Checking my phone during mass, serious?


The Mass is ever important to our faith, it’s where Christ offers the sacrifice of himself to the Father in an unbloody manner under the appearances of bread and wine. Since it is such a sacred event I worry about wether I’m not doing enough to give what I could to the mass. I invited a Catholic friend to mass and we texted each other before hand about where we were sitting up front so we would sit together. He said he’d definitely make it to mass, I was there earlier than he was, and time was ticking before mass started, it did start and he was still not up with me where we said. I was casually looking behind me during the begining of mass, the see if he was there. Problem was, I didn’t see him, after the First reading I worried “what if he’s lost? What if he texted me that he was lost and can’t find the church? I can’t look at the phone screen though.” But over time the mass continued and he still wasn’t in sight. I couldn’t just pull out my iphone in mass though. But during the collection I slipped a peek and found out he was sitting in the back cause he came late. Does anyone else have any tense phone situations like this and is it really that bad to check the phone in that case during the collection. I mean, I didn’t check it during a high point really. It’s been bothering me, I feel I’m the only one who’s done it and I’m being super irreverent during mass. Thoughts? Stories? Tips?:shrug:


Your friend did the right thing and waited in the back, hoping you would see them possibly at a point where you would be able to.
I personally only have taken my phone into the church when a family member was in the hospital and I had it on vibrate. It’s only one hour and unless I am aware of a sensitive situation that could require my presence at a moment’s notice I do not feel the least bit guilty disconnecting from the world for that one hour.
I can’t offer you advice. You clearly were hoping to be welcoming to someone who had never been to Mass. The only problem I can see is that while you explained your reasoning behind your usage and the way you tried to keep it as low key as possible, your pew neighbors don’t know the background. They and possibly their children simply see someone checking their phone.
Tough call on that one from where I am sitting.


You weren’t meaning to be disrespectful in any way and you were worried about your friend. I think in those circumstances, it’s OK.

Our priest is frequently ‘on-call’ for the local hospital, which is a 24-hour commitment (in case of people being dangerously ill and needing a priest immediately) - we don’t tend to have many Catholic priests formally placed at hospitals here in the UK. When he’s on duty, he always places his mobile right on the step in front of the altar before Mass and tells us that it’s turned on, to make sure he doesn’t miss an urgent call.

It’s a different thing of course as it’s his important work, but I’ve always liked the way that he brings that part of his pastoral care into the Mass.


One possible solution for your priest would be to wear a pager for emergencies. That is what many physicians do, so that emergency notifications come through, even when the phone is off. The problem with leaving a phone on is that personal calls come in at inopportune times. A pager is much smaller to carry around, than a a second phone. Also, if you opt for a satellite pager, it has better coverage than a cellular phone, and you can be notified that you are needed, when a phone can’t reach you.


I’m old enough to have lived the majority of my life without a mobile phone so I feel no pain or discomfort in leaving my phone in the car when I go to Mass. Back in the ‘old days’ we didn’t seem to worry about these things to the same degree that we do now that mobile phones solve problems. :stuck_out_tongue:

I often see young people looking at their phones during Mass and it does feel off to me. True emergencies are a different thing though.


There are parishioners who also need to be “on call” as well. You aren’t making a regular habit of doing this and you handled it well, so I don’t see a problem. It’s not like you were playing a game on it :wink:


Bad? No. Rude? Slightly.
In your situation, not too serious, but I hate it when people constantly tap on their phones, especially during Mass.




I think you handled the situation well.

I do have a missal app on my phone and sometimes use it during mass. I always feel self conscious when I do so.


Thanks everyone, yeah I’m definitely better off with the phone off haha but it’s great to to know I handled it well.

I used to also have the missal on my phone and use it during mass, but I know the older people especially but actually everyone doesn’t really know why you’re using the phone. So to save the distraction for others and myself I just listen or read the missal in the pew.


I don’t think that you did anything wrong, given the situation. It’s not as if you were checking the score of a ballgame or looking to see what your friend posted on Facebook. I had to do a similar thing at a funeral Mass once, because my coworker couldn’t find the place. Jesus wants that person to get there.


Phone use doesn’t belong in Mass, period. For years people functioned without cell phones. People who were on call for emergencies like doctors used pagers. But a simple meetup isn’t an emergency.


Today at Mass I was a little bit miffed because a family a couple rows ahead of us passed a cell phone among themselves a few times. But I thought–it’s o.k., be forgiving and don’t pay any attention to it.

It turns out, as American as they looked, they were European and not native English speakers, and were showing each other translations of what the priest was saying.



I have had to check my cell phone a couple times over the years and I went outside to take the call or see the text.


DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit