It is “unimaginable that an iPad or a laptop would be carried in procession, or that a monitor would be incensed and kissed during the liturgy,” Fr. Spadaro said.
The liturgy, he explained, is “the bastion of resistance” against the separation of the written word from the ink on the page. “The page remains the 'body' of a text,” he underscored.
A member of the Pontifical Council for Communications, Fr. Spadaro wrote in his blog about the decision of the Bishops’ Conference of New Zealand to deny the request by several priests for permission to allow mobile devices to be used at Mass.
He noted that while apps such as iBreviary are making it easier to pray the Liturgy of the Hours or follow the liturgical readings of the day, “The pages of the Gospel remain an integral part of the ritual action of the Christian community.”
He noted that the Council of Trent embraced the technological advances of the day, including the printing press, “and allowed for the creation of useful editions for the creation of a truly global liturgy, that is, uniform in all dioceses and parishes.”
A study carried out by the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross and the University of Lugano in 2010, with the support of the Congregation for the Clergy, showed that 17.5 percent of the world’s priests used the internet at least once per day to pray the liturgy of the hours, while up to 36 percent did so at least once a week.
In a recent blog post, Father Antonio Spadaro, known as the Vatican’s “cyber theologian,” said that devices such as iPads, smart phones and tablets should not be used instead of missalettes at Mass.