I spent £1.19 on an app the other day. It’s called ‘Confession’ and contrary to reports in the media, it’s not a substitute for going to Confession to a priest. Instead it aims to help you prepare for Confession by taking you through the ten commandments and asking you questions relating to each. The app has got a lot of media coverage, as it’s been presented as an alternative to Confession which as I say it’s not. But now it’s got even more coverage, because a group called Truth Wins Out, which campaigns on behalf of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered people, says the app is “promoting anti-gay spiritual abuse”. What’s raised the hackles of TWO is one of the questions it asks: “Have I been guilty of homosexual activity?” TWO says gay Catholics don’t need to confess homosexual activity.
Well they don’t have to if they don’t want to. Equally, the Catholic Church is entitled to declare that homosexual activity is a sin and should be confessed. Different religions and faiths have their own code of right and wrong, and what seems daft or excessive to outsiders usually makes perfect sense to believers. If we are committed to tolerance we need to allow people, including gays, to follow their consenting preferences; equally, if we believe in tolerance, we need to allow faith groups and organizations the right to draw up their own list of what they consider sinful or not. As it stands, it looks very much like WHO is being intolerant of the Catholic Church’s views on homosexuality, rather than the other way round.
Note I’m not saying I’m in favour of this app, incidentally. Its checklist approach to the ten commandments and the phrasing of the questions it asks under each commandment heading tend to be legalistic and depressing, the opposite of what a living faith which believes in a loving God should be. I’m sure I’ve wasted £1.19 in stupider ways but I can’t think when.
But that still doesn't make TWO's outrage justified.