COMING TO A CHURCH NEAR YOU??Originally Posted at our Fraternal Blog : to-day.


To-day's  portable and powerful electronics are transforming many aspects of our lives, but as yet, their impact on our religious life is probably confined to the private sphere. Yet such is their marvellous capacity that the day is dawning when they arrive in the church itself.

Restraint .... no, please...restraint! I can hear the "But, But, Buts" from here!

It is already happening in some ways :

During my return to visit to Brisbane ( "Urbs Beata") at Christmas, I paid a visit to the Blessed Sacrament at St Stephen's Cathedral and , having concluded that pleasure and privilege, I noted as I left, an old bloke ( about my age - but they're still "old blokes") sitting calmly before the Tabernacle reading from his KINDLE E-Reader.He had its protective case open of course and on the left side of the cover was a large picture of Our Lady of Perpetual Succour . So it is highly unlikely his reading was other than devotional!

Consider the possibilities ...

In my case alone, through very generous gifts from family members over a couple of years, I have the use of an iPad2, a KINDLE E-Reader and a HTC WILDFIRE S Smartphone, each of which I use to access religious material both devotional/informative and prayerful.Each has its own particular benefits and uses as you will see:



I have loaded onto this smartphone an App. called "LAUDATE" which features : Daily Readings, Liturgy of the Hours, Roman Missal Changes, Bookmarks, Rosary and Chaplet, Stations of the Cross, Prayers, Latin Prayers, My Prayers, Catechism, Catholic Media and New American Bible (the version used in the current American Lectionary. )
I have also loaded this onto the iPad2. It costs NOTHING AT ALL.

Because I carry the phone with me, and it is of course palm -sized it is very  useful for reading from LAUDATE on a train,or bus, or whilst waiting anywhere. And as you can see, there is ample material for reflection or prayer - among my favourites are the Latin Sequences which never cease to move me. 

I could , with great advantage use it before Mass or during a visit to  the Blessed Sacrament. But I don't for fear of giving scandal to those about me, or causing them unwarranted distraction.

Yet I can think of plenty of arguments which could be used to say that I should, or that others should. But for every such argument I believe there is one countervailing argument of overwhelming weight, and that is that it would be a major mistake for the Church  to become simply another Private Place for Electronic experience. 

Surely in the Church, and thus in the Presence of Our Divine Lord in the Blessed Sacrament, we need to defend the sense of REALITY. We are there, individually and together in the Presence of Christ in Whom we are one. It seems to me that using an electronic device tends totake us away from where we are psychologically, and would work to destroy the sense of our unity certainly in the case of Holy Mass or Benediction.

For private devotion in fact, say a visit to the Blessed Sacrament, or BEFORE Mass or AFTER Mass , or making the Stations of the Cross individually, might be another thing entirely, though there remains the possibility of giving scandal or causing distraction. Even though the person being "scandalised"or "distracted"might be quite unreasonable in the circumstances, I still think it would not be desirable to be the cause of such a problem at all.The Phone seems particularly vulnerable to such problems.


The iPad2 is something else again .I have also loaded onto it the App. "i MISSAL"Which cost me from memory abou US $ 5.50 ( about half the cost of a magazine.) It contains the Missal - New Translation but using the American Lectionary Readings, My Daily Bread - daily Scripture Readings, Prayers -  a large collection of Catholic Prayers, and CATHOLIC NEWS.

Now, I find the Missal very handy for reviewing the Readings before or after Mass each day. Yes, for U.S.5-50 you have a complete DAILY MISSAL . To buy one currently costs around  AUD 145 and , when the New Lectionary becomes available - I have seen suggestions that it might be quite soon - your purchase will be obsolete. The New Lectionary will be based upon  an amended version of the English Standard Version as we reported some months back. So the trivial cost and the use of the New American Bible make it highly suitable for PERSONAL PRIVATE USE but not at all for use in church. In any case the large format and bright screen make the i Pad2 quite unsuitable for use in church unless you are alone or the church is nearly empty.
THE KINDLE e READER. These are marvellous devices which can be loaded with access to up to 3,000  books  - thousands of which are available free or at token cost , say U.S. 0-99 - these are mainly reference and classic works including many in spirituality and Church History and Saints biographies for example. There is no Missal to my knowledge. The use of a Kindle in Church would cause infinitely less distraction because of its silver gray non reflecting screen and print.It would be useless in Mass or Benediction , so that area of objection would not arise. But in the case of private devotions BEFORE or AFTER Mass I can't see a problem and the same applies during a visit to the Blessed Sacrament. Of course , one might end up giving cause of upset to some irascible technophobic troglodyte , but there are some extreme cases we cannot build our lives around or we would all be living like lunatics.

So, there is my attempt to survey the field. But don't be surprised at what might pop-up near you in church, have an opinion and be prepared to discuss it charitably and with a generous respect for others ( with the possible exception of irascible technophobic troglodytes!).

I would really appreciate any comments you might have in this post.

N.B. This does not relate to the possibility of a Priest using an iPad as an Altar Missal and I don't want to open that possibility for discussion - even though I would be opposed - because it would be a matter for Church Discipline.


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