Need to Go to Confession? There's an App for That. ...[Derived Headline]

By Ramirez, Chris | Tribune-Review/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, November 16, 2012 | Go to article overview

Need to Go to Confession? There's an App for That. ...[Derived Headline]


Ramirez, Chris, Tribune-Review/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review


Need to go to confession? There's an app for that.

A $1.99 iPhone application created by three entrepreneurs in South Bend, Ind., moves the Catholic rite of baring your soul to a priest in a darkened confessional booth to your cellphone.

And that's not all.

Pastors stream their sermons online; rabbis use websites to track their students' progress toward b'nai mitzvah; and Muslims turn to electronic compasses and GPS technology so they know which way to face during daily prayers.

Even the Dalai Lama maintains an active Twitter feed.

It all means that worship is going high-tech.

"It's the world we live in now," says the Rev. Dr. Ronald Cole- Turner, a professor of theology and ethics at the Pittsburgh Theological Seminary in East Liberty.

Gone are the days when going to church meant lugging around Bibles with dog-earred, time-yellowed pages. Today, the Word of God has gone byte-sized -- megabyte, that is.

Hundreds of iPhone apps allow worshippers to upload Bible quotes, Torah-chanting practice and Buddhist prayer wheels. Ryan Kreager developed the "Confession App" with two friends -- together they make up an app development company called Little i Apps. The app, he says, is meant to remind Catholics of their rite of visiting a priest to unburden themselves, not to replace it.

"If you're emotionally hooked to a device ... why not be hooked spiritually, as well?" asks Kreager, a Notre Dame doctoral candidate.

The Colorado Springs, Colo.-based Christian Booksellers Association, which represents 1,700 Christian stores, franchises and religious suppliers, estimates that Americans spend $4.6 billion each year on gadgets, downloads, apps and other products they feel enhance observance of their faith.

Jasmine Kashkoush grew up in a Muslim home in Allentown, and continues to practice her faith while studying neuroscience and math at the University of Pittsburgh. She and roughly 1.6 billion other devout Muslims worldwide pray five times a day, and are supposed to face Mecca when doing so.

She gets help from an Adhan Alarm app, which plays the Arabic call for prayer, and from iQuran, another app that makes the entire Muslim holy book accessible on her phone. …

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