NZ Bishops: No liturgical use of Roman Missal iPad Apps

The Roman Missal apps for iPad may not be used in the liturgy.

The New Zealand Bishops have told their priests that only the official printed copy of the Roman Missal may be used at Mass and at the Church’s other liturgies. They say that the Roman Missal apps for iPad and the use of other tablets, mobile phones and e-readers are excellent for study purposes, but their use in the Church’s litugry is inappropriate.

A letter sent to priests and signed by all the Bishops of New Zealand says that that all religions have books which are reserved which are reserved for the rituals and activities at the heart of the faith, and the Roman Missal is one such book.

“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,” they say.

In 2010, commenting on an iPad application  created by an Italian  priest, Paolo Padrini, who was at that time a consultant at the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, Father Anthony Ward, an under secretary at the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments, said liturgical rules generally refer to ‘the book,’ and there’s been an effort in recent years ‘to promote the book, and the embellishment of the book.”The idea of having a substitute for the book at public Masses seems to go against that consensus,” he said.

Ward said the congregation wasn’t specifically considering the suitability of the iPad application, and that there didn’t appear to be explicit rules against such devices. But he added that in this case, one should not assume that if it is not forbidden, it is allowed.


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