‘Click to pray 2.0’: Vatican rolls app for the digitally devoted

Catholic Church says the technology shouldn’t ‘invalidate’ other ways to pray

Rory Sullivan
Tuesday 19 October 2021 23:44
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<p>Pope Francis has 18.8 million followers on Twitter.  </p>

Pope Francis has 18.8 million followers on Twitter.

Although not famed for its use of technology, the Catholic church has launched its “Click to Pray 2.0” app in a bid to reach a wider audience.

The Vatican announced on Tuesday that it was rolling out the first major update of its 2016 app, which has been downloaded by more than 2.5 million people in the past five years.

The updated product, which is available in seven languages, allows users to schedule prayer times via a personal planner and also gives them the option to join global prayer groups.

One Italian priest eulogised about the app outside St Peter’s Basilica. “It is an extraordinary thing because it allows you to reach people that you don’t physically meet, it becomes a bridge to reach those hearts that sometimes have strayed from God,” Father Cosimo Schena told Reuters.

Father Frederic Fornos offered a similar message. “Praying is not a waste of time, as we sometimes think. Prayer is like the seed in the darkness of the earth, which will show its fruit in its own good time,” he said.

However, Monsignor Lucio Ruiz, secretary of the Vatican’s communications department, cautioned that the app might not be right for everyone and said it should not “invalidate” existing forms of worship.

Under the leadership of Pope Francis, who boasts almost 19 million Twitter followers, the Catholic church has increased its online reach.

In recent years, the Vatican has supported other digital ventures, including its own version of Pokémon Go in 2018. In JC Go, players have to capture saints and other biblical figures instead of creatures.

At the time of its launch, Honduran cardinal Oscar Maradiaga said: “What young people want is to be active in taking the Gospel also to technology and have fun, learn and be evangelised through these channels.”

The Catholic church’s increased use of new technology comes as it continues to struggle to attract young people, in part because of decades of child sex abuse scandals.

Earlier this month, a report was published which found that 216,000 children had been sexually abused by Catholic clergy in France since 1950.

Additional reporting by Reuters

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