“At some point, the priest during the Mass says, ‘Lift up your hearts.’ He does not say, ‘Lift up your cellphones to take pictures,’” Francis said.
There are plenty of churchgoers these days who seem to resent people pulling out their devices during a church service.
If it’s to take photos in the middle of the service like you might during a rock concert, I certainly would tend to agree, although these days there are too many churches that are putting on what appears to be an actual rock concert. Any time our devices are taking our attention away from the reason we’re in church, that’s naturally a problem and I think Francis is right to speak out about it.
Of course, there’s a growing number of people who walk into a church with Bible apps in their smartphones and tablets: rather than bringing a paper Bible, they now rely on apps that allow them to follow along, bookmark passages and take notes electronically.
But even if folks are not using an app when they lift their smartphones during church, they may be doing a 21st-century form of witnessing: if they’re posting those photos Francis accuses them of shooting during a service, they might have the effect of making more people aware of their church and their own faith. They might even encourage their friends or followers to try church on their own.
Yes, it seems inappropriate on the surface to snap photos with your smartphone during church. But it might also be a way to remind others that they might have a pleasant experience of their own there.
Does it bother you when you see someone using a device — for any reason — in church?
Patrick is a Christian with more than 26 years experience in professional writing, producing and marketing. His professional background also includes social media, reporting for broadcast television and the web, directing, videography and photography. He enjoys getting to know people over coffee and spending time with his dog.