Of the many things I find absurd about the Catholic Church, my alma mater, one of the most unfathomable is that they expect us to go into a dark, usually too-hot booth with an adult dude we don’t even know and tell him everything we’ve done wrong. Confession is a little bit like therapy, but without the benefit of actually helping you avoid future wrongdoings; there’s no analysis, and penance is usually some variation of praying ten Hail Marys or, for the particular baddies, the whole dang rosary.
This week, though, a technologically savvy Archbishop in Scotland figured out a way to help Catholics find a better confessional booth and help the Church cater to millennials, a group it’s been bleeding like the stigmata on a Sunday. Time reports that Edinburgh Archbishop Leo Cushley invented an app which “lets users search for the nearest Holy Mass, confessional or diocesanal statistics”and “guide the faithful from their current location to the nearest Catholic Church.” It is called “The Catholic App,” which is deeply unfortunate. Cleverer people on the internet and in the media have been calling it “Sindr,” though that implies it allows you to confess to your sins, receive your penance, and be absolved all via your phone—frankly, a much better idea and one they should consider implementing. (Confession: who has time for it? Plus sometimes there are lines.)
While the Catholic App seems basically like a religious combo of Google Maps, Yelp, and Push Notifications, it does at least bring the institution into the 21st Century, something it’s been needing to do for literal ages (literal ages), particularly if it’s going to compete with all the casj and chill newfangled party churches and also Pentacostalism. Archbishop Cushley attempted to sweeten the deal to Vatican Radio, calling his invention “a little bit of smart technology that could make a big impact on how the Catholic Church brings the mercy of God and the joy of the Gospel to our contemporary world.” Deus ex machina, little lambs.