July 04, 2006

"St. Monitor Catholic Church"?

A visitor to my blog has written me the following.
I live go to a rural parish in the deep south, the only Catholic church in my town. Yesterday, I found out that the priest is installing a multimedia system in the church. The church is a 70's style structure, with little art except for the stations of the cross and two big banners (yech) on each side of the tabernacle. The TV screens will be hidden behind the banners in the church. At the meeting where this was announced, I raised several objections about the sacrifice of the Mass being no place to bring in secularizing influences like TV screens, to no avail. The pastor insisted that the Mass would stay reverent (parishioners already talk at the top of their voices before and after Mass) and there need be no concern. The rumor is that he wants them installed because the bishop insists on broadcasting an "annual appeal message" every year and our pastor is tired of rolling in TV monitors. I think that is a lame excuse.

Are permanent video monitors appropriate for the inside of the church? Is such a thing forbidden?
Such a thing is not forbidden.

However, it is not appropriate.

Notice that the plan is to HIDE them behind banners.

Hiding them is an admission that they don't deserve to be seen in the church.

Showing film or tape is not a form of preaching.

It isn't one of the liturgical rites of the Mass.

It isn't a form of liturgical prayer.

It isn't a form of liturgical worship.

Finally, it is so "seventies". Been there. Done that. Throw away your bell-bottom pants.


Blogger Kevin said...

For the past few years, my home church in Abu Dhabi has had projectors and white screens put in. This allows responses to be played on the walls of the church, though not on the altar alcove itself. There's no provision for hymnals in our church, so they put the wording on the projectors.

12:00 AM  
Blogger Father Stephanos, O.S.B. said...

Kevin, I suppose that is an acceptable use.

However, the visitor from what we call in the U.S. "the deep south" is describing electronic monitors-- like giant television screens-- is an exorbitant expense. Small "quarterly" disposable hymnals are cheap and widely used here. The video monitors he is describing are things we are used to seeing in bars, but not in churches.

6:52 AM  
Blogger Patrick Kinsale said...

We have a priest who would use it show Cardinals games here in St. Louis.

12:40 PM  
Anonymous cjmr said...

On vacation this weekend, we were at a parish that has a large projection-screen/monitor right behind the altar. (The crucifix is under it, sitting on the floor.) It's been that way since the church was built 25 years ago.

For most of the Mass, there was an image relating to the Gospel reading for the day projected on it. But we had a movie instead of a homily. Yuck.

3:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

In Zamora, Michoacán, México, the large traditional Cathedral has several TV monitors. They help make the altar and pulpit more visible to worshippers along the sides and at the back of the church. Sometimes the cameramen could be a little better, and whoevr is operating the controls sometimes seems confused.
I doubt that a small southern parish church would need such a thing, and question the expense.

9:51 AM  
Anonymous Mike said...

There's a parish in Philadelphia that has 2 LCD projector screens hung above the side altars on either side of the sanctuary.

I'd never seen anything like it! Talk about distracting... I went to a Sunday evening mass there and when I knelt down to pray, they kept flashing the announcements on the screen and I couldn't concentrate. Then, all the songs, the Creed, and prayers were flashed up there. It was so hard to concentrate.

Actually, that was the least of the problems with that mass. Suffice it to say, I'll be looking for another parish next time I need to go to a Sunday evening mass.

9:50 AM  

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