Saturday, August 13, 2011

Technology and the Mass of the Future

How will technology change the way in which we celebrate Mass? Are there ways now in which technology can be utilized at Mass? These questions can lead the imagination to some wonderful speculation and, maybe one day, innovation. I really want to know what ideas you might have, so drop some ideas in the comments section.

One technology that can be utilized is wireless internet. At least at St. Mary's (my local parish), there are some great devotional books that can be borrowed for your Holy Hour for Exposition (Adoration). But there are always those times when you want to find a particular prayer, or maybe a certain saint, but you just don't have the resources to do so. Smart-phonesand Ipod Touches, which can link to the internet, can be great ways to do so. There are Breviaries, Prayers, devotional music, and so much more than can be found on the internet to utilize during Exposition. Wireless internet would allow people, such as those that have Ipod Touches, to access those devotional tools.

From this, it logically follows that you should bring your smart-phone or Ipod Touch to Church. There are so many amazing things you can do with it before and after Mass (even during Mass, though this might cause a little too much scandal), and during Holy Hour. Are people going to give you an odd look? Yeah, probably. But remember you aren't using it to call people! If you're going to listen to devotional music, though, please bring headphones! And please, PLEASE, turn it on silent.

Ipads could also be utilized, especially by a priest. Now, the only things that can be on the altar are things necessary for Mass. However an Ipad, with the prayers for the day, could be set up before hand, allowing for the priest to not have to flip through pages trying to find those prayers. Instead, they can be preset into the Ipad where the priest, with a flip of his finger, can turn the page.

I think that having the Missal on the altar should be retained, however. This might sound odd, but there are a lot of items that are used at Mass that aren't necessary because of new technology. Candles aren't needed because of light bulbs and electricity, but the tradition has nevertheless been continued. Having a Missal book on the altar that isn't used is no more odd than retaining candles even though there's electricity.

A final idea is having Ipads in the pews. These could be preset with the hymns and prayers for the day. Furthermore, they could be preset to only go to particular Catholic websites (like Catholic Answers!), for those that don't have smart-phones or Ipods. No worry about going to inappropriate websites, because the Ipads could be set to only go to certain websites. These Ipads obviously wouldn't be from Apple, but would probably be mass (no pun intended) produced, and very basic. Money would eventually be offset by the money saved from buying pew missals.

Now, there are always problems that can arise, and no innovation or change is perfect. But thinking about those things brings down the mood. So don't concentrate on the problems as much as the ideas.

So please leave a comment in the ComBox, because I want to know your ideas!

11 comments:

  1. While my stance on technology is usually, "the faster & sleeker, the better," and have no problem seeing libraries move to primarily digital stacks, I feel the opposite about the world of Liturgy. One of the things that I feel we as Catholics have a very good grasp on is the fact that the physical affects the spiritual. I think that an "on-the-go" or personal mass would be an exception (like the time we forgot the lectionary on a retreat and wound up doing the readings from Fr.'s Blackberry), there's just something about the gilded-edged paper and ribbons that can't be replaced.

    Plus, it just feels weird that you could place an object on the altar and read the prayers of consecration from the same screen that you could use to watch the latest Lady Gaga video...Even if you only allow certain sites, what I'm saying is that one could watch Lady Gaga on an Ipad and participate in the Mass using one, too. I truly dislike that idea. Let's stick to the paper.

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  2. J.R.R. Tolkien once told his son in a letter that he should memorize the mass so he can always go through it privately to himself wherever he is. I see value in a program like this for the general public.

    Regarding public Mass, I don't think using a device that's supposed to be upgraded or thrown out after ~3 years is very reverent.

    Just my two cents.

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  3. I agree. The Ipad and such is not the best idea for the Mass, but thanks for bringing it up! I know I'm now better prepared to talk about this if it comes up in conversation.

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  4. Great idea. Let's give money to Steve Jobs to impose homosexual marriage, and give his technology dictatorship a place on the altar of Jesus Christ.

    Aggiornamento lives.

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  5. I don't like seeing gadgets in church and I think headphones are always a bad idea unless it is connected to an assistive listening device for the hard of hearing at Mass or something of that nature. When I see people in church with headphones I ask them please don't. And one of the problems with gadgets that allow access to various texts, is that they do much more than "iBreviary", you can play games or look at inappropriate things with the same device. The issue is both the "profane" nature of the device and the potentials for distraction, like the temptation to check email or texting or etc in church, and also the potential scandal of onlookers who may suspect you're doing something profane with the profane device. Using a dead-tree prayerbook or Bible is always reverent and appropriate.

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  6. Also silence is so important to prayer, a lot of people today can't or don't pray because they continually have music or TV on. In church it should just never happen that people bring private listening devices to listen to music, regardless if it is sacred music. Some people's idea of "sacred music" is protestant pop music, Buddhist or Hindu chants, U2, or etc. Gadgets in the pews is an abhorrent idea even if they are programmed with soleley church things. Also impractical, these things are breakable, subject to hacking, liable to be stolen and re-purposed for other uses, not necessarily intuitive to everyone, and again they are a profane type of device. Whereas books have been used for sacred writings, and often foremost and primarily for sacred writings, since books have existed.

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  7. Happy to see so many others aren't thrilled with this idea either. IF people did as you suggest and are respectful of the holiness of the place they are in, I wouldn't have too much of a problem with bringing one's gadgets to adoration. The truth is that this isn't normally that happens. (Give them an inch, they take a mile.) I really like that so many apps are available to provide daily readings and things like that, yet I shudder at the thought of using these in the Mass itself. One of the things we need to get back is the sense of the sacred that should be felt in Catholic churches, but is too often absent. Also.....given the speed at which technology replaces itself .....the cost of batteries and software, I would rather invest in teaching Catholics about the beauty and richness of our faith and why we shouldn't need to be 'entertained' at Mass.

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  8. I often go to church an hour or so before Mass and have thought of bringing my Kindle along - it's got the Bible, Imitation of Christ, Confessions, etc. , but thought that people would think I was playing games so I've never done it - but I am still thinking about doing so. I would not use it during Mass, but it's like bringing a prayer book to help you prepare for Mass - is it "kosher" or do so or not?

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  9. There is a certain percentage of the population that balks at anything computerized. Keep technology out of our churches. People need to think when they pray, not have technology do the praying for us.

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  10. I see no problem with an appropriately and respectfully adorned ipad on the altar to assist the priest with the Mass. And why carry a missal if you have your smartphone in your pocket (silenced) to follow the readings? Technology will continue to change the way we do things in a more economical and efficient manner. We had better learn to use and accept it or we may lose a whole generation who rely on it.

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  11. I have no problem with tech in Church at all. I see comments about using something at Church that can be used for "profane" things too. You mean like...books? Microphones? The argument holds no water.
    I use my iPod a lot before Mass, and sometimes even during Mass, looking at the readings or looking up a Scripture passage the Priest mentioned.
    Causing scandal? Others might think I'm doing something else? That's something for THEM to get over. People had these same emotional reactions to books centuries ago. Anything can be used wrongly, but let's not get let our desire for the comfortable ways of the past blind us to the good things in technology.

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