Archbishop Leo Cushley has unveiled a GPS-powered Mass and Confession finding app.
The Archbishop of St Andrews and Edinburgh announced the launch of the Catholic App outside St Peter’s Basilica.
“This is a little bit of smart technology that could make a big impact on how the Catholic Church brings the mercy of God and the joy of the Gospel to our contemporary world,” he said.
The app was developed by the archdiocese and the technology company Musemantik.
Dr Maciej Zurawski, CEO of Musemantik, said: “Websites are losing popularity – what is needed to engage with the mobile generation is an app that is smart and personal, an app that is like a companion, a friend that takes the initiative to inspire you – that’s the vision behind the Catholic App.”
Stephen Bullivant, writing for CatholicHerald.co.uk, said the app was a “wonderful idea”. “Time and time again, on my travels, I have struggled to find local Mass times,” he wrote, recalling “hours” spent “hunting for, and then through, local parishes’ decrepit websites.
He added: “You know the sort: autoplaying ‘churchy’ muzak, sparkles following the cursor around, and a ‘download our latest bulletin’ link that transports you back to 2004. Too often, having finally found a definitively stated time, I arrive for ‘the 11am’ to find everyone trooping off home after the last Mass of the day: ‘Ooh, no duck, we’ve not had it at 11 since Fr O’Fingal died seven years ago.’ If this app really works, then all credit to Archbishop Cushley and the team.”
For more information visit theCatholicApp.com.
Church ‘can help state avoid group-think’
The Church risks the loss of state-funded religious schools unless it vigorously upholds the right to teach the Catholic faith even when it clashes with the ideology of the state, a former top-ranking diplomat has told educators.
Francis Campbell, Britain’s former ambassador to the Holy See, told staff and students of the School of the Annunciation in Devon that there was no guarantee that governments would continue to support Catholic education.
Rising levels of religious illiteracy, combined with the “absolutist” claim of militant secularism to be the only objective belief system, might tempt policy-makers to roll back religion from public life, he said.
But instead of attempting to survive by downplaying the Catholic faith or compromising with prevailing ideologies, Church schools must find the courage to uphold the Catholic ethos, he argued.
The Church must be prepared to make the case for state-funded faith schools as an essential freedom of a functional pluralistic society, said Mr Campbell, vice-chancellor of St Mary’s University in Twickenham, London.
Any retreat by the Church from education would weaken democracy and might even contribute to totalitarianism, he said. “How faith communities are treated can often be the litmus test for the broader freedom of society and the place of the individual vis-à-vis the state. One can think of the French Revolution or the creation of the Soviet Union.
“We must retain conviction about the offer of Catholic education, and its purpose and contribution to society, and not apologise for that conviction.”
Mr Campbell made his remarks as guest speaker at the inaugural presentation of certificates to students who have completed distance-learning courses at the School of the Annunciation.
The school was founded at Buckfast Abbey in 2014 to equip adult Catholics for the “new evangelisation”. When it was set up, it was expected that 20 students would study diplomas in new evangelisation and related courses, but about 40 students became the first to receive their certificates.
Mr Campbell praised the school for “reinvigorating the Church’s contribution to wider society by ensuring a thriving and vibrant educational offer”.
He said the struggle for the Catholic Church to confidently retain a place in public life was a fight for freedom itself.
“Critiques by faith communities can reinforce democratic processes in the liberal states by ensuring that alternative perspectives are heard, and crucially that ‘group-think’ is avoided,” he said. “A faith perspective not only helps the state through the provision of services but [also] helps to ensure that very plurality that keeps the state liberal, that is, open to challenge.
“Without challenge, ladies and gentlemen, democratic states run the risk of becoming illiberal and fostering a culture of uniformity, which can be unhealthy for the future of democracy itself.”
He continued: “We must never be complacent about our pluralism and we must protect and promote it with intellectual rigour because of the wider freedoms it supports … and one of those freedoms is the offer of a faith-based educational system.
“We must avoid the temptations to be complacent about the future of Catholic education or smug about its achievements, or even to retreat.”
The two winners of the Catholic Herald’s Towards Advent competition are Suha Rassam, from Thames Ditton, and Michael Martin, from Ealing, west London. Dr Rassam won a year’s subscription to the Catholic Herald and Mr Martin to Magnificat. The Towards Advent Festival of Catholic culture is held every year at Westminster Cathedral Hall and features stalls and workshops from Catholic organisations across the United Kingdom.
Having been unable to sell in churches for well over a year due to the pandemic, we are now inviting readers to support the Herald by investing in our future. We have been a bold and influential voice in the church since 1888, standing up for traditional Catholic culture and values.
Please join us on our 130 year mission by supporting us. We are raising £250,000 to safeguard the Herald as a world-leading voice in Catholic journalism and teaching. For more information from our chairman on contributing to the Herald Patron's Fund, click here
Make a Donation
Donors giving £500 or more will automatically become sponsor patrons of the Herald. This includes two complimentary print/digital gift subscriptions, invitations to Patron events, pilgrimages and dinners, and 6 gift subscriptions sent to priests, seminaries, Catholic schools, religious care homes and prison and university chaplaincies. Click here for more information on becoming a Patron Sponsor. Click here for more information about contributing to the Herald Patron's Fund