VATICAN CITY (Reuters) - Catholics cannot confess via iPhone and technology is not a substitute for being present when admitting sins to a priest, the Vatican spokesman said on Wednesday.
The statement by Father Federico Lombardi follows the launch of an iPhone application aimed at helping Catholics through confession sanctioned by the Catholic Church in the United States.
"One cannot speak in any way of confessing via iPhone," Lombardi said on Wednesday, adding that confession required the presence of the penitent and the priest.
"This cannot be substituted by any IT application," Lombardi added.
Confession: A Roman Catholic app, thought to be the first to be approved by a church authority, walks Catholics through the sacrament and contains what the company behind the program describes as a "personalized examination of conscience for each user."
The application is not designed to replace going to confession but to help Catholics through the act, which generally involves admitting sins to a priest in a confessional booth.
Some reports on its approval by the Catholic Church in the U.S. suggested confession would now be possible via iPhone.
Reporting by Catherine Hornby