Snapchat priest takes confessions online

Snapchat logo(Photo: Wikipedia)

A person posing as a priest is inviting people to confess to him over the social media app Snapchat.

"Priest David" of San Antonio accepts confessions over the instant messenger service that allows pictures, videos, and texts to disappear seconds after receipt. 

David claimed that he has been a priest for 23 years, and that his Snapchat usage is related to a college student's project. He also expressed an interest in making confessions easier for Catholics. 

Texas religious leaders were skeptical of the so-called priest, however, and accused him of abusing the sacrament. 

"It's not confession," Rev. Tony Vilano told News 4. "It's not what the sacrament is all about. He's not a Catholic priest.

"The church teaches when you go to confession, you should go to a priest either behind a divider or face to face."

The Episcopal Diocese of West Texas issued a statement clarifying their position on confessions. 

"[We recognise] there are various ways churches can reach out to people through social media," they began.

"However, Episcopalians are not asked to present private confessions to a priest, instead confession is offered in worship, as part of the church's liturgy."

Archdiocese of San Antonio Deacon Pat Rodgers condemned the Snapchat priest, and agreed with Rev Vilano that confessions must take place face to face. 

"Doing it Snapchat, I mean, you can do Snapchat or through the internet and list everything you've done and there's no humility in there," Vilano insisted.  "There's no ownership of the sins you've committed."

As traditional services become increasingly available online, the Christian media industry has followed suit.
The YouVersion app, for example, allows Android, iOS, Blackberry, and other mobile users to download the bible in over 1,000 versions and over 700 languages.

Over 160 million people have downloaded the app on their smartphones and tablets since 2007.

Priest David will offer his services until March 16.