How should we watch live-streamed Masses? With a cup of coffee? --from a priest


“I urge you to follow these live-streamed Masses. Follow them not only with your computer but in your hearts and with your bodies, with your soul, mind, and strength. Don’t just watch them on your desk with your cup of coffee nearby, with all your other devices on.”


Thank you.

As close to the “real thing” as televised Masses are, they are not the “real thing”. If someone wants to have the same posture, deportment, and even dress, as they would wear for Mass, that is their choice. There is nothing binding a person to do anything in particular, other than to pay attention and not have willful distractions. I would vote in favor of removing distractions, but I would be very reluctant to say that a televised Mass viewer should not drink coffee if that’s what they want.

Back when I used to smoke a vapor pipe (had to give it up for insurance reasons, big sacrifice, but not worth a $200/month insurance surcharge — it was either lie about my smoking habits or quit the pipe, so I quit the pipe), I would smoke it while I did lectio divina at the end of the day. I recalled the old joke about “can you smoke while you are praying?”, and the reply of “well, think of it this way, can you pray while you are smoking?”. This was just an end-of-the-day ritual, a private devotion. I continued to enjoy my vapor pipe in peace of conscience.


When I visited Vatican City I met a priest that was indoors fixing desktop computers and he was smoking at the same time. It changed my standards regarding smoking and Catholicism

Changed your standards in what way? What is wrong with a priest smoking and working on a computer at the same time? The only issue here seems to be getting the computer smoky and stinky, but that is not a moral issue — unless the computer user does not want their computer to smell that way, and the priest is, in a small way, “damaging” their computer.

I once thought of cigarettes and priests being on opposite ends but it’s not the case. I’ve also known a priest that was a smoker when I went to youth group as a kid. It’s no big deal I just became more accepting of smoking from a theological perspective.


Would anyone eat , drink , talk or smoke during mass ?

Of course not.

So show the same respect or why bother watching … simple really


I would happily have a cup of coffee while watching televised or streamed Mass.


I wouldn’t eat, drink, talk, or smoke during mass.

However, I think it would be grand to pray mass while I eat, drink, or smoke.


I would “assist” fully dressed; toothbrushing, haircombing facewashing done.
No beverages. It’s self indulgent.
Shoes and socks on. Sitting upright in a chair or on a sofa.
It’s the Lord. You know, the LORD? Who we have asked to deliver us from the plague?
We need to fear the Lord, honor Him with our best effort. He deserves my best.


Can you not simply reframe yourself for an hour ?

There’s an old saying a priest once told us all… When the cats away the mice will play…

I don’t see it as terribly supportive to people who are already grieving the loss of their Mass to the point that they would watch a streamed one, to then lecture them about how they’re supposed to be doing this activity.



Mass on TV is TV. Not Mass. It is not the same as attending Mass; it is a means of devotionally uniting oneself to Mass but one is not at Mass. Coffee is perfectly fine because I am not at Mass.

I “reframe”–in your terms–myself during my Divine Office, which I am really celebrating, as an exercise of my baptismal priesthood and during which I do not drink coffee. I am really worshipping and uniting myself more closely to Mass than I ever could by merely watching it on TV.


Oh, OK, I thought you meant that it soured you on Catholicism, because you didn’t think a priest should be smoking. I see what you meant now.

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I think that’s how they failed to hear the cat come back, all that playing they insulged in. Loll

We know what we are watching, but we also know Who is watching us…

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As far as smoking is concerned, it’s best to kick the habit. When smoking becomes an addiction, we are an easy target for all types of cancer, not to mention lowering our resistance to other diseases, such as the flu and covid-19.

Also, the scriptures tell us that our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit. They are not be sullied with substances such as cigarette smoke. God lent us physical bodies, and I believe He intended for us to keep them clean and healthy.

And “Who” watches us regardless of what we happen to be watching on TV.

A televised Mass is a great and very worthy thing. It quite simply is not the same as physically attending Mass. Nor are.we obligated to.act as if it were. That is why we do not, if we so choose, have to watch at all. It is no sin, nor even a moral failing of any sort, if I choose not to livestream a Mass on Sundays when I.cannot attend physically.

It is a private act of devotion akin to praying the Rosary or reading the Bible. Don’t know about you but I have done both in all sorts of odd.situations. Some of which may, if memory serves, have involved a cup of coffee. Nothing wrong when the caffeine keeps me awake and attentive to the activity.

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Except watching it remotely isn’t the same thing as being there in person… otherwise our archbishop wouldn’t have given us all a dispensation. Under normal circumstances, watching a televised Mass doesn’t fulfill the obligation. It still doesn’t… we are dispensed. This past Sunday, I tuned into a local televised Mass while wearing my housecoat. I also knelt nearly the whole time I tuned in. If in person, I wouldn’t be wearing a housecoat… but I also would have knelt a lot less. Did I sin? I think not.

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It is all extremely personal and spiritual. Some folks’ spirituality allows them to participate intellectually - while otherwise occupied. Some are absorbed into the mass - present or not. Some listen and learn, some wonder and others weep.

What is our spirituality? Once known, we can allow it to draw us into a deeper relationship with Christ. How that manifests itself covers the entire spectrum.

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