343 responded to our poll at all our social media sites, and the results are in: 25.4% vote for screens, and 74.6% vote for printed worship materials. So: three-fourths prefer printed materials. (Note, printed means leaflets as well hardbound hymnals and softbound seasonal resources.)
NO to Screens
“Wish I could smash the ‘no’ button a hundred times. Big, bright, backlit screens distract people in a way that paper worship aids and hymnal pages do not,” one person wrote.
“It is not a movie theater – talk about passivity,” wrote another.
“A lower-tech approach is often more reliable and stable if more manpower-intensive. Projection may have a ‘wow’ factor that print lacks, but your hymnals are not prone to crash and delete themselves right before Mass begins,” said one respondent.
Read the comments in favor of printed materials here: Printed.
YES to Screens
Many people spoke up for screens. For example, one person wrote: “It’s fine if you are a cradle Catholic who confidently knows what comes next and what to say and do when. But if your parish is making an effort to attract and retain people who are on the margins of church membership, … IMO screens done well are a better solution.”
Many comments spoke of improved sung participation, for example: “Have noticed a huge improvement in participation using screens especially at funerals and weddings where people hardly ever pick up a worship aide. Also gets people’s heads lifted up and the sound carries better.”
Read the comments favorable to screens here: Screen.
“So torn on this,” one reader wrote. “Projection screens only really work when they were planned for when the space was created/re-created. Otherwise, they stick out like a sore thumb.”
One person said, “I don’t really see either one as a key to what I would call participation in the liturgy. I think both tend to cause the user to focus on the thing used; i.e., the screen or the print, and not necessarily the liturgy…I wish there were a simple answer, but there isn’t.”
Some people brought up the environment: “I’m slightly old school in which I’m used to paper for worship aids, but obviously a projected worship aid would be better for the environment!”
Here was a call for good taste: “A well-designed printed aid is better than a faint and blurry projection screen, and a well-designed, high-resolution screen presentation is better than a printed aid that’s hard to read. By well-designed I do NOT mean multiple “fun” fonts, more clip art, stock photos or images from Victorian holy cards.”
For comments expressing mixed views, see here: Mixed.