Want to use your phone in church? Think again!

Have you ever wished that your car had a phaser option?  That there was a trap door under the pulpit?Buy WDTPRS stuff!

A tip of the biretta to Mulier Fortis for the following.

In the future there may be some serious penalties for cellphone use in church.


I must find out more about this system.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. FrCharles says:

    That’s too funny, but it’s a real problem. I once had someone take a call when I was preaching a homily at Mass! When I was in studies one of my Sunday gigs for a while was as monitor, i.e. introduction maker, at the local Mass in Spanish. I still remember my lines: Favor de apagar los beeperes y celulares. “Beeperes,” that still cracks me up.

  2. Art says:

    Now about having phasers on cars, South Africa had a similar product out a while ago – too bad it was discontinued.

  3. Jack Hughes says:

    hehhehe, loved the closing line “no shoes, no shirt, no service” something that lots of Catholics should take note of.

  4. Charivari Rob says:

    “I must find out more about this system.”

    You might want to wait until they finish the beta test and get some of the bugs out. The targeting software appears to be good (other than some collateral damage on Daddy’s little girl), but there have been some problems building up and discharging a condemnation capacitance without leading to damaging power surges. If you installed the current version in the chapel, every time you used it, there would be a 50/50 chance of frying your UPS and surge suppressors and taking the Z-cam and your computers with it. Just think of the exploding bridge consoles in the battle schenes in any Star Trek movie ever made.

  5. coeyannie says:

    The first time a cell phone really threw me off my game was in the confessional. The priest’s cell phone started to ring and I paused so he could pick up if he so desired. He said “go ahead”. Well, by that time I had forgotten why I was there. Also, another time, the priest’s pager went off and he sat there for a few minutes and listened to his messages. Oh, for the days of the dark confessional and no phones.

  6. Denise says:

    I know that cell phones in church can be a problem, but our friends at Texas A&M are using them for a positive purpose. This is a campus Catholic community that is averaging at least eight religious vocations every year. As long as everyone puts their cell phone away after the registration is done, it should be fine. On the other hand, the Episcopalians are trying to Twitter their way through the service.

  7. chris1 says:

    I have heard of restaurants that install a lining (lead perhaps) in the walls that essentially prevents radio signals from being able to enter or leave the walls of the building. I wonder if there are _active_ cell phone jamming technologies out there – a simple electronic device you plug in and operate, say, only during services, that will kill inbound and outbound cell signals. Of course you’re talking about lots of different types of signals at this point since each carrier is using a slightly different frequency, etc. You would have to “jam” TDMA, CDMA, GSM, EV-DO, UMTS, GPRS, and the list goes on…
    And you’d have to also make sure and not interfere with any wireless microphones in use…

  8. Art says:

    While it might be nice to jam cell signals, it will be a problem for those medical professionals in the pews who need to be always on call. A reminder at the beginning of mass to either turn phones off or leave them in vibration mode usually does the trick.

  9. kradcliffe says:

    What about using iMissal on your iPhone?

    I have iBreviary on my Android phone and if there were a missal (especially for the EF form) I would really be interested… but I’d be afraid of catching the stink-eye from other people who would assume I’m texting or otherwise goofing off.

  10. Mariana says:

    Surely having the phaser set on “stun” during the homily should be sufficient : ) !

  11. Will D. says:

    I wonder if there are active cell phone jamming technologies out there – a simple electronic device you plug in and operate, say, only during services, that will kill inbound and outbound cell signals.

    They’re out there, but they are highly illegal. The FCC does not take kindly to people monkeying with signal jamming.
    Just as an example, there’s no way for a jammer to discriminate between the kid texting during the homily and the doctor or firefighter being paged in a life or death emergency. At least with the phaser, you can determine if the interruption was justified and zap only the wicked.

  12. Konichiwa says:

    That was funny.

    On a serious note, I think a worse problem in churches than disruption from mobile phone ring tones or game noises is texting. With mobile phone texting technology and mobile Internet, people can indulge in sin or ignorance anytime they want.

  13. gsarrazo says:

    I remember a time when we were having a spate of phone call interruptions during Mass (OF), even after we’d make the standard “please turn off your cell phones” announcement before Mass would begin (how sad is that?!?). Our pastor was even looking into the legality and the plausibility of installing one of those jamming systems theaters were using at the time. It so happened on one particular Sunday, someone’s phone went off during communion while the choir was singing “Gift of Finest Wheat.” The phone began ringing just after we sang the line “As when the shepherd calls his sheep…” I turned to my fellow soprano and whispered, “Look, Jesus is calling right now.” To which she replied, “Maybe He’s calling to tell them to turn the phone off.”

  14. This past Saturday I was the presider at a wedding and at as I was consuming the Blessed Sacrament, the GROOM’S cell phone rang. Of course it was an obnoxious modern pop song. Wow…that is all I can say…wow.

  15. Two weeks ago, our Parochial Vicar stopped his homily to admonish a couple teenagers texting during his sermon. It was at 10:30 Mass too, the largest Mass on Sunday.

    He’s awesome. :)

  16. Melody says:

    LOL, that was hilarious. It’s a good thing it’s not in force though, I use my phone as a missal sometimes.

  17. KellyH says:

    A phone rang a few years ago during the Friday school Mass. I was seated toward the back of the church as the children take up several rows. A phone rang somewhere behind me and I was a bit unsettled. Then came a very loud, “Hello?” She answered the phone. In church. During the homily. I felt like a kid waiting for punishment to ensue. I think I actually ducked a bit. The Pastor paused briefly, looked in her direction, and continued with the homily without missing a beat. The phone rang again. “Hello?” That was it. He had enough. He looked at the woman behind me, told her to “take that thing and get out! Go!” She got up and no one moved a muscle, except for the woman making a reluctant and somewhat puzzled exit. I noted (while looking out of the corner of my eye) that the woman was at the very least 75 years old. The children never budged. Father proceeded to finish the homily, able to pick up where he left off. I was so stunned by what had just taken place, I could not focus on a single word he said while standing at that ambo. I just kept playing it over and over in my mind, in awe that the woman actually answered the phone – twice. I congratulated and thanked Father after Mass.

  18. Catherine says:

    The worst situation I ever encountered with a cell phone was actually in St. Peter’s basilica during Mass. The man behind us answered his phone and began talking….in Italian. My sister turned and said, “Do you mind?” To which he continued conversing….

    I have lived too long!

  19. Jayna says:

    I saw a woman answer her phone during the final blessing at Mass a few weeks ago. She had to have been in her late 60s or 70s. Everyone standing around her was totally gobsmacked.

  20. MargaretMN says:

    kradcliffe, I have wondered the same thing! I have a Rosary app but I’ve never used it in church. I always wondered if people would think I was reading my email or texting.

  21. Hans says:

    In the past I’ve told students in my classes, that if their cell phone went off during the exam, it’s mine. I reinforced the idea when one actually went off during an exam; I simply walked over, and she handed it over. I also noticed several other students turning theirs off at the same time. I haven’t had a problem during an exam since. And, since it was mine and I had no use for it, I quietly gave it back to her after the exam.

    Today (well, yesterday by now, I suppose) a student, who had hurried into noon Mass at the Newman Center just as the Angelus, began had her phone ring during Mass. She did look rather abashed, as if she’d like to sink into the floor, or prefer to have the ‘Resurrection Jesus’ (not a crucifix, thank you 1970s) on the wall over the altar fall on her. Which is why, now that I have one, it’s always on vibrate.

  22. ckdexterhaven says:

    Last week during Daily Mass, an elderly!! woman of at least 75, took a call. She left the sanctuary, but proceeded to talk in the hall during the homily, and the consecration. She hung up right before Holy Communion, and received Our Lord. I couldn’t help but overhear the conversation. She was talking about what kind of pants to bring on her upcoming trip! So it’s not like it was an emergency……

    So the anecdotal evidence is that the seniors are the worst offenders?

    (I was stuck in the hall b/c of my 2 y/o who is quite noisy.)

  23. irishgirl says:

    That video was funny!

    Seriously, though, it’s something that has to be addressed.

    I keep my phone off if I’m going to be at Mass and Adoration.

    Some years ago I read in a church bulletin, ‘Unless you’re awaiting a phone call from the Vatican, please turn them off at Mass’.

  24. Rob Cartusciello says:

    During the canonization of my g-g-g-great uncle, St. Gaetano Errico, MM.SS. last October, one annoying fellow spent much of the Mass on his cell phone.

    When he took a call in the middle of the consecration, the Abbot of Einsiedeln (Swiss Benedictine) (with pectoral cross, purple zucchetto and abatial ring) tapped him on the shoulder and told him to stop. Two Dominicans from New York were ready to pounce if he didn’t comply.

    The Abbot was a kind and humble soul. He didn’t put on his abatial trappings until the ceremony was about to start, and removed them immediately thereafter. He appeared quite content to be a simple monk while away from the Abbey. God bless him.

  25. mjballou says:

    Of course, this can cut the other way in some churches. I was at a Mass once where the priest stopped the opening prayer and answered his cell phone. And no, it wasn’t an emergency.

  26. MargaretMN says:

    I think seniors may be offenders because they don’t get the cell phone concept–You can get a call anytime but decide whether YOU are available. When I was growing up, when the phone rang, you answered it, right away if possible. You would never not answer the phone if you were home, because it might be an emergency or someone might think you were in trouble or if neighbors were calling, that burglars were in your house. Or it just seemed rude not to answer. No such thing as caller ID so no ability to screen calls.(Which probably also seemed rude, unless the caller was unknown). It took years of being annoyed by inopportune or junk calls before my mom got caller ID and then adjusted to the fact that she could see who was calling and DECIDE whether to answer on her landline. Now her only problem is deciding between calls with caller ID Call waiting or when talking on the cell and someone calls the landline. There is some adjustment of thought there which many of us younger folk take for granted.

  27. Agnes of Prague says:

    Margaret, your comment is interesting. It reminds me of what Mark Helprin said during the first minute of his talk when he spoke at our school. “If you have a cell phone… please keep it on! After all, you have it in case your children get lost, or your house burns down. So please, go ahead! That’s more important than my talk.” | three seconds of silence | “Or… do you have it in case your friend wants to go out for a pizza . . .?”

    Luckily I’ve only had extended cell-phone-in-church horrors happen around me twice. Once someone’s rang during the homily once, then again… look of death from the pastor and “D’you think we could turn it OFF?” solved the problem. But a few weeks ago, I was at an ordination, of all things, and someone’s phone went off not once, not twice but three times! At last, during a lull, one of the many priests in the sanctuary said calmly, “Please switch all cell phones off for the remainder of the ceremony.”

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