CNBC's Erin Burnett made a gaffe on Tuesday's Street Signs as she covered a new app for Apple devices which is aimed to assist Catholics to go to confession. Burnett wondered if the app, which costs $1.99 would bring the Church "back to the age of 'condolences' (sic), those things that Martin Luther so abhorred" [audio available here].
The anchor reported on the app, "Confession: A Roman Catholic App," just before the top of the 3 pm Eastern hour, noting that the new program had received the approval of Church authorities. Burnett gave a brief explanation of the app before making her historical error:
[Video embedded below the page break]
BURNETT: Well, today's 'Sign of the Times' proves there truly is an app for everything. The Catholic Church, giving its blessing for a new iPhone app called 'Confession.' It's the first app to be approved by a religious organization. The app provides a step-by-step guide to the confession process, and offers a so-called 'personalized examination of conscience' for each user. The app supposedly is not designed to replace going to confession but to- quote, 'help Catholics through the act.' The app costs $1.99.
Now, wait, we wonder, is this back to the age of 'condolences' (sic), those things that Martin Luther so abhorred? By the way, this comes just two weeks after Pope Benedict publicly encouraged Catholics to use Facebook. What do you think- $1.99, to go to confession?
Of course, Luther took exception to the Catholic practice of indulgences, which were subject to many abuses during his time. Also, the Church isn't requiring people buy the app in order to go to confession.
On the other hand, the Church has no problem with people offering condolences to those who recently suffered the loss of a loved one. After all, one of the Catholic "Spiritual Works of Mercy" is "comfort the afflicted," and one of the Beatitudes that Jesus taught during the Sermon on the Mount is, "Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted."