Today on CNN's Newsroom, anchor Kyra Phillips reported on "Confession: A Roman Catholic App," available from iTunes. Describing herself as a "woman of the cloth," Phillips claimed the app meant ". . .you don't have to go to church. You don't have to go see the priest. All you do is you go on to this app. . ." She also said the app is endorsed by the Vatican.
She was wrong on all counts. Designed to assist Roman Catholics in examining their consciences while preparing for the Sacrament of Reconciliation, the app doesn't end the requirement to go to church (in most situations) and see a priest. Moreover, while the developer does indeed claim an imprimatur from the Bishop of Fort Wayne-South Bend, that doesn't signify Vatican endorsement.
In the first segment of Newroom, Phillips engaged meteorologist Rob Marciano in a discussion of the app:
PHILLIPS: This is the new app for sinners. Have you heard about this?
MARCIANO: What are you implying? Why are you dragging me into this?
PHILLIPS: Can you remember your last sin?
MARCIANO: Yes. Just a few minutes ago.
PHILLIPS: Yes. Exactly. You can remember it. Anything that you can confess to me right now?
MARCIANO: You know, you're not a man of the cloth although I gave them a break a long time ago.
PHILLIPS: I'm a woman of the cloth, OK? All right. Here's the deal. For $1.99 you can now get this app, all right? And it's for sinners. And I'm not -- and the Catholic Church is actually saying -- endorsing this. So you don't have to go to church. You don't have to go see the priest. All you do is you go on to this app, OK, you log in.
Unsuccessful in getting Marciano to confess a sin or two, Phillips then went through portions of the app:
PHILLIPS: You type in your sin, all right? Go to the next part, then comes the "Act of Contrition." And you say the prayer here. My God, I'm sorry for my sins with all my heart in choosing to do wrong and failing to do good, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. Amen. OK? You say the prayer. Move on to the next part and here you go.
You receive absolution and you respond "Amen," then the priest says, and I guess, I don't know, maybe you just read this, maybe you can act as the priest. Give thanks to the Lord and he is good. Answer? For his mercy endures forever. So I don't know. You can someone there to play priest. OK. You're done it. You're finished.
After more inane banter, the piece ended:
MARCIANO: How about that.
PHILLIPS: $1.99, brother. There you go.
MARCIANO: And saving the Catholic Church a lot of man-hours. You know? The priesthood is in demand. Supply is down. And guys like me, you know, having them line up around the corner because I'm keeping them in there for hours at a time. That is fantastic.
PHILLIPS: Isn't that terrific?
Phillips went on to amplify her ignorance during the next hour when again she discussed the app. Now she stated:
PHILLIPS: It's a Roman Catholic app, it's called Confession. If you don't want to go to church, if you don't want to see the priest, if you don't want to, you know, it takes a lot to get in the car, think of everything you've done wrong.
She then went through a mock confession with Marciano, completing it by placing her hand on the meteorologist's head to "forgive" him:
MARCIANO: And this is endorsed by the Vatican?
PHILLIPS: Yes, it is. $1.99, you confess on your iPad, and you are good to go.
MARCIANO: For those who think the Vatican is in the dark ages, I mean, get on with the iPad right there.
PHILLIPS: They were one of the first, you know, the Roman Catholic church to go on-line, do Youtube, start talking about, you know --
MARCIANO: (INAUDIBLE) I feel cleansed. I feel so much more pure.
PHILLIPS: Let me heal you right here, I got to get on the head. Bless you. Thank you, Rob, for playing.
Some viewers may consider Phillips's silly patter, blatant disregard for facts, and mockery of a sacrament to be blasphemous. Perhaps they would have expected more from a self-styled woman of the cloth. Then again, this is CNN, the most trusted name in news. Or so they allege.