Another reader writes in:
For the past week or so, I have been perusing peoples’ photos and videos of Triduum liturgies…I’ve found myself wondering about the boundary between experiencing and celebrating liturgy vs. documenting and preserving particular ones…Do parishes/dioceses need to develop policies and make announcements not only about silencing cell phones, but also about taking video of the celebration?
Taking pictures and videos during liturgical celebrations used to be confined to marriages, baptisms, confirmations, first communions, ordinations, and other liturgies which marked once in a lifetime events. Now that almost every phone has a camera and now that Snapchat, Facebook and Twitter have become so pervasive, it is easy to snap a photo or record a video and distribute it to your friends and followers. There is also a social expectation that you do so.
When I go to Mass it is not uncommon for me to see someone with their phone out taking pictures, especially during solemn liturgical seasons. I have also been guilty of snapping a pic here and there in order to record or share my experience with others.
I think there is a time and a place for pictures in the liturgy, but often the person taking the picture can be very distracting. It is also a problem when someone’s participation in the liturgy is mediated through the screen of their cellphone or camera.
Do you think it is okay to take photos and videos during liturgical celebrations? When is it appropriate and when is it not?
Please comment below.