From the November issue of Worship: “Participatio Actuosa in Cyberspace? Vatican II’s Liturgical Vision in a Digital World”

As part of a new collaborative venture, Worship and Pray Tell are excited to announce that Teresa Berger’s article “Participatio Actuosa in Cyberspace? Vatican II’s Liturgical Vision in a Digital World” is at Worship’s website. Teresa’s article discusses the growing number of people who pray online. She provides links within the article to the websites she discusses. Just click on any of the hyperlinks in the text (to open each link in a new tab right click on the link and go to “Open Link in a New Tab”).

After reading the article, feel free to post your thoughts below.


  1. Oh I can see it now…. re: Eucharist we distinguish between physical presence and sacramental presence and rightly teach it is Real.
    Well…… physical presence vs digital presence?? Must one in in corpore with priest for confession, why not via internet? Is watching televised Mass being ‘present’ at that Mass?
    I’m not promoting these ideas…. but just imagining the things that the wider world might put forth.

  2. When I click on the “monster” link at the bottom of the post it took me to an entry point for Twitter. I don’t twitter or tweet or whatever. In fact I usually baulk at anything that requires me to sign up, especially with a password.

    However I discovered that clicking on the link which says” Worship’s Website” downloads the pdf and also says something about an interactive link which I guess means the twitter link. Not knowing much about twitter , maybe that means I could “interact” on twitter.

    The only twitter that I use is which is the same thing as is usually posted on his page three of his website. I have never signed in at the place where it says you can. I am not really sure what that does.

    Anyway just an alert for others who may not be into social media.

    1. @Jack Rakosky – comment #2:
      Sorry for the confusion, the issue has been resolved. The large link should never have been visible.

      To view the article click on the link in the post.


  3. In events such as some of the huge Papal Masses with their extensive video and audio displays, people who watch and listen on the Internet actually have as much if not greater capacity to actively participate in the liturgy than the people at the event. This would be particularly true for a family or small group watching and listening on the internet if they sang responses, etc. and other wise participated in much the same way as people do in small groups at the event. Again a lot of this might be easier to do at home and a thousand miles away.

    I think there is a huge different between participating in a live broadcast and listening to a recording of an event. During the winter when Lake Effect snows me in on Sunday I watch and listen to the live broadcast of the Notre Dame Mass, however I would not think of watching the recording of the same Mass which is available later in the day on CatholicTV

    It is interesting that the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese makes many of its services available on the internet but only live. I wonder what their thinking is about that?

    Personally I have never thought much of recorded Masses, and would never watch them except for interest in some special event, or place, or the music. Part of my curiously about the GOA above is perhaps they have some theological reasoning that would give light to my gut feelings on this issue. Now I know some home bound people who regularly watch a prerecorded Mass as their form of church going.

    Some local parishes now dismiss ministers to the homebound with communion after everyone has received communion and before the general dismissal. I think parishes should combine that with webcasting their parish liturgies. It would really be participating for the homebound to watch the service on the Internet, receive communion from the Eucharistic ministers who had just left the assembly, and then perhaps five or ten minutes later visits from some parish members.

  4. I am a bit late to this, but I am compelled to comment. When each copy of Worship arrives for my boss, I take it first and read it. *sigh* True church nerdom achieved! 🙂

    In all seriousness, that is what I do. With the current issue, I tore into Teresa Berger’s piece with great joy.

    What I took away was this – and I say this as someone who has long participated in what I will call “internet ministry” for the moment. What we are seeing online goes way beyond what we know as liturgy. That may not always be good, but it is happening.

    I always say, there is no substitute for real presence, but I do believe that we are invited to see how we interact “liturgically” in the online space. If only I had more time, I would try to write about some of the experiences that I have had over the years.

    In any event, a great article from Teresa Berger. Thank you!

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