The Catholic Church has had a rough time lately, between sex scandals and dwindling interest in church and the constant onslaught of the New Atheist movement, they haven’t had much good PR in the last decade. Always a relic from older, simpler times, the Catholic Church is usually half a century behind the rest of the world in adopting any sort of new technology or public opinion. Despite the AIDS crisis, it took them thirty years to decide that condoms were OK for preventing the spread of HIV, so I was shocked to find that they are trying to keep it real with a new iPhone app for confessions.
I admit that I laughed when I read that. I did. I’m not a Catholic, and I’m not sure how mundane one can make the sacred and profound, but from the perspective of marketing the church to younger members, which is what they so desperately need, making it easier to participate on social media platforms is a smart move. Earlier this year, the Pope said he wanted to reach out with new media, and I think this has to be a step in the right direction. Although they have a YouTube channel and a Facebook page that lets users send online postcards, this is a major step to creating an interactive relationship through social media.
There are already several apps available that are religious, most of them centered around quotes and full copies of the Bible, but this is thought to be the first app officially approved by the Vatican. It is, of course, not free, but costs $1.99 to download. I think it speaks volumes about the importance of social media as a marketing tool that even the Holy See is getting in on the act. Here’s hoping the Pope starts tweeting.
I seriously can’t believe they’re charging for it, I feel like that’s the most crass thing about it.