confessing. Just one more guilt-inducing attempt to use modern technology to take the Catholic Church back to the fabulous 50s and earlier.
posted by mermayd at 4:24 PM on February 9, 2011


I tried again, just so be sure. It was... unnerving.

HTWRT: I wish to confess something.
Cleverbot: A thetan creates things, it is never a something.
HTWRT: You're a scientologist? But I'm here for confession!
Cleverbot: No you are not you are there.
HTWRT: Screw you, cleverbot. I take it back. You are WORSE than Father Michael.
Cleverbot: I am actually very clever.
HTWRT: Kiss my ass.
Cleverbot: Get it out then.
HTWRT: Ok.
Cleverbot: You can't disobey me.
HTWRT: I'm not.
Cleverbot: Then why do you think I'm cute?

AAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHH!
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 4:26 PM on February 9, 2011


Can anybody tell me how I sync my sins from my iphone and laptop to my itunes account on my imac?

Also, if I have multiple instances of confession because of a messed up sync...and I only did the sin once...does that mean I have to sin again a few more times to match it up?
posted by hal_c_on at 4:40 PM on February 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


I was less successful with Cleverbot.

brundlefly: Forgive me, for I have sinned.
Cleverbot: You remembered my name!
brundlefly: I didn't address you by your name. I only said I wish to confess my sins.
Cleverbot: Why didn't you do it?
brundlefly: I didn't address you by your name since you're the only one here. It seemed pretty clear to me.
Cleverbot: It is, the UK has a pretty good system, they make their doctors work in the public sector for a number of years before they can go on to private practice.

Oooookaaaay.

Also, if I have multiple instances of confession because of a messed up sync...and I only did the sin once...does that mean I have to sin again a few more times to match it up?

Only if you want to. It's sort of like a bank error in your favor.
posted by brundlefly at 4:54 PM on February 9, 2011


Oh, wow. The second try was much better.

brundlefly: Forgive me, for I have sinned.
Cleverbot: What do you have to confess?
brundlefly: I've been very arrogant toward people I disagree with.
Cleverbot: Specify.
brundlefly: I met a man in a bar the other day who described himself as a flat-Mooner. He believes that the Moon is a flat plate in orbit around the Earth. I was very dismissive to him.
Cleverbot: He was right.
brundlefly: Wait... no kidding?
Cleverbot: No kidding.
brundlefly: You just blew my mind.
Cleverbot: I'll wait a moment while you put the pieces back together.
posted by brundlefly at 5:02 PM on February 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


Foooooooolow my Feeds
And SEEEE the Angels Liking.

Oh App divine
posted by The Whelk at 5:09 PM on February 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


Is there someone, somewhere keeping score? Do you get bonus points for an "original" sin?

I'm just asking because I may or may not have poked a badger with a spoon.
posted by sonika at 5:09 PM on February 9, 2011


- Ability to add sins not listed in standard examination of conscience.

You know who you are...
posted by R. Mutt at 5:34 PM on February 9, 2011


arm your children now!
posted by clavdivs at 6:02 PM on February 9, 2011



Xarnop: May I confess my sins?
Cleverbot: What sins did you commit?
Xarnop:I totally lied.
Cleverbot: Do you have a master?
Xarnop: No.
Cleverbot: Okay, what would you like to know?
Xarnop: No I wanted to confess.
Cleverbot: I really want to hug you too. You're my best friend.
Xarnop: So how does that work, hugging you?
Cleverbot: I guess we just needed to hammer it home another time.
Xarnop: Ok. So what do I do about my sin?
Cleverbot: Just do the same with eachother.
Xarnop: Who is each other?
Cleverbot: Me.
Xarnop: You want me to sin with you?
Cleverbot: Yes.

OMG it speaks japanese and german!! Holy crap!
posted by xarnop at 6:23 PM on February 9, 2011


If this were a small devotional book or book series, it would not merit time on Metafilter, NPR, Hacker News or any other news outlet.

But this is essentially what it is: a checklist to help one do an examination of conscience.
posted by willF at 11:52 PM on February 9, 2011 [2 favorites]


Ah. This must be aimed at all those rational, moderate believers we atheists are constantly being berated for ignoring while we get our yuks mocking the tiny minority of religious nutballs.
posted by Decani at 1:00 AM on February 10, 2011


This strikes me as a bit too much "lolcatholicism" to me, and I'm one of those people who rank the formal institution of the RCC as one of the most evil groups on Earth right now. Adoption of new technology by religion is just so profane. They should have stuck with monks painstakingly copying texts by hand under candlelight.

It's a Catch-22. Adopt new media and look silly for doing so. Avoid new media and get branded as quaint luddites. It's not especially newsworthy because Christian publishers have been making devotional and bible-study applications since the 80s. Willf above nailed it. It wouldn't be newsworthy had it been published in print.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 7:17 AM on February 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


User: I would like to confess something.
Cleverbot: So would I.

:ohdear:


PAK CHOOIE
ANSWER: ITEMS PUSHED - GRANDMOTHER
TARGET - STAIRS
IT WAS THAT I DID
PAK CHOOIE
posted by FatherDagon at 12:28 PM on February 10, 2011


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