A self-described Italian "technologic" priest has launched an Arab language version of his Catholic app that he hopes will support Christians in heavily persecuted Middle Eastern countries where printed breviaries are banned.
Father Paolo Padrini, 41, who is at times known by his nickname iPriest, unveiled the newest version of his app on Saturday which he said will open "the door for religious freedom."
"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. "Now, with the launch of the Arabic version, the app can be used in those Muslim countries where the breviary is banned from sale and where, in some countries, you cannot legally even possess one."
Currently, users can download an iPhone version of the app and by the summer time, iPad and Android versions will be available.
"The Catholic who prays in Arabic is a symbol of religious coexistence and peace," he said. "I hope that the app is seen as a peaceful and not as a hostile gesture. And I hope it is not censored."
In a 2009 interview with Boing Boing, Padini said there were two primary motivations behind why he originally developed the app.
"First of all, I believe firmly that today man needs to socialize, he needs moments of listening, and also moments of silence, of prayer and meditation. Today man has the need for God, even if he doesn't realize it; today man needs spaces to talk with God and to reflect on life and death and so on," he said.
"Second thing: the new media are demonstrating more and more great possibilities, together with a lot of risks, but the possibilities are a lot indeed. The media can become places of reflection, also of silence…. and surely they can contribute to a new socialization," he continued. "'iBreviary' is not only a text that can be read on the web, but – and it's this the great innovation – an 'action' that involves man and God: the prayer."
Padrini is not the only tech-savvy Catholic. The 77 year-old Pope Francis has 3.91 million followers on his English-language Twitter account.