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Vatican issues warning for new Confession app
The Vatican says the app is not meant to replace Confession.
February 9th, 2011
04:38 PM ET

Vatican issues warning for new Confession app

By Hada Messia and Dan Gilgoff, CNN

Rome, Italy (CNN) - Yes, the Roman Catholic Church still supports the new app designed to help Catholics make confession. To a point.

The Vatican qualified its support for "Confession: A Roman Catholic App,” on Wednesday, a day after the program’s developer announced it was the first app to have official church sanction.

“It is essential to understand well the sacrament of penitence requires the personal dialogue between the penitent and the confessor and the absolution by the confessor,” Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi told reporters on Wednesday. “This cannot in any way be substituted by a technology application.”

“One cannot talk in any way about a ‘confession via iPhone,’ ” Lombardi said.

The app’s developer, Little iApps, created Confession in consultation with two Catholic priests, one of them an official with the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

And it has been given the blessing of Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades of the Diocese of Fort Wayne – South Bend, Indiana, marking the Catholic Church's first known imprimatur on a mobile app.

The app’s developer said Wednesday that he welcomed the Vatican’s warning about Confession.

“The app we created is supposed to be used in the actual confessional,” said Patrick Leinen, co-founder of Little iApps. “This is an aid to confession and in no way, shape or form a replacement.”

The app has three parts.

The first is an examination of conscience that's designed to help Catholics prepare for confession before stepping into the confessional, “so you don’t walk in and just start making up sins off the top of your head,” Leinen said.

The second part features step-by-step instructions for what to do inside the confessional.

The last part is a space to record any absolution or penance from the priest.

The Vatican’s Lombardi implied some support for the app on Wednesday. “One cannot exclude that someone can - in preparation for the confession - reflect with the help of digital instrument, as in the past one did it with the help of the written word on paper,” he said.

Leinen said that he was surprised his app had provoked a Vatican response but that he was grateful for it.

“There just seems to be some confusion,” Leinen said. “Some people think they will be e-mailing their confession in and that’s just not how it’s going to be used.”

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Catholic Church • Technology

soundoff (183 Responses)
  1. nike max sale

    The bible teaches that females brought sin and death into the globe, that she precipitated the fall of the race, that she was arraigned before the judgment seat of Heaven, tried, condemned and sentenced. Marriage for her was to be a situation of bondage, maternity a period suffering and anguish, and in silence and subjection, she was to play the role of a dependent on man's bounty for all her materials wants, and for all of the facts she might possibly wish... Here could be the Bible position of woman briefly summed up.

    April 20, 2011 at 4:54 am |
  2. Denogh

    Ha! The Church recognizes that their relevance is diminishing in the face of science and technology, and now they point out that you can only get salvation and forgiveness by talking to one of their people. Gotta keep those butts in the pews.

    February 22, 2011 at 10:06 am |
  3. bwydeman

    It is important to understand that writing this in what it says in bible I have no prejudice against the individual people of the Roman Catholic Church. It is the papal system with its hierarchical control and false doctrines that present a danger to Protestantism, this country, and its people. This concern has led me to write this as a warning to all who read it. Please pray and humble yourself to ask God to give you wisedom.
    Jesus is the only way through confession not man. 1My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: 2And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world. 1 John 2:1,2 and 1 john 1:9 says If we confess our sins, he(Jesus) is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. Man cannot forgive sin he is not God. It would speak "great words" of blasphemy "against the most High [God] read 2 Thessalonians 2:1-17."

    Blasphemy has two definitions in Scripture:
    1. Claiming to forgive sins (Luke 5:21).
    2. Claiming to be God (John 10:33).

    Does this point fit the papacy? Yes! Let's first look at the evidence for it claiming to forgive sins: "Does the Priest truly forgive the sins, or does he only declare that they are remitted? The Priest does really and truly forgive the sins in virtue of the power given to him by Christ." 5 The papacy further undermines Jesus by setting up a system of confession to an earthly priest, thus bypassing Jesus, our High Priest (Hebrews 3:1; 8:1, 2) and only Mediator (1 Timothy 2:5).
    Next consider the evidence for it claiming to be God: "We [the popes] hold upon this earth the place of God Almighty." 6 Here is another: "The pope is not only the representative of Jesus Christ, but he is Jesus Christ, Himself, hidden under the veil of flesh." These quotes are taken from their own lips if you don't believe me look them up (5 Joseph Deharbe, S.J., A Complete Catechism of the Catholic Religion (New York: Schwartz, Kirwin & Fauss, 1924), p. 279.) (6 Pope Leo XIII, Encyclical Letter "The Reunion of Christendom" (dated June 20, 1894) trans. in the Great Encyclical Letters of Pope Leo XIII (New York: Benziger, 1903), p. 304.) (7 Catholic National, July 1895.). Rev 13 explains who that church is The bible says it and it must be said because many people are being deceived. If you want more info on this topic check out these sites.

    http://www.Sabbathtruth.com

    http://www.amazingfacts.org/FreeStuff/BibleStudies/StudyGuides/tabid/105/ctl/ViewMedia/mid/453/IID/2-15/LNG/en/SC/R/Default.aspx?7=Who-is-the-Antichrist?

    http://www.amazingfacts.org/FreeStuff/BibleStudies/StudyGuides/tabid/105/ctl/ViewMedia/mid/453/IID/2-20/LNG/en/SC/R/Default.aspx?7=The-Mark-of-the-Beast.

    http://www.amazingfacts.org/FreeStuff/BibleStudies/StudyGuides/tabid/105/ctl/ViewMedia/mid/453/IID/2-21/LNG/en/SC/R/Default.aspx?7=The-USA-in-Bible-Prophecy.

    http://www.amazingfacts.org/FreeStuff/BibleStudies/StudyGuides/tabid/105/ctl/ViewMedia/mid/453/IID/2-22/LNG/en/7/The-Other-Woman/SC/R/Default.aspx

    February 15, 2011 at 1:29 am |
    • Senait

      Fab,This is a truly amazing tsotimeny of God's awesome power and work in you and your wife's life. I do believe that the Holy Spirit is stirring up the people in our nation today. Something is in the air, and it's gonna be big! You, my friend are a part of it. When I woke up early this morning and saw your interview on Fox News, I was impressed with your vision. I personally am going through some trials myself right now, yet I know that God is doing a great work in the midst of it. Keep the faith, my friend, and I will add your ministry to my prayer list. People are hungering like never before the message that only God's Word can provide, and the Enemy is full force against it. But, we remember that we are fighting powers and principalities and rulers of darkness in high places, but he is a defeated foe! Hang in there, and may God bless you, your family and your endeavors!In Christ,Roger WilliamsCave Creek, AZ

      October 9, 2012 at 11:03 pm |
  4. chief

    it is a good idea, a great idea is giving iphone to catholic kids so they dont have to confess to the priests in person

    February 11, 2011 at 3:25 pm |
  5. MarkinFL

    I give it ten more minutes before it becomes the basis for a drinking game at colleges around the country.

    February 11, 2011 at 2:13 pm |
  6. Robert Hagedorn

    Original sin=Eating fruit from the tree of knowledge of good and evil. But what IS the tree of knowledge of good and evil? Is it a sin to not be stupid, ignorant, and frightened? Do a search: The First Scandal.

    February 10, 2011 at 5:40 pm |
  7. nina

    What's all the hype about ?A lot of churches are going with general confessions!

    February 10, 2011 at 4:23 pm |
  8. SeanNJ

    Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi told reporters on Wednesday. “This cannot in any way be subst.ituted by a technology application.”

    What about Skype and video chat? I mean, do I have to be physically in the room with the guy or can I telecommute?

    February 10, 2011 at 3:53 pm |
  9. LOL

    Bless me father for I have sinned.

    It has been 11 minutes since I last tweeted my confession

    February 10, 2011 at 3:49 pm |
  10. David Johnson

    Back later.

    February 10, 2011 at 11:20 am |
  11. Face

    @Giancarlo
    Sry the burden of proof is on the "claimee"..... you must prove their IS evidence to support your claim.
    Prove their is no FSM, or demons, or fairies...

    It was a dumb comment from David J., but don't add more ignorance...
    GL

    February 10, 2011 at 9:09 am |
    • David Johnson

      @Face

      You said: "It was a dumb comment from David J., but don't add more ignorance..."

      It would only be a dumb comment, if you could prove me wrong... Care to try?

      Cheers!

      February 10, 2011 at 11:15 am |
  12. Felicitations

    This app is exactly like reading the same thing in a prayer book except you can read it on the iPhone that you carry around in your pocket or purse. It is merely a list of the ten commandments with reflections on each one to help a person examine his/her conscience. Those who jump on this to criticize the church haven't even read the article. Well, that's nothing new, is it?

    February 10, 2011 at 7:40 am |
  13. Cocopuf

    That is absolutely absurd ... That you can make a confession of your sins via an application? You'll eventually have the opportunity to upgrade for $1.99 via iTunes to a wider range of options? Now really LOL !!!! Can you hear me?

    It would be much wiser to confess your sins DIRECTLY to Jesus Christ.

    February 10, 2011 at 7:35 am |
    • Woody

      Cocopuf writes:
      "It would be much wiser to confess your sins DIRECTLY to Jesus Christ.".
      You'll have the same results no matter who or what you confess your "sins" to. At least the phone is REAL. You can see it, touch it and hear it. It can't walk on water, as anyone who's dropped one in a toilet can attest, but then again, it doesn't make that absurd claim. Jesus Christ died a long time ago, and is more than likely still dead. But, if it makes you feel good.......

      February 10, 2011 at 10:39 am |
    • gerald

      Funny how Jesus didn't know that and so he empowered the apostles with the power to forgive sins in John 20:21-23. Guess you think he made a mistake. Paul says "we are ministers of reconcilliatoin." guess that is a lie as well.

      February 10, 2011 at 1:29 pm |
    • Read the F*ing article

      @[intellect of a] Cocopuf,
      The article specifically stated that the app did not replace confession with a priest

      “It is essential to understand well the sacrament of penitence requires the personal dialogue between the penitent and the confessor and the absolution by the confessor,” Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi told reporters on Wednesday. “This cannot in any way be subst.ituted by a technology application.”

      February 10, 2011 at 1:37 pm |
  14. desert voice (troubledgoodangel or Nathanael or Voiceinthedesert)

    I am afraid that there will be room for abuse. Abuse in the Church is not knew: it is part of all history, especially post-Vatican II. I fear more outrage, more degradation. A single Vatican insider should not give such approval to a Sacrament! which Jesus took seriously! I fear the same as happened when some priests thought that boys can be abused. I fear the same as happened with the lay movements, which, like Neocatechumenate, spurned the Blessed Sacrament and kneeling during Eucharistic Consecration of Bread and Wine, in spite of being approved by three Popes! Is this not a proof that Vatican is out of touch what really goes on in the Church? But the responsibility is especially in the hands of the Bishops, who ignore these abuses chronically and systematically! I fear for Christianity ... which Jesus said will survive ... but He also said: "will there be ine single believer left when I come?" That is where the Church seems to be heading today! I fear!

    February 10, 2011 at 6:00 am |
  15. Plato101

    An app that encourages you to examine your conscience? Outrageous!

    February 9, 2011 at 10:04 pm |
    • Reality

      “Now Rome which developed the Church of Dogma (rather than metanoia) dared to add things which have scant basis in scripture like the Trinity, Individual priesthood, Auricular Confession, Transubstantiation, Infallibility, Immaculate Conception and the Assumption.

      None of these are present in scripture not can they be deduced. Matthew 16:18 was discovered to apply to the papacy by Damasus I who had over a hundred of his rival's supporter's killed to gain the bishopric of Rome. It is after this time that the phrase from Matthew is more and more centered on Rome. The bishops of Rome committed many crimes. The biggest one was to ascribe their malfeasance to the Holy Spirit. Still is.”- from Westar Insti-tute

      February 9, 2011 at 11:44 pm |
  16. David Johnson

    WoW! This would really be a concern if there really was a god to confess to ...

    Grow up people there is no Santa, Easter Bunny or god.

    Cheers!

    February 9, 2011 at 8:09 pm |
    • Giancarlo

      Prove that there is no God.

      February 10, 2011 at 7:21 am |
    • RobertL

      David, Satan will enjoy your company one day...

      February 10, 2011 at 8:27 am |
    • David Johnson

      @RobertL

      You said: "David, Satan will enjoy your company one day..."

      Dude! Here's a news flash for you: There is no Satan. Satan was invented by men, because they felt "funny" worshipping a god that had just devastated a village of good people via a flood. They didn't want their god to be the one who did evil. So, Beelzebub was born.

      Consider: You believe god is all knowing. Yes?
      You believe god is all powerful. Yes?
      You believe everything written in the bible is true. Yes?
      You believe Satan is at least as intelligent as your average human. Yes?
      You believe Satan can read? Yes?

      Do you think Satan ever read the part, in the bible, where he loses the battle against god?

      Who, more than a fallen angel, would believe/know god was omniscient? Not to mention omnipotent. That would have been a stumbling block to any coup attempt. Right?

      So, rebellion would have been dumb of Satan and his band of angels. God would have said, "You will lose and you will lose your health insurance." End of rebellion, I think.

      These stories are fiction. Do you see that? What ent ity would rebel against an all powerful, all knowing god? You couldn't even sneak up on Him. Sheesh! Use your brain, just a little.

      There is no evidence of a soul or for an afterlife. All that we are, is contained within our very material brain. When we experience brain death, we cease to exist.

      Cheers!

      February 10, 2011 at 9:08 am |
    • James Swanson

      I understand that you don't believe and that makes it impossible for us to agree, but .......
      We believe that angels, like God are outside of the time and space that we live in and therefore are not like men/women at all. We don't claim to know how they think or act or what they are aware of (or what God makes them aware of for that matter). Even if we were on the same plane with angels, you are perfect evidence, for those who believe, of an intelligent man rebelling against God making it very reasonable to believe in an "intelligent" angel rebelling against God.
      ...Like I said, I know you don't agree with this, but its an attempt to explain where (I think) they are coming from.

      February 10, 2011 at 9:37 am |
    • David Johnson

      @Giancarlo

      You said: "Prove that there is no God."

      No one can prove a negative. No one can prove absolutely that something does not exist. I cannot "prove" Santa or the Easter Bunny does not exist. No one can.

      But in life, we do decide by a preponderance of the evidence, whether something exists or not.

      1 Corinthians 13:11
      When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.

      When I was 5, I believed in magic and things unseen. When I was 7, I gave up childish notions.
      Childish beliefs should be abandoned by every adult, if they haven't done it earlier.

      We reject Santa and the Easter Bunny, because we know that there are children who don't receive any toys for Christmas. Kids of rich parents receive more and better toys than the poor kids. Carrying all those toys and sliding down chimneys is not believable. Saying Santa is magic doesn't satisfy us.

      Santa doesn't fit in with how things really are. The jolly old elf, just isn't probable.

      God is like Santa. He is a fictional being. He doesn't fit in, with how things really are.

      Because believers want god to be real, they use selective observation, make excuses and hold onto expectations that are very,very unlikely – Jesus has been dead for 2000+ years. He hasn't returned, in spite of predicting a 1st Century 2nd Coming. All the born again believers will float up to heaven. When we die, our souls survive to be rewarded or punished. Like Santa, you will receive more or less gifts, depending on what the elf observes. So you better watch out. You better not pout... an invisible somebody is watching you all the time. LOL

      Bad things happen to good people. Bad people often live long lives in the sun.

      God is all good, but there is so much suffering in the world. God did horrible things in the Old Testament. Reality, calls this attribute into question.

      Prayer does not work. Jesus made promises about prayer, that you can test. So test them. Ask for anything – A new car, world peace, that Jesus would appear to you... or, move a mountain. Faith will move a mountain. You seem like a faith filled sort of guy.

      When people pray, they are talking to themselves. When god starts talking to them, we start to worry. We believe it is a sign of mental illness.

      There are no miracles. Miracles are just the product of coincidence and random chance. Or, deception and fraud.

      Science can find no use for god. All the gaps in man's knowledge, that are filled by god, are being filled by scientific discoveries.

      Evolution has dispelled the myth of creation. There is tons of evidence for Evolution. None for Creation.

      If Adam and Eve did not exist, then there could not have been original sin. If no original sin, then all the suffering humans and animals endure, could not be because of it. If no original sin, then there is no need for a redeemer. If no redeemer, then why is there Christianity?

      So Giancarlo, there is more evidence that there is no god then is for there being a god. Your belief in god is based on faith. Faith in something does not make it true. Faith without evidence is worthless.

      I claim there is no god, with the same confidence that I claim there is no Santa or Easter Bunny.

      If extraordinary evidence surfaces, that Santa exists, I will embrace him. Every adult should take this stand. God is just the Santa for adults.

      Love and Prayers!

      February 10, 2011 at 10:46 am |
    • David Johnson

      @James Swanson

      You said "We believe that angels, like God are outside of the time and space that we live in and therefore are not like men/women at all."

      Doesn't matter where your god(s) reside – in another dimension, or the North Pole. My argument for Satan still holds. The fact that Satan is not like humans is irrelevant.

      You said: "Even if we were on the same plane with angels, you are perfect evidence, for those who believe, of an intelligent man rebelling against God making it very reasonable to believe in an "intelligent" angel rebelling against God."

      No, The myth says Satan lived in Heaven with God. Satan would be well aware of god's existence. Satan would be well aware of His omnipotence and His omniscience. Or, are you denying god has these attributes? If so, why call Him god?

      I am not rebelling. I don't believe god exists. I am not rebelling against Santa Claus. I just don't believe in him either.

      You said: "We don't claim to know how they think or act or what they are aware of (or what God makes them aware of for that matter)."

      Well, we know that Satan had free enough will to revolt against god. Lore has it that Satan is crafty, so that rules out retardation.

      Your argument/ explanation has no merit.

      Cheers!

      .

      February 10, 2011 at 11:06 am |
    • Nonimus

      @Giancarlo,
      "Prove that there is no God."
      Prove there is no...
      Zeus
      Odin
      Brahman
      Ra
      etc.

      Why not believe in them?

      February 10, 2011 at 1:30 pm |
    • Magic

      James Swanson,

      "We believe that angels, like God are outside of the time and space that we live in and therefore are not like men/women at all. We don't claim to know how they think or act or what they are aware of"

      No claims about angels? Really? They are all over in the Bible - they even speak and stuff.

      There are hundreds of instances of unnamed angels, as well as the famous ones (Michael, Gabriel, Raphael, Satan), appearing and working for God as messengers and warriors. Angels visited Lot in Sodom to warn him and protect him. (Genesis: 19) Angels protect God’s people, too. (Psalm 91: 11) Angels are created beings, (Psalm 148: 2-5) don’t marry, (Luke 20:34-36) and are created holy (Genesis 1: 31; Jude 6).

      February 10, 2011 at 1:52 pm |
    • Magic

      p.s. Then there's the prayer that they teach little kids:

      Angel of God, my guardian dear,
      To whom God's love commits me here,
      Ever this day be at my side,
      To light and guard, to rule and guide. Amen.

      So, claims of lighting, guarding, ruling and guiding (and being at one's side).

      February 10, 2011 at 2:02 pm |
    • CatholicMom

      David Johnson,
      No matter what satan knew his pride got in his way.

      February 10, 2011 at 9:48 pm |
    • buffoon

      The folks who believed that Ra is our god were right (don't you dare to differ/question)!

      Sheep can't prove that they are not sheep! Logic doesn't apply to sheep; faith does! :)

      February 15, 2011 at 1:47 pm |
    • James Swanson

      It would take me an hour to type up everything I didn't mean by what I posted earlier. I gave a brief overview of my take on the subject. It was only that, an overview not an overarching explanation of everything involved in the conversation.

      David....On your evolution comment....I'm guessing you have heard of it from your scientific research, but I was going to let other people know.

      There's some great research being done on the topic of evolution, especially the claim that there are only so many differences between other primates and humans genomes (I don't remember the exact number). They are finding more "introns" every day that actually are involved in genetic processing (locations, timing, etc.) where in the past these nucleic acid sequences have been viewed as irrelevant. The point being that nobody knows how different the intron or non-protein coding sequences are between humans and other primates because the research quoted is only on the exons, or protein coding portions of the genome. It will be interesting to see when somebody works on figuring out just how different they are.

      February 15, 2011 at 11:14 pm |
    • James Swanson

      ....Just one example of what I didn't mean by what I poster earlier. Mainly what I did not mean was that there aren't accounts of angels in the Bible.

      Of course there are and they have been given human attributes. Whether they were the exact representation of the words of the writers of the Bible or not, the writers would have been limited in expressing what they experienced by their own experiences and words to describe them. So obviously either way they would be described using human characteristics and words.

      February 15, 2011 at 11:20 pm |
    • Denogh

      Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then he is not omnipotent.
      Is he able, but not willing? Then he is malevolent.
      Is he both able and willing? Then whence cometh evil?
      Is he neither able nor willing? Then why call him God?
      –Epicurus

      February 22, 2011 at 10:13 am |
    • James Swanson

      I don't know about you, Denough, but I think the times I learned the most when I was a child was when my parents allowed me to take on the world for myself. For good or for bad. I don't think this makes them malevolent nor does it say of them that they were unable to change the outcome. We see the product of the type of parents who make every decision for their child until they leave the house (if they leave the house), and it is usually not a good thing. Good Fathers allow their children to make decisions for themselves.

      February 22, 2011 at 4:01 pm |
  17. bobby

    i heard the I phone came down to our earth to die for our sins

    February 9, 2011 at 7:47 pm |
    • Peace2All

      @bobby

      Actually, that was kind of funny. LOL...

      Peace...

      February 10, 2011 at 3:22 am |
    • marianao

      Brilliant!!!! Made me laugh out loud!!!

      February 10, 2011 at 5:10 am |
    • angelica

      you are too funny!!

      February 10, 2011 at 5:13 am |
    • shoko

      the best comment evaaa!!!!!!!

      February 10, 2011 at 7:55 am |
    • buffoon

      Who'd have thunk that Steve Jobs is actually the Second Coming... :)

      February 15, 2011 at 1:40 pm |
  18. Nothing

    When the I-phone was released headlines read "More people line up for the I-Phone then the second coming of Christ". And now they are confessing thier sins to it. I bet the next time I pass an apple store they will all be in there bowing down to it!

    February 9, 2011 at 7:37 pm |
    • gerald

      Did you read the article? Yet another detractor who finds it easier to remain in ignorance and jest and jeer and ridicule in order to make himself feel better about himself rather than to really engage in any intelligent commentary. Sad.

      February 9, 2011 at 11:21 pm |
  19. Joann Prinzivalli

    While I am no longer Catholic, I can understand the utility of using an app as an aid in one's examination of conscience. I would think that such an examination might help even those who do not share the same faith, though some of the questions might be irrelevant to those with other beliefs. I think they could consider creating patterns for examination based on the seven deadly sins, or other sources, in addition to the ten commandments. The criticism from people who do not understand the sacrament is puzzling.

    February 9, 2011 at 7:26 pm |
    • buffoon

      When I see a pile of dung, I point it out! It's not a criticism; it's a fact! Though, some see it as fertilizer! :)

      February 15, 2011 at 1:36 pm |
  20. Catholic Bob

    John 20:21-23
    (Jesus) said to them again, "Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you."
    And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, "Receive the holy Spirit.
    Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained."

    So why confess your sins to a priest when you can go directly to God? We Catholics confess our sins to a priest because Jesus gave that authority to his apostles. How else could they forgive or retain sins without someone telling them? Jesus didn't give the apostles the authority or ability to read minds. The sinful condition of the priest or the apostles has nothing to do with the his authority to forgive or retain sins. It is the Priest behind the priest who has forgiven us.

    Reconcilation or Confession is one of the best and most under used Sacraments in the Church. Anyone can go into a room, close the door and confess their sins to God. It is much harder to admit your most inner sins to another person. Jesus knew what he was doing when he gave the authority to forgive or retain sins to his apostles.

    February 9, 2011 at 7:17 pm |
    • James Swanson

      Just letting those who might not know.... that the Catholic Church doesn't have a monopoly on confession. Many protestant churches are now realizing (and have for some time) that this is an integral part of discipleship of their corporate body through one-on-one meetings. We just don't formalize it and say that it must be done through a priest at the cathedral/church/building.

      February 10, 2011 at 9:15 am |
    • gerald

      Your just now realizing it? The CC never quit and protestants all over criticized them for it. Now you realize it wasn't so bad after all and maybe Martin Luther and his successors made a mistake. The CC was right all along. Maybe there are a few other things that weren't so bad after all with the CC. Confession does not have to be from 4-5 on a Saturday afternoon. It is not even required that it be in a Church. The formalization gives the people a time and a place that they know they can come and have a priest hear their sins. Your post shows a lack of reality about Catholicism that you really need to examine. It demonstrates prejudice.

      February 10, 2011 at 9:39 am |
    • James Swanson

      I don't know the history really well, but I'm pretty sure martin luther had a much bigger problem with the church accepting money for people to "get out of purgatory faster" and with the idea that saying 10 "Hail Mary's" gets people forgiven than he ever had with the act of confessing. I am not by any means suggesting that all Catholic's feel this way or that any of them do, just what happened in the past.

      I also put in my comment that it has been happening for some time, I don't know the history of the protestant churches well enough to speculate on exactly how long though...

      February 10, 2011 at 1:11 pm |
    • CatholicMom

      James Swanson,

      I think it is a good thing that protestants realize something is missing in their way of following Christ’s commands….though they must realize that their ministers cannot give them absolution as a priest can because the pastor must be SENT by Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ said….as the Father SENT Him…so He was sending His Apostles and the Successors of the Apostles…
      How was Jesus Christ sent by the Father…with power and authority; He sent the Apostles out with His power and authority.

      Protestant ministers are not sent out that way…they may say they are sent but by whom are they sent…a man?

      February 10, 2011 at 9:41 pm |
    • James Swanson

      So you believe that you confess to something more than a man, good to know exactly where you stand. Not any different than thinking the pope is above humanity, even with all of the evidence throughout the years of atrocity committed under direct order of the papacy. Absolution only comes from Christ and not from your priests, any of us can be conduits of God's love and forgiveness but not absolution (we are not judges). I'm pretty sure in Acts the Holy Spirit was poured out on all those present, not to Peter and then to everyone else, which would lead to the fact that all of them were "SENT" as you say only Peter was. He was the strongest in character and had been tried more than many of the apostles so of course he would be the rock or strong place to build the church.

      Again, as I said it has been going on for an unknown amount of years in protestant circles and is not a recent development except in some denominations.

      February 10, 2011 at 11:50 pm |
    • gerald

      James,

      Where did Catholic Mom say priests were more than men? I don't know how you can read John 20:21-23 and not see that God has given men the power to forgive sins but you might want to read Matt 9 as well. Read vs. 8 about the authority given to MEN (not just a man who was Christ). Men is plural. Now what is that authority? Look at v. 6!!!!! Read your bible without prejudice with your protestant traditions James. By the way, you claim that atrocities were committed with authority of the Pope. Actually most of what happened was under the power of governments in Romans 13. God will judge them. Your protestant Churches did similar things. Ever hear of the Geneva Inquisition? It wasn't Catholic and people were burned at the state. John Calvin was there. At the words of Martin Luther 100,000 protestant peasants in Germany were killed. Fact. Baptists drowned antibaptists, the KKK was largely a protestant organization, Catholic priests were killed in England by having their guts ripped out by protestants and left to die.

      God bless

      February 11, 2011 at 1:57 pm |
    • James Swanson

      What I'm saying is that there are numerous places in the new testament where the writers say we are all called into many different things (one of which is in Paul's letter to the ephesians the whole apostles, prophets, teachers, preachers thing). So what I am saying is that if you say that only Catholic priests are called by God to lead Jesus' flock it is equivalent to saying that there is an extra step between "normal" men (those of us called to do different things other than full time paid ministry) and priests. Or you are saying that all those outside the Catholic church in general are not called by God to do anything because of a ritual (baptism/confirmation in a certain church) and therefore are "second class citizens". Both of which I believe are completely legalistic and non-Biblical.
      I've told CatholicMom before that I have no problem with Catholicism, just in the fact that you all claim to have the "complete" picture whereas the protestants who broke away only have a piece. This doesn't make any sense, because we both have the same Bible (with a few minor exceptions that all of us can read) and the only differences I see are those of religious and procedural/ritualistic nature, not spiritual. This is exactly what the New Covenant through Jesus changed from the Old Covenant. That the rituals the Israelites had to perform were no longer necessary to be close to God. The veil was torn and all can access it anywhere, anytime. Not against rituals in and of themselves, just when they become the target and not one among many means.
      Again I make the point that we can be the spokesmen for Jesus and state that He has forgiven and that we forgive, but we cannot forgive for him, because we know not the heart of man and the heart is what needs forgiving along with the flesh.

      February 13, 2011 at 11:05 pm |
    • James Swanson

      Oh forgot....
      I have never said that protestants haven't committed many blasphemous and terrible deeds, because that would be a ludicrous statement. Of course they have. The difference is that we don't claim infallibility as an organized group. Humanity=fallible, period.

      February 13, 2011 at 11:10 pm |
    • James Swanson

      Also..... A five second inquiry at wik-ipedia told me that you have no basis for your claims of Luther ki-lling 100,000 peasants. Luther con-demned all of the ki-llings even though people used his name as the reason they were doing it. "Against the Murderous, Thieving Hordes of Peasants" and "25 Articles".
      It is interesting to hear about theological prejudice ac-cusations coming from someone who isn't allowed to think for himself when it comes to theology. (Correct me if I'm wrong) Catholics cannot interpret the Bible or theology for themselves, they can only take the position of the Vatican on any concept in religion (I was pretty sure this is why they have sponsored web-sites and systematic classes in apologetics so everyone has a stock answer for each question posed). To me this tends to be much more prejudiced than the free thinking encouraged in many other denominations of Christianity (however there are many problems with this concept as well, nothing is perfect).

      February 13, 2011 at 11:25 pm |
    • buffoon

      When I see a pile of dung, I point it out! That's what all religions are about.

      It's not a criticism; it's a fact! Though, some see them as fertilizer! :)

      February 15, 2011 at 1:36 pm |
    • gerald

      James,

      Hope you see this.
      Know what IRONY is? Well it is ironic that in Catholicism we actually have more freedom of thought. The truth shall set you free. When does a scientist really make progess? In all the wasted experiments that never match his theory? No, when the experiment matches his theory all of the sudden GREAT THINGS HAPPEN! Read the writings of the saints. They are FAR deeper than your protestant writers. Why? Because they are not going down blind alleys in their thought. I don't reel restrained at all by Catholicism. Quite the contrary.

      February 16, 2011 at 10:11 pm |
    • gerald

      Also James, you seem to imply that there isn't a hierarchy of any kind. Read James 3:1, Heb 13:17, Jer 3:1 etc. Prov 3:5 says trust not in your understanding. Jer 3:15 says that God gives shepherds who provide KNOWLEDGE AND UNDERSTANDING.

      February 16, 2011 at 10:13 pm |
    • James Swanson

      I understand that you feel free to think whatever you want, but if it contradicts the Catholic Church's position, but doesn't contradict Jesus' teachings then I am assuming you would take the position of the Catholic Church. Not saying this is terrible, just saying it is not the only way of thinking of things, because the gospels don't make every conceivable situation crystal clear.

      I completely agree with you about the truth.....who was Jesus (the way, truth, and life). I can follow Jesus completely and utterly without ever having set foot in a Catholic Church. However, I think your view on the depth of knowledge from protestants is a little skewed. I find that Catholic writers are amazing and have no doubt that God inspired their words, but I also think that of many writers who are Protestant. The difference is, and this is one area where the Catholic Church is better with a little oversight, that anyone can claim protestantism and write a book and I don't believe that happens very often in the Catholic Church. So yes, there are many "protestant" writers spewing things that are unBiblical.

      The thing about "blind alleys," I really don't know what you are getting at, but if they are inspired by God and are writing truth and transformation that is closer to Jesus I wouldn't call that a blind alley, that's the true North of christianity, whether Catholic or protestant. I am interested as to which of the protestant writers you are attributing this to? (I have read a little of Augustine and Aquinas.

      I agree that there are orders set up in the Bible about spiritual gifts and callings, what I was saying is that every human is called into what some call a "sphere of influence" where God needs them to reach the lost. So there will need to be leaders, but if the leader's are corrupt they shouldn't be leading anymore (which is what happened with Luther and the Reformation, again not saying there haven't been times similar for the protestant church). I feel that (most) catholic priests are called into ministry just as my pastor was. I feel like I have been called to my vocation as well.

      None of these speak of a hierarchy where some are more called or "sent" than others, which is what was commented on in a previous post. We are all called equally and differently in Spirit, but not in leadership.

      February 16, 2011 at 10:52 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.