The news that there is a new 'app' for the iPhone that allows users to make confession with a virtual priest over the internet, comes as no great surprise. Indeed, I am amazed that it has taken this long.
There will, I suppose, be those who condemn the idea of 'instant confession', and will see this as another step towards the breakdown of the Catholic Church. I'm on the opposite side of that particular argument. If the app is faithful to doctrine, and encourages individuals to ponder over the morality of their actions, it can only be a force for good.
It does list Acts of Contrition in English and Latin, it is approved by senior church figures in this country and in the US, and the words at the end of the confessional process carry an implicit invitation to visit a priest. And when you're done, you get a spiritual quotation from a saint, some of them female (and that's pretty radical for Catholics). For those Catholics far from home, or in places where professing your faith is potentially dangerous, this advance may well be very gratefully received.
And quirkily, it is in tune with the words of Pope Benedict XVI, urging Catholics to make good use of their presence in the digital world. Consider it done, your Holiness...