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.However, Fr. Tim Finigan, on his blog, offers a dissenting opinion:
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.
I am not sure I would go along with him there. After all, as he acknowledges, the Council of Trent embraced the modern technology of its time which was the printing press and used it precisely in order to standardise the text. For most of the centuries of Christianity we have not had printed books. Let me be clear, I do not think that priests should use iPads to celebrate Mass, they should use proper Missals. However tablet and e-reader technology is in its infancy and we simply don't know how it will develop within the next five years, let alone the next fifty. The process by which books are printed has changed radically since the Council of Trent; the manner in which a text is placed before us has changed before many times and will change. Our present tablets and e-readers will be laughed at as primitive early devices in the not too distant future. It may well be that something more suitable for sacred worship could emerge.