About this blogger:
A theorist, organist, and conductor, Jeff Ostrowski holds his B.M. in Music Theory from the University of Kansas (2004), and did graduate work in Musicology. He serves as choirmaster for the new FSSP parish in Los Angeles, where he resides with his wife and children.
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We cannot exaggerate our indebtedness to Dr. Julian’s “Dictionary of Hymnology,” a monumental work, without which we could not have reached the high standard of accuracy, as to both texts and authorship, which we set before us when entering upon our labours.
— Committee for “New English Hymnal” (1906)

What Do We Think Of Cell Phones At Mass?
published 28 October 2013 by Jeff Ostrowski

NE REASON SO MANY Catholics are flocking to the Extraordinary Form is that many (not all) Ordinary Form parishes suffer from a “lack of the sacred.” I’m not going to spend a whole lot of time explaining what I mean, since so many authors have written about this over the years, but in general I refer to a certain “informality” (inappropriate clothing, clapping at Mass, etc.) which for some reason doesn’t tend to occur at EF Masses. By the way, you will want to read what Paul VI wrote about “desacralization” of Mass. It won’t be long until people begin eating at Church, since we’ve already seen pretty much everything else one can imagine.

However, I’ve noticed a certain tendency at EF Masses which causes me concern. It has to do with a phenomenon you can see in picture above: recording Masses (especially by means of inferior cameras like cell phones) and posting them online.

ON THE ONE HAND, I can see arguments in favor of using cell phones at Mass (see image above). The desire to keep a remembrance of a beautiful occasion is fully understandable. However, isn’t it distracting to see people pulling out their iPhones? Even during the Recessional, aren’t we supposed to be praying? Presumably, we’ve just received the Sanctissimum: is it not uncouth to pull out an electronic device?

Besides, we have a duty to present the Holy Mass in the best light possible, right? Do we really want to show people Masses recorded poorly, not in focus, with only one camera angle? Again, I think we need to do whatever we can to promote the Mass, but aren’t such efforts ultimately self-defeating if not done well? The longer I live, the more I become against filming the Mass, except under very carefully chosen circumstances. After all, I think my daughter is the most beautiful little girl in the entire world, but even she can look bad if the photographer or camera is inferior.

We did include Mass pictures in the Campion Hymnal, but we spent months planning for this, so those pictures (in my opinion) are “worthy” of the Mass.