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What’s in a Vatican app?

Until recently the Holy See’s high-tech ventures — such as iBrevary, Pope2You, and the JPII app — have been all about prayers and pontiffs.

But in a departure, a new Vatican app, Lux in Arcana, is being dedicated to Giordano Bruno, the 16th century heretic friar burned alive in Rome. It features graphics of Giordano’s pyre on Rome’s Campo de’ Fiori square and what’s left of the iconic free-thinker’s Inquisition file in the Vatican Secret Archives.

The Accenture-developed app, to be launched Feb. 29, also has multimedia links to Bruno’s life and works and to other Vatican Secret Archives files on display for the first time in a Rome exhibition. The unprecedented disclosure, paradoxically, comes just as the Vatican contends with the so-called Vati-leaks scandal over leaked documents, including a memo speculating about a plot to kill the current pope.

Vatican techies started veering away from the strictly religious late last year when the Vatican Library and the National Geographic Channel launched a Michelangelo app featuring drawings and writings by the Renaissance great.

These days, religion-related apps made by outsiders are the bane of the Holy See. Earlier this month the Vatican lashed out against “Confession: A Roman Catholic App” made by Indiana-based Little iApps. He reminded Roman Catholics that it is impossible to confess their sins via a smartphone.

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