From a reader:
My wife attended Mass today with my children for our homeschooling co op. There were two priests concelebrating the Mass. The older priest’s cell phone started ringing and he got up and went to the side (Still on the altar) and took the call.
My children keep asking if this is ok? This is very confusing for them since we never see this happen when we attend the Mass in the EF?
How should we proceed?
If you have feather pillows, place them on a horse drawn cart. Then, carefully lifting the pot of tar onto the back of the cart, light your torches and heft your pitchforks.
But seriously… we don’t know the reason for the call. Perhaps he was waiting to hear if he had won the lottery, or had perhaps been chosen to appear on American Idol. Perhaps he was waiting for notice about an indictment or a stock deal or news about someone who was dying.
It might have been really important! Then again, maybe not.
I can understand a priest forgetting his cellphone in his pocket, and, it going off, digging it out and then turning it off and/or ignoring it. I can understand that. Really.
But answering it during Mass?
That’s just plain wrong.
Wrong. Wrong. Wrong.
If he does this with regularity, you should say something to him about it. Tell him that you and your children are sad because of what he does.
If he persists, I would say that the local bishop should be informed, perhaps with a photo of him doing so taken with the cellphone you failed to turn off before Mass began. If it is an iPhone… well… you can put it in “airplane mode” and still used the camera.
Be sure to show it to the priest before you do anything else, perhaps by sending it immediately to his mobile during Mass.
Tell your children, no. What the priest did was wrong. But priests are human beings and sometimes they lose their heads, or don’t think, or just plain panic. Sometimes priests aren’t very smart. They are humans and they make mistakes. Tell them to say an extra prayer to Mary, Queen of the clergy for that priest’s well-being. If he is an older man, he has probably also done many good things in his ministry over the years.
After that, perhaps you could have a little project with your kids. Make signs with those NO PHONES symbols on them to hold up during Mass.
Then sit in the front pew.
Finally, this could be counted as reason #78567367 for Summorum Pontificum.
Has anyone, honestly, anyone in the last three years, seen a priest during Mass in the Extraordinary Form answer his phone during Mass?
I, on the other hand, have seen it happen in the Ordinary Form – in a really wacky place. Friends have told me they have seen this. Never in the Extraordinary Form.
Think about it.
This is also an example of how priests during concelebration (which should be safe, legal and rare) have to work three times harder than the main celebrant to remain focused and reverent and every bit much there and dignified as the main celebrant.
Thus endeth the rant.