*OS" means "operating system." The initials also mean Ohr Somayach, an organization dedicated to providing Jewish students an opportunity to explore Torah heritage in a warm, non-judgmental and intellectually stimulating environment. It also means Online Services, Overall Survival, On-Site, Out of Stock, Off Screen, Outsourcing Services, Old Stuff and Old Spice (after shave brand).
Newspaper headlines read:
BLESS ME iPHONE
FOR I HAVE SINNED
VATICAN: CATHOLICS CANNOT CONFESS VIA iPHONE
iPHONE APPS LETS CATHOLICS PRACTICE CONFESSING ON THE GO
In Yiddish, the words meaning "to confess" are "moyde zayn zikh."
Today, using confessions.net, you can make confessions online, or read confessions posted by other people. All posts are 100% anonymous. One recent confessions read:
"I just discovered my wife has a profile on a married but dating website. She is 39 with two kids....."
Catholics have seen their share of change. Richard Owen wrote a piece titled, "Vatican Adds Seven New Deadly Sins Including Damaging Environment and Drug Dealing" in 2008.
After 1,500 years the Vatican has brought the seven deadly sins up to date by adding seven new ones for the age of globalization. The list, which was published in L'Osservatore Romano, the Vatican news- paper, listed the new deadly sins: polluting, genetic engineering, being obscenely rich, drug dealing, abortion, pedophilia and causing social injustice.
The Catholic Church divides sins into venial, or less serious, sins and mortal sins, which threaten the soul with eternal damnation unless absolved before death through confession and penitence
It holds mortal sins to be "grave violations of the Ten Commandments and the Beatitudes," including murder, contraception, abortion, perjury, and adultery.
F-a-s-t forward to 2011. A new problem has developed. Patrick Leinen, an internet programmer and faithful Catholic, decided to bring this most revered Catholic practices to the technology nearest you. He says that people are intimidated by confession, so they wanted to design an app that would walk you "in baby steps" through an "examination of conscience" and help you prepare for the real thing.
One can now confess their sins via iPhone! Leinen says that the sins can be tailored to YOU. Just type in your age, gender, marital status and last confession.
The questions cover EVERYTHING:
1) Have I ever deliberately told a lie in
2) Have I abused alcohol or drugs?
3) Have I given scandal to anyone, thereby leading them into sin?
4) Have I pouted and been moody?
The Vatican says that technology is NOT a substitute for being present when admitting sins to a priest. Father Federico Lombardi said, "One cannot speak in any way of confessions via iPhone." He added that "confession required the presence of the penitent and the priest. This cannot be substituted by any IT application."
I was interested in learning what today's rabbis would think of confessions via iPhone, and contacted Rabbi Yisroel Cotlar, Chabad.org. He e-mailed me this statement:
"We must begin with a distinction. We Jews do not confess to priests or Rabbis. In matters between man and G-d, we confess to God alone. In matters involving man to man, we must also contact that individual and ask for forgiveness.
As to whether the latter can be done via phone or email: It is definitely not the preferred route. Part of Mechila (asking for forgiveness) is sayng it face-to-face. It takes that much more out of you (similar to another law of not asking forgiveness through an intermediary) and is therefore that much deeper. Even P/phone (sic) is more direct than email.
I would like to think that an email would be
a back-up in an instance where face-to-face
or even phone was not possible. But one
would have to ensure that it was accepted,
etc." (Thank you, Rabbi Cotlar.)
Marjorie Gottlieb Wolfe wonders whether 2012 will bring an iPhone app which simulates a nagging Jewish mother.
More Majorie Wolfe
All Things Jewish
Jewish Communities of the World