In modern society, we have undergone several eras of technology. With the advent of computers, we experienced the ability to program this “machine” to perform mundane tasks of the everyday work experience.
The advancement of the archaic computers made them not only faster and “smarter”, but more and more mobile. Think back when we got our first home computers, talk about a large leap into the future for families! We felt like we were the Jetsons! Then, we began to see more and more that mobile solutions were the wave of the future. We saw car phones, pagers, and finally cell phones emerging into regular everyday life.
Here we are today in the year 2011, with the internet, email, text messaging and a phone call literally right in our pocket. We can now transmit a message to our aunt in New York or uncle in California at the speed of the Internet. We can now, in the heat of a debate over our faith, look up that scripture verse that defends the stance of the Church in no time flat with the modern 4G technology.
More and more, the ever increasing speed of the Internet allows us to collect data in larger and more streamlined quantities without having to run over to the bulky and stationary home pc. We have the power of the Internet in our pockets these days. The are historic times we live in, in that, the barriers of time and space are being shattered.
Cell phones, no that’s smartphones these days, are no longer just a commodity to experience wire-free calls, but now one of the biggest sources of Internet usage. In my household (before I went crazy during lent…read more about that by clicking here), we would rarely use the home computer except in the occasions that I had to run something through Photoshop or network our devices. Slowly, the home pc became solely used by my kids for school or play.
Nowadays, there are even apps to try and make our lives more convenient, efficient and balanced with a whole tidal wave of productivity apps. There are even apps that make it possible to get that prayer in from the Divine Office or to review the Mass readings for the day. Apps like iMissal, iBreviary, Divine Office, and The Magnificat are excellent apps (which I will review each in depth shortly) for this integration of the liturgical life of the Church into the everyday. Also, some say that the clergy needs an updated method of delivering the prayers at the Mass, and with the creation of these apps, priests are now able to give Mass from an iPad. More and more, laity and even priests and religious are getting in their breviary and daily readings by use of apps like these.
Now this brings me to a crossroads. With so much integration between technology and faith, I ask the question – What about the use of these technological mediums such as smartphones and tablets such as the iPad during Mass? Some of you probably said to yourself “Okay, here we go”, but I beg you, hear me out.
The use of such mediums is, say some, the perfect opportunity to better engage and modernize worship with contemporary society. Others are critics, stating that this technology has no business on the altars or in the pews. Should we sacrifice the old books and replace it with new, state of the art technology? Are the techy’s pushing for this just so hypnotized by technology that they want it in every crevice of life? Or, are those critics that oppose the use of this technology just prudes that hold on to the past and like to relish the smell and feel of old books? This is a question that I sincerely ask, being that I have, in fact, used my Android smartphone with the iMissal app in order to follow along the Mass without having to use a book as well as prayers before and after communion without taking a second book. Was I wrong, or is it simply a matter of the personal preference of the lay person and parish priest?
On this matter, I’ll have to take both sides. I would like to use my iPad or smartphone to follow along with the mass, but on the other hand I think it might be distracting to some. I think, maybe for now, I’ll leave the iPad at home and the smartphone turned off until this matter becomes clear. With the wave of technology making mobile solutions more prevalent, soon the Church will have to instruct the laity and clergy on this matter.
What do you think?