As seen on WDTPRS earlier today (and quoted from the AP—Fr. Z's comments in bold):
ROME — An Italian priest has developed an iPad application that will let priests celebrate Mass with an iPad on the altar instead of the regular Roman missal.
The Rev. Paolo Padrini, a consultant with the Vatican’s Pontifical Council for Social Communications, said Friday that the free application will be launched in July in English, French, Spanish, Italian and Latin. [In this case, I hope it will be complete. I found iBreviary to be… sub-optimal.]
Two years ago, Padrini developed the iBreviary, an application that brought the book of daily prayers used by priests onto iPhones. He said the iPad application is similar but also contains the complete missal — containing all that is said and sung during Mass throughout the liturgical year. [Since the Missal is less complicated, perhaps it will be complete. However…. will it be only the 2002 Missale Romanum? And what to do, for English, about the translation? Other languages have already updated their translations.]
Pope Benedict XVI has sought to reach out to young people through new media.
Thoughts? On first reading this, I was a little distressed... but thinking more about this, I wonder if this is not an altogether bad idea. At first, for traveling priests, this would be a godsend. Carrying around a Roman Missal is a major chore (I know, because I had to do this for a while in the Seminary). And, as time goes on, and these devices become less of an obtrusive piece of technology, and more ingrained with how we consume and display content, would they be more acceptable in this kind of setting?
I think two things would have to happen before it would be acceptable to use an iPad-like device during a Sacred Liturgy:
- An appropriate case would need to be manufactured to (a) mask the logo on the back, and (b) downplay the fact that a bit of electronic technology is being used. Something simple; perhaps a nice red leather case? (Definitely not a gaudy gold 'bling' cover like I see at some parishes, with a happy Jesus on the front).
- The screens on the devices will need to be improved, and able to operate without backlighting. Seeing someone in a relatively dim room with an iPad, iPhone or laptop is distracting, due to the blueish glow on their faces. Advancements in e-ink and related technologies could get us there, sometime in the next few years.
What do you think? Should this be (for now) relegated to private Masses? Should it be allowed at all?