'iPriest' app available to download for Christians in Muslim countries, opening doors for religious freedom
Father Paolo Padrini, nicknamed the "iPriest," has developed an Arabic version of his "iBreviary" app.
The original iBreviary app, launched in 2008, allows users to access Catholic prayers, readings, and hymns on their Apple mobile devices.
Some Catholic religious leaders find the app more convenient than carrying paper breviaries around.
"The app has become a must-have for priests and cardinals and has been really appreciated with the Catholic Church," Father Padrini told The Telegraph.
Father Padrini, who is a new media advisor for the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, also cited the late Cardinal Carlo Maria Martini as a former iBreviary user.
On April 12, the iPriest launched an Arabic version of the app, confronting the ban against selling or possessing Catholic breviaries in some Muslim countries.
"This app opens a door for religious freedom," Father Padrini said.
"The Catholic who prays in Arabic is a symbol of religious coexistence and peace. I hope that the app is seen as a peaceful and not as a hostile gesture. And I hope it is not censored."
The Arabic version of iBreviary is available for iPhones, and an iPad version will be released in three weeks. Android versions should be available this summer. The downloads are free.
Father Padrini also helped coordinate the Vatican website Pope2U.net. The site allows visitors to watch Pope Francis on YouTube, send pictures and messages from the Pope via Facebook, and more.
Pope Francis himself has cited technology as a means to attract people, increase dialogue, and remove barriers.
"A culture of encounter demands that we be ready not only to give, but also to receive," the Pope said in a January statement.
"Media can help us greatly in this, especially nowadays, when the networks of human communication have made unprecedented advances.
"The Internet, in particular, offers immense possibilities for encounter and solidarity. This is something truly good. A gift from God."