ConspiracyPress – COLUMBUS – When Kaden Zimmer received the Vatican-promoted “Smart Rosary” from his confirmation sponsor at Our Lady of Good Counsel Catholic Church, he wrote a polite thank you note and promised to use it every evening when his parents lead a family Rosary. “I figured it would announce the mysteries and help you keep from slipping into the Nicene Creed instead of the Apostles Creed by accident. I had no idea what we were in for.”
Heather Zimmer, Kaden’s mother adds, “Father Scott, our parish priest, is always trying to reach out to young people. So Kade’s uncle was excited to get a coupon code for a parish discount on this new product that was supposed to help liven up our prayer life. We all downloaded the app for our phones. Little did we know.”
The family was enjoying the meditations on world peace and concern for the poor. “Basically it was just like being in religion class,” Kade says. “I’m pretty good at writing short-essay answers for that. I figured I was set.”
Then one evening Kade begged out of the evening family Rosary. As Joel Zimmer, Kaden’s father recounts, “It was a Thursday night, and Kade had been at practice until seven, and he told us, ‘I’ve got all this homework to do, and also we had the school Mass today, and Father always leads a Rosary while the choir is practicing.’”
“That’s when my phone began buzzing,” Heather recounts.
“Giant PANTS ON FIRE icon lit up,” Joel says, shaking his head sadly.
“We were horrified. Needless to say, Kaden was grounded,” his mother says. “We told him that behavior was unacceptable, and he’d be marching straight to confession Saturday afternoon.”
Mr. and Mrs. Zimmer report that while they were disappointed in their son, they were pleased that the Smart Rosary’s honesty-detector had prevented spiritual disaster. The family privately shared with close friends how the accountability functions were bringing about renewal in their spiritual life. “We were excited. We encouraged other families to purchase the Smart Rosary and download the app.”
Then came what the couple now refers to as their spiritual u-turn.
“We’d all gathered in the living room,” Joel says, “and I remember Heather had such a peaceful, prayerful expression on her face. But we began to pray, and the Smart Rosary kept re-starting us at the Second Joyful Mystery.”
“We thought it was a glitch,” Kaden explains. “I told my parents to restart their phones. But when they did . . . it updated.”
“We were just launching into the second ‘Hail Mary’ when the notifications started,” Heather recounts.
Mr. Zimmer shows screen shots of the messages the Smart Rosary app began displaying:
RESTART PRAYER: Stop making grocery list.
RESTART PRAYER: Quit replaying final three minutes of yesterday’s game.
“It was a little too smart for them,” Kaden says, recounting the feeling of victory he experienced at his parents’ comeuppance. “I asked them, ‘Do I need to ground you, too?’ And that’s when my phone buzzed. CONFESSION ALERT: Violation of 4th Commandment.”
With no way to go back to the older version of the app, the Zimmer family quickly uninstalled the Smart Rosary features, and turned off Alexa and Siri just to be safe. Unfortunately the damage was already done: Father Scott at Our Lady of Good Counsel had already been copied on the notifications.
An exhausted Father Scott describes how the scheduling feature of the Smart Rosary quickly overwhelmed parish life. “In the early versions, there was just an option for the Legion of Mary to get their weekly meeting announcements sent out. Perfect. With the second update, we were able to share parish prayer requests, and with the third update, Smart Rosary would make suggestions on, say, remembering to prayer for Joyce Hirschel’s cancer surgery during the Sorrowful Mysteries. It was great.”
Unfortunately, the CONFESSION ALERT feature was designed to coordinate with the pastor’s schedule. “Next thing I know, my calendar’s showing six hours of Confession on Saturday afternoon. Six hours!”
Father Scott admits he fibbed to parish staff. “I told them I’d just go ahead and make myself available in the confessional, and use the downtime for prayer and Bible reading.” What he failed to mention: “It’s possible I took breaks between prayer sessions to check a few headlines on my phone. Next thing I know, the bishop’s calling, because Smart Rosary is blowing up his phone with notifications.”
By Sunday morning, Our Lady of Good Counsel parish had officially banned Smart Rosary. “Sure, it’s fine if the Vatican wants to promote this thing,” Heather Zimmer says. “But from now on, we’re using those cheap plastic rosaries you get from the table by brochure rack.”
Photo courtesy of clicktopray.org, where you can learn about the real product, which cannot read souls and will not examine your family’s conscience for you.