QUAERITUR: Electronic devices during Mass

20130824-112834.jpgFrom a reader:

I attend the Extraodinary Form regularly. I noticed yesterday a man using a tablet as his Missal. I’m not sure what to think about this.

My own thought is that a tablet also can (and does) display immoral pictures and words even “accidentally” as it is used for other purposes at home etc. Should something which “allows” this to occur have a place in Church? I’m conflicted. Your thoughts?

A hand-held device is just a tool. There is nothing good or bad about it in itself.

However, our prevailing impressions about these devices has not completely shifted yet, especially for people who are older. When we use them in church, some people of a certain age may think you are “playing” with the thing, instead of using it.  That could scandalize and distract them.  It seems to me that we should avoid using them a great deal during Mass, even to follow readings.

A better approach could be to familiarize yourself with the readings before Mass, so that you can listen to the actual words of Mass with attentive interior participation and active receptivity, even when they are in Latin. This applies also to the use of hand-missals. Yes, I think people should have hand-missals for the Extraordinary Form, and bring them to Mass, and consult them when appropriate, but that they should do their homework, churchwork, ahead of time as well.

The hand-help device also presents other problems. If you use a book, you have only the content in the book. A hand-held device can bring in just about anything. When used in church, it would be best to have the device on “airplane mode” (unless you are a doctor on call, or someone who must be reached in emergencies), and then have the content already downloaded to your gizmo before Mass begins. Don’t run the risk of inadvertent distractions. Don’t run the risk of truly scandalizing a neighbor even by an “accident”.  Don’t even allow yourself the temptation to stray outside of the moment of Mass and your full, conscious and active participation by surfing around or checking your messages, etc.

I think we should use the devices sparingly when in church during the sacred liturgy of Holy Mass.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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  1. For Christmas Midnight Mass someone had a tablet of sorts with her e-missal on it. Most people found it distracting but asked about it politely, and asked me how to get it their phones the weekend after.

    I don’t usually take my missal any more. I prefer to watch and listen. If I tried to sing I’d be excommunicated.

  2. APX says:

    I have a missal, but I still use my iPhone in church for other things that just make hauling books around impractical. I was also at an EF Mass at which the priest preached his sermon from his iPad. It didn’t bother me. Personally, I’m not in the habit of paying attention to what other people are doing during Mass.

  3. demigh says:

    I currently live on a sailboat in Mexico. I own a kindle on which I have the Spanish Order of the Mass, as well as the Mass readings (in English). My Spanish is only fair, and though I read the readings prior to Mass, it’s very helpful to have the kindle on which I can follow the readings, and to say the longer prayers such as the Creed and Our Father. It also helps me understand the homily, which the priests relate to the readings. I think it really helps me participate as much as possible in the Mass and has been a great help. I also try to show reverence in my dress and in my manner during the Mass. No one seems to think it’s strange.

  4. Supertradmum says:

    I know at least one ancient priest who uses his tablet for the entire Mass, for two reasons. He cannot see the print in the small missals, and his order has not bought the large print edition of the new NO. He uses it for the readings as well, as he never has a lay reader. It does not bother me if people use iPads, or phablets, as they are more and more common here. I know one famous blogging priest who travels with his tablet and uses it for his breviary. I like this. And, kids think it is cool.

    I am glad the ancient priest mentioned above as the first example has found a way to say the Mass properly in his condition.

  5. dafrenchman says:

    I think scandal might only occur if one combined skimpy clothing with the device…. :(
    Although skimpy clothing seems much more prevalent and unfortunately tolerated.

  6. Romuleus says:

    I have been waiting for someone to bring this issue up again …
    I have a Nexus 7 in a leather cover as well as a Kindle Fire HD and an iPhone 5. One each device, I have full color PDFs of the 1962 Benzinger Missale Romanum (the exact same version on most EF altars), the 1962 Breviarium Romanum (FSSP version) and the 2004 Martyrologium Romanum. I also have a PDF of the 1962 Roman Breviary in Latin and English that I have developed over the years using the Douay Rheims bible and the Benzinger Roman Breviary as the English translation source text. All are in brilliant color (red and black); all backlit. Much easier to see the text in a dark church than a book.
    There are many times I grab my Nexus instead of lugging two or more books around to Mass. The device will fit in a jacket pocket. I try to sit in the back near a pillar to not “distract” anyone with my e-device. I keep the backlight on AUTO so as not to “glow”. The Internet connection is OFF (like I would be able to get an Internet connection in a Church …)
    There used to be Breviaries and “travel missals” that were 4 X 6 inches that would easily fit into a jacket pocket. I have these but they are old and worn and not the 1962 version. If those existed, I would reconsider bringing my Nexus. What I would give for a travel size 1962 Missale Romanum …

  7. Ben Yanke says:

    I will admit: I do use electronic devices to follow along. I try to grab my missal, but I don’t fixate on it when I leave my missal at home or something. I only do it at daily Mass, and the people there know me well enough to know that I’m not goofing off.

    Also, it’s a major help to sing from a tablet, if I’m in the loft. So.much easier than carrying 5 books everywhere. Only in the loft though.

  8. Phil_NL says:

    My own thought is that a tablet also can (and does) display immoral pictures and words even “accidentally” as it is used for other purposes at home etc.

    That also applies to the human brain 1.0.

    Among the other attendants, the presumption may be that you’re using the gizmo for something else (at least till they realize the texts of the Mass could be there as well). I suspect that in most churches, people who use a tablet etc would be stared at quite a bit for a few more years, though eventually that will probably disappear. Staring or being stared at do not count for much as an argument either way in my book though.

  9. tripudians says:

    I must say I do sing from my Galaxy Note quite regularly. Latin chant, English chant, Dutch chant… ;) And not only on the choir loft…

  10. Magpie says:

    If you keep the tablet in a black or burgundy book-style case and set the screen on dim, it would be quite discreet. A standard e-book reader is even more discreet, especially if the screen is not lit.

  11. laud1645 says:

    If it’s a tablet with it’s own light source, then it is distracting to others; imagine someone having a candle or glow stick to see his missal.

    Unfortunately my ereader is silver so I use it sparingly with a black cover.

    I personally would find it easier to carry several books; rather than having to flip between documents and then find the pages on a tablet or ereader, e.g. if one need two different pages of the liber usualis it would be far easier to use book with ribbons rather than having to faff around on a digital device. Weight and distance travelled would be the only mitigation methinks

  12. mamajen says:

    I’m a young(ish) person who is very fond of technology, but I think tech devices just look out of place at mass. If there is a real need for some reason, however, then go for it.

  13. Cafea Fruor says:

    I find it rather distracting when people use electronic devices at church. If someone’s in front of me and using one, the light from the screen always catches my eye and distracts me. At the adoration chapel where I have a holy hour, there’s a person who brings in an iPad and has a pretty heavy finger when he taps the screen, so while I’m trying to focus enough to pray, I hear tap-tap-tap…TAP…tappitytappity…TAP. And then people forget to silence the reminders on them like they forget to silence their cell phones. It’s just one more thing to distract others, and there are enough distractions already. I would feel like I’d died and gone to heaven if I could get through just one Mass, holy hour, or wait in the confession line without someone’s device ringing or reminding them to do something. Why is it SO hard for everyone to turn the sound off?

  14. acardnal says:

    I don’t have an opinion yet on whether it’s appropriate for the laity to use e-devices at Mass. A priest, however, should probably not use one as a missal or a Lectionary when he celebrates Holy Mass. The missal and other items involved in celebrating Mass are supposed to be consecrated and used for that purpose only.

  15. Hidden One says:

    As a tech-friendly young Catholic, I would like to see iPads and similar devices banned as hand missals (and as altar missals, altar cards, and lectionaries, provided no dispensation has been given for serious cause). Besides the questions of liturgical propriety, etc., I and many other parishioners – both very young and very old and in between – already have more than enough trouble paying attention to the Mass.

    It’s a matter of charity not to use distracting objects at Mass.

  16. Netmilsmom says:

    I have a cute little phone with the Laudate app that lets me follow the Holy Mass and gives me all the prayers I need, Pre and Post Communion. Perhaps, instead of saying that we should limit our use of electronic “prayer books”, maybe someone should concentrate on The Lord.
    I have to close my eyes for the Orans fest and hand holding at the Our Father. I learned to pray instead of gawk.
    So, the problem is not with using a hand held device, but rather the Judgmental attitude of fellow parishioners. If someone has this problem, pray on it. While you’re praying, you won’t see the electronic device.

  17. Imrahil says:

    I’m quite convinced that your thoughts about whether it can “accidentally show something immoral” etc. are the wrong reasonings and tend to scrupulosity.

    For one thing, there is no immoral word. There is only immoral speech, which is an action of men. Even speaking about immoral pictures, I admit that the concept is useful enough, but it has a “we treat it as such for practical purposes” ring to it.

    And then of course a computer is not capable of sinning.

    If there do appear such things (for whatever reasons), simply clicking them away is the thing to do.

    There still is, however, the other question whether a computer fits in a Church. I seriously hold it to be a cultural lapse that they use electric candles in Italy (and maybe other countries).

  18. kat says:

    My husband found the 1962 Liber online and was able to download it. He is in the schola, and uses it to sing Propers. (He can even mark it up when needed!) His first use of it was for Tenebrae. Our new priest that came last year reads his Office on his iPad mini or Kindle (not sure which it is) and likes to use technology. I know my hand often goes numb when I am singing from the Liber, and I have to shake the blood back into it after a while. Holding an iPad to sing (we are upstairs in the choir loft) can be less painful on the hands!!
    I do wonder if any of the choir is scandalized, but they all know my husband is a techie (he takes care of IT stuff for the church and school too), and it is obvious that is all he is doing is singing the Propers with it. No one has ever said anything negative.

  19. joan ellen says:

    I’m a younger older and love technology because I can get more done with it. I read the hours from my messaging phone (may go back to a smart phone) when usually no one is in church and use my missal at Mass.

  20. Hidden One says:

    Netmilsmom wrote, “Perhaps, instead of saying that we should limit our use of electronic ‘prayer books’, maybe someone should concentrate on The Lord.”

    To this suggestion I reply that perhaps the use of electronic ‘prayer books’ should be limited so that people like me can concentrate on the Lord. I should not have to keep my eyes shut (and therefore be unable to use a prayer book of my own, among other things) because someone else is using an electronic one. I am genuinely incapable of concentrating on the Lord when such distractions are present, and there are plenty of people like me.

  21. APX says:

    You know, hand missals and other such books at church were once considered a piece of technology. If we’re going to ban handheld devices in church because they’re “too distracting”, then let’s ban other things which are distracting, children who don’t know how to behave, people who rattle plastic shopping bags, burnt out lights that I must compulsively count, books that have pages that go “shwsh” every time they’re turned, etc.

  22. Nan says:

    Using devices during Mass is rude. Bright lights and tapping aren’t conducive to a prayerful atmosphere. For the one who has the laudette on a phone, and counsels people not to gawk, you make several assumptions here; first, that people are gawking at your phone. Your phone is creating bright light that distracts people, which is rude; second, that people who don’t close their eyes to pray are gawking. Because closing your eyes to pray is best for you doesn’t in any way mean it’s best for others. To presume that others are unfocused during Mass is a ridiculous way of excusing your rudeness.

  23. APX says:

    I don’t buy into the whole “light emitting” thing. I used to take a 3 hour art history class at night. It was painfully boring when we weren’t talking about Catholic related things. Because we were constantly looking at slides, our classroom was pretty much dark. I set the brightness to low on my phone and spent the class time reading the Fathers of the Church on iPieta. No one noticed this.

  24. Matthew says:

    Perhaps we could issue them at the door so people stop trying to hold my hand during the Our Father.

  25. Per Signum Crucis says:

    One of the major clerical suppliers in the UK – I can’t remember which one but it may be Hayes & Finch – offers an iPad missal stand…

    I think we will gradually see more of this, especially for (older) sacred books where the commercial viability of a hard copy reprint is doubtful, but there is always the ‘feel’ of a (the) good book!

  26. Romuleus says:

    There are two “older” individuals who use book lights to illuminate their missals. The Church is dark, the lighting in bad. Is it a distraction? Initially, until I realize what the light is. But, so what! Whatever works for them. No way would I complain about something like that.
    As far as a “tapping” sound on my electronic device: There is absolutely no sound. I turn pages with the edge of my thumb by touching the edge of the screen. Unless you are hovering over my shoulder, you will not see (or hear) that I am using an electronic device. Why (why!) would I bring a device to a Latin Mass to surf the Web or play video games?
    Unfortunately, there are a small number of individuals who just can’t stand it if someone somewhere is doing something different from themselves. They forget that the Church is the Catholic Church not the “Add their name here” Church where everyone must follow their lead and all must conform to their “vision” of what the Church must be and how the faith must be practiced and what “approved by them” liturgical books are allowed.

  27. Gallia Albanensis says:

    Aesthetically, I think an argument can be made that electricity should be minimized in churches. It certainly makes for a more human and intimate liturgy. I don’t exclude microphones, speakers systems, or lights, either. The ancients knew how to construct churches to emphasize natural light and candle light, and to improve acoustics. Now we usually choose the lazy/cheap ways out.

    And there’s little worse than a reverent liturgy that’s bungled by microphone or speaker problems, or seven cell phones going off, etcetera. As far as tablets go, there is something very distracting about motion on an electronic device. Anyone who has tried to have a conversation in a restaurant filled with TVs knows what I mean. For some reason your eye is drawn to SpongeBob or European whiffleball or whatever else is on TV.

    Many of the ancients believed (and some folks still do) that the only instrument noble enough to worship God is the human voice. If we carry that aesthetic one step further, then we have a powerful argument for keeping the liturgy as “natural” as possible. Certainly this isn’t an “all or nothing” principle about which to be an absolutist, but it seems an ideal situation.

  28. Hidden One says:

    Romuleus, there may well be such people, but for all my faults, that is not one of them, and I would be very surprised to find that such people compose a real part of the group opposed to such devices being used at Mass.

    Above and beyond what I’ve already written, it’s too easy to forget that there are Catholics in the pews with medical conditions that can make it very difficult to pay attention. The misbehaving twin six-year olds in the pew behind you may have Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD). The teenage girl to your right fiddling with a hair elastic may have autism. The pious seminarian who had his eyes plastered shut and his hands elegantly folded earlier–when you arrived for Mass, pointed him out to your children, and chose a spot two pews in front of him–may have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder predominantly inattentive type (ADHD-PI; the ICD-10 calls ADHD hyperkinetic disorder). Etc.

    [I think we are going down a rabbit hole now.]

  29. Marc says:

    I can’t get away from electronic devices all day, every day. My job requires connectivity all the time. It doesn’t matter if I’m out fishing or eating out with family or even sleeping. The limited times I escape these things is the MASS and it is wonderful. I prefer to step back from the modern world with my missal. That being said, I also believe that your head should not be buried in the missal. Heads up! Your joined with HEAVEN!

    BTW, Father Stedmans Sunday Missal (1962) is back in print at Biretta Books for those who want a smaller missal – http://birettabooks.com/go/webstore/product/1962_missal_my_sunday_missal/

  30. APX says:

    Perhaps we could issue them at the door so people stop trying to hold my hand during the Our Father.

    If you lick your palms, they won’t try to hold your hand during the Our Father. It also works to get you out of distributing communion if you’re forces to do it beyond your will.

  31. Hidden One says:

    Me paenitet, Reverende Pater.

  32. Romuleus says:

    There are many Latin/English hand missals that may or may not fit in a jacket pocket. Unfortunately, even though these are a worthy effort, many newer ones are full of typos.
    I’m looking for an all-Latin 1962 Missale Romanum (sometimes called “travel size”). Father Z reviewed one sold by the St. John Cantius bookstore back in (I believe) 2007. That one was a little large (5 X 8 inches?); but, that would have worked for me. They were sold out almost immediately.
    The lack of a small (4 X 6 inch) all-Latin breviary or missal is why I began using an electronic device in the first place.
    BTW: I went to Mass this morning with a Dessain 1946 “travel size” (4.5 X 6.75 inch) Missale Romanum (that contains inserts to bring the Feasts up to 1962) and the 4.5 X 7 inch Nova & Vetera Breviarium Romanum. I left my Nexus at home so as not to “distract” anyone … :)

  33. Caesar says:

    I wonder if there was a similar argument when we adopted the use of the codex.

  34. dymphna57 says:

    While I applaud the idea of limiting electronic devices at Mass, I wonder at the logic that sounds systems are inherently bad because they can cause disruptions.
    I believe Archbishop Fulton Sheen often reminded his listeners that we should welcome film and television as gifts from God that we should use wisely.
    Tablets and ebooks are also gifts from God that can bring us closer to Him. There are many people using them with this goal in mind. When we use them in church we do not intend to distract and should try to minimize any glare but all actions can distract so we need to keep the baby when we toss the bath water. Charity should not require that we refrain from using a missal because the sound of turning pages or finger touch noises might attract notice. We attract notice by making noises when we clear our throats and change positions but we hope others are mature enough to ignore these trifles.
    I do feel that it will take awhile for others to get used to smartphones and tablets in church and Father Z gives good advice about their potential to distract their user from the Liturgy but their advantages mean that I am grateful for them.
    I know that heavy books , small print and expense mean that my Missal, Breviary and some of my favorite prayer books won’t travel with me but my phone does. I love the EF and the NO so that means twice the weight if I carried both.
    The cathedral in Killarney installed large flat screens so that the faithful could “see” the Mass more clearly. The irony is that they must turn away from actually seeing the altar to stare at an electronic panel. I keep that in mind when I use any Missal. The should be an aid to participation not the focus.

  35. shin says:

    Electronic devices don’t belong in church normally period.

    Not only because of the content they can deliver, which is certainly enough to excise them, but because they are all audio and video recording devices, and people have private discussions in church. It’s not appropriate.

    Of course even worse, having TV screens or monitors is just completely against the sacred character of the place.

  36. Mike_P says:

    Another problem is that people in everyday life tend to be so absorbed by their reminders and text messages that they appear rude in social situations. Many parents complain that their kids are disconnected from real conversations because they are buried in their iPhones.

    I think a lot of people, not knowing you are praying, will see device usage in church the same way, resulting in scandal, even if the usage itself was for a good purpose.

  37. MarkG says:

    I guess I’m old fashioned and set in my ways, but I think it would be out of place for a public Mass or other service. People might think you were playing (and some people might be) and the glow given off by the decide could be a distraction to others.

    At the SSPX Chapel I usually attend, they have a small 100 page Mass booklet in the pews and they hand out the Propers of the day which you give back after Mass for use the next year.
    That would cover the public Mass and Mass booklet and handouts have larger fonts and sturdier paper than the small missals with the thin “Bible paper”.

    The Chapel is standing room only for all Masses, so that would actually make it worse for someone using a electronic device as there would always be someone sitting right next to you on both sides.
    The local non-SSPX TLMs (what would you call them? “approved”?) are also standing room only.

    Is that the norm for TLMs around the country? This would be the Dallas / Fort Worth area.

  38. Suburbanbanshee says:

    Caesar asked: “I wonder if there was a similar argument when we adopted the use of the codex.”

    Actually, the Church seems to have been an early adopter of the codex. But there have been plenty of people who have argued seriously that missals and prayerbooks are a horrible distraction from Mass, the readings, etc. There comes a point when everything in the world, including the existence of light and air or one’s own body, is a distraction from prayer.

    This is the point where you contemplate Old Irish poetry about distractions, and sigh for fallen humanity’s countless annoying problems. This is not the point when you throw everything and everybody out of church and evacuate the air.

    My thought is this. If you are using an electronic device as a missal, prayerbook, etc., it’s prudent to make no particular show of it, and to explain your use if asked. Folks with Kindles, etc. may want a booklike case on it. But in general, if you hold your device the way you would hold a prayerbook, I think people will figure it out.

    One thing I’ve seen in churches without many people before Mass — people placing their “prayerphone” or “prayertablet” in the pewseat in front of them or on the kneeler or floor or pew surface next to them, so they can look down and see the text without being obvious about it.

    I suspect that in the future, one might see a sort of little priedieu desk surface for holding such things, particularly if one won’t be needing hymnal/missal racks so much on the backs of pews. Obviously monks and nuns used to have such surfaces for singing the Offices from their choir stalls, etc.

  39. Suburbanbanshee says:

    Here’s the Old Irish poem about distractions in church, probably written by a monk/scribe. This is the Kuno Meyer public domain translation called “On the Flightiness of Thought”:

    “Shame to my thoughts, how they stray from me!
    I fear great danger from it on the day of eternal Doom.

    During the psalms they wander on a path that is not right:
    They fash, they fret, they misbehave before the eyes of great God.

    Through eager crowds, through companies of wanton women,
    Through woods, through cities—swifter they are than the wind.

    Now through paths of loveliness,
    anon of riotous shame!

    Without a ferry or ever missing a step they go across every sea:
    Swiftly they leap in one bound from earth to heaven.

    They run a race of folly anear and afar:
    After a course of giddiness they return to their home.

    Though one should try to bind them or put shackles on their feet,
    They are neither constant nor mindful to take a spell of rest.

    Neither sword-edge nor crack of whip will keep them down strongly:
    As slippery as an eel’s tail they glide out of my grasp.

    Neither lock nor firm-vaulted dungeon nor any fetter on earth,
    Stronghold nor sea nor bleak fastness restrains them from their course.

    O beloved truly chaste Christ to whom every eye is clear,
    May the grace of the seven-fold Spirit come to keep them, to check them!

    Rule this heart of mine, O dread God of the elements,
    That Thou mayst be my love, that I may do Thy will.

    That I may reach Christ with His chosen companions, that we may be together!
    They are neither fickle nor inconstant—not as I am.”

  40. tzard says:

    This brings to mind how the “warnings” before mass (and theaters) have changed. At one time we were admonished to “turn off” our cell phones. Now we’re asked to merely silence them (I always silenced mine – in my work I could have received an emergency message or more commonly my phone would gather who called me during mass and I’d see they called after mass and call them back.). Bottom line: Judicious use of technology.

    I’ve started surreptitiously using my phone to record sermons for my personal use later. I’m careful to avoid the temptation to treat it as evidence collection – for that gets in the way of a proper disposition for Mass – for me.

  41. bbmoe says:

    My husband came back to the Church when I gave him a Magnificat. He suddenly had something to focus on that helped him to understand what was really going on. Sometimes, in my weaker moments, seeing him out of the corner of my eye with his head buried in the Mag (note to himself: bifocals, honey), I wish he would JUST LEARN THE PRAYERS ALREADY. Then I say mea culpa. He’s going to daily Mass because of this. I’m grateful, grateful, grateful.

    On the other hand, if you live where I do, and everyone is trying to one-up each other with the techie gizmos that they are using in ways that annoy other people but they don’t notice because they are so cool, it’s pretty easy to spot the folks who need to dial it back, get a book in their hands or simply listen. But there’s nothing you can do about it except invite them to join you in a Rosary after the mass and hope that the feeling of panic that sets in when they have to say something without the cute iPhone in hand (yeah, in my Rosary group there’s no app for that) spurs them on to greater electronic-free glory.

  42. I have several apps on my iPhone, including a breviary. I generally sit in the back, though. And because I am a regular at this parish and they know me, I’m unlikely to have my goods snatched away suddenly by an overzealous usher. Besides, I almost never use ringtones. I find them annoying in virtually any setting.

    Obviously, I don’t recommend this for everybody.

  43. Patti Day says:

    A woman several rows in front of me had a telephone with a ring tone that sounded like the voice of the devil. It said droid…droid…droid…, and of course she was oblivious to it until her friend gave her an elbow in the ribs.

  44. Pingback: A question about the use of iPads and smartphones during mass. | Catholic4Life

  45. kimberley jean says:

    I imagine that once upon a time someone complained about those newfangled printed missals instead of a nice handwritten one. I use the imissal app on my phone. I hope it’s not a distraction for anyone but how hard is it really to just look away and mind one’s own business?

  46. idelsan says:

    I do preach with my sermon notes in an iPad. Quite useful.

  47. ckdexterhaven says:

    Your comment reminds me of a line from ‘Shane'(Alan Ladd to Jean Arthur): “A gun is a tool, Marian; no better or no worse than any other tool: an axe, a shovel or anything. A gun is as good or as bad as the man using it. Remember that.”

    Shane is one of the best Westerns ever made. Yes, even better than The Searchers.

  48. Alpinebeach says:

    I guess I’m one of those strange combinations of Traditional and Techie. Suffice it to say that I’ve found my EF iPad apps to be tremendously useful, and appropriately reverent at the same time.

    You do need to have a bit of self-discipline, and consider the iPad during Mass as a Missal and prayer aid, nothing more, nothing less.

    Apps like iMass [www.imassapp.com] and iBreviary [www.ibreviary.com] are valuable not just helping me follow the Mass and gain a deeper understanding of the language of the liturgy, but also serve both in and out of Mass as powerful teaching aids for my children.
    I’ve also been very impressed with the capabilities of apps like iRosary and the outstanding iPieta (which incorporates full text of the Clementine Vulgate), which help me make downtime into opportunity time to learn more about our faith.

    Reactions from my fellow parishoners have ranged from curiosity (“how can I find the apps”), to compliments on using the iPad as a learning tool for the kids. I’ve really had no negative feedback.

    If used with appropriate reverence and self-discipline, (including muting sounds), my own experience with the iPad both in and outside Mass has been very positive.

  49. VLL says:

    I’m very glad this topic came up. I LOVE my Laudate– it has the only copy of the Douay-Rheims I can afford. I only wish they’d also put in Fr. Knox’s translation. When there is an opportunity, I introduce Laudate to priests because I want to assure them that some of us who look at phones in church are not just txting or worse. Even before mass I can get some strange looks. But caution and a desire not to cause scandal mean I try to be discrete when I forget to grab the missal/ette from the front of the church. My formation church kept those in the pews!

    As for following along during mass– I have come to the same conclusion as Fr Z offers: *especially* for the Latin Mass. If I have my nose in a book, I’m not paying attention to Cavalry, and I miss the cues built into the Tridentine to help keep the laity oriented during the course of mass. Of course, one must read the mass first to know where those are. This takes some getting used to. It takes several repetitions to get the sense of it anyway… and you are robbed of that sense when you are flipping through pages feeling vaguely panicked because you are ‘lost’.
    It is especially a tragedy when the entire atmosphere is so conducive to prayer.

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