Priest defends use of iPad for liturgy

Monday, August 6th, 2012

A priest who works as communications officer for the archdiocese of Tuam has said a growing number of priests in Ireland are ditching the printed word for iPads in church.

The trend is becoming increasingly apparent despite a recent warning from the bishops in New Zealand that only an official printed copy of the Roman Missal may be used at Mass and in other liturgical services.

“The Missal is reserved for use during the Church’s liturgy.  iPads and other electronic devices have a variety of uses, e.g. for the playing of games, using the internet, watching videos and checking mail.  This alone makes their use in the liturgy inappropriate,” the New Zealand bishops wrote to their priests in a recent letter.

However, Fr Fintan Monaghan of Tuam seems unconcerned by the warning that the use of iPads is inappropriate in church liturgies.  “I am not aware of any rules or regulations on the use of technology in the liturgy.  Perhaps it is too new an area to have universal norms formulated at this stage,” Fr Monaghan said to ciNews.

He added that, “a significant number of clergy I know are using IT more and more as an aid to ministry."  Other well-known priests such as Fr Patrick Rushe and Redemptorist editor Fr Gerard Moloney have publicly backed the devices.

According to Fr Monaghan, iPads and iPhones are, “very handy for saying Mass in unusual locations,” such as on pilgrimage days or at outdoor venues for Mass where it, “would not be suitable to bring valuable and sometimes ancient liturgical rituals.”

He praised a number of religious Apps and tablet devices as helpful to his ministry and useful for praying the Divine Office or the Breviary or the Liturgy of the Hours.  “Some of the many religious Apps are very beneficial, such as New Mass, iMass, Glenstal, Universalis, Vocations, Candleflame, Our Daily Bread,” he said.

Fr Monaghan added, “Tablet devices are very convenient also for preaching homilies, as a liturgical calendar, and for checking readings, homily resources etc.  Modern technology is brilliant for proclaiming the Gospel, reporting events and advertising religious occasions on social media like Twitter, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, along with the more conventional websites.”

By Sarah Mac Donald