Ok to take pictures?

Well, then, that makes two of us. The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is not the same as a recital or some other type of performance. It’s not about the person serving Mass; it is about the Persons being worshipped, in this case, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. When we start making it about our accomplishments, then we lose sight as to why we are there in the first place.

Thank you - glad to know I’m not totally alone in this.


Because it is such a special occasion and because it is such a sacred and solemn event that you should take pictures (with the Priest’s permission and as long as you aren’t noticable). I wouldn’t take them during the Consecration, but I don’t see any problem with it during the Preparation of the Gifts, while your child is lighting the candles, etc.
It is a sacred occasion and a great moment for your daughter, which is why I think it is a good idea to take photos.

Taking pictures isn’t irreverant, and to say that taking pictures of your child during Mass takes away from the Mass is silly. After all, you will be focused on your child, who G-d gave you and you love. I would think that you would be thanking G-d for giving you such a wonderful girl that wants to participate in Mass, which further means that your focus is, ultimatly, on the Creator.

With all due respect, while your intentions are well-meaning, they are not necessarily correct.

The focus of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is not geared toward the individuals who are serving, or even the celebrant. The focus of the Mass is God. Yes, you state that in your final sentence; however, you also added that the parent is focusing on the child, which is not necessarily compatible with what is happening at the Mass.

The main thrust of the Mass is not what we are doing; rather, it is about what God is doing. The service at the altar is important and commendable, but, it is not a Kodak moment. This is not similar to a chid’s first recital or first basketball game. It is altogether different. There is something sacred going on here. Pictures will detract from what is happening and make the child more important than the Sacrifice.

During the consecration I would agree with you. However I draw my argument for it being okay during the rest of Mass from similar arguments by apologists when trying to explain prayer to and meditation of the saints. Again, I agree that during the consecration it would be rude to G-d, but before I don’t see the problem. I doubt G-d, though I’m not sure, would be angry at a mother or father taking pride and wanting to try and capture a special Catholic moment in a Catholic child’s life.
If you went to a museum and took pictures of a painting, I doubt that the painter would come over and get furious that you aren’t taking photos of him/her. In the same way I can see G-d, though again like all things in relation to G-d I can never know, not saying “Hey hey, look at me”, but rather “hey hey, look what I created and how much love there is between the two of them”.

I think the main issue is the mind set. Are you totally ignoring G-d, not recognizing the “painter”? If so then yes, it would be inappropriate. However if, every time you look at the picture and remember that special moment and how G-d gave you that special moment… I don’t see the problem with it.

You museum analogy simply does not work, nor does your artist comparison. The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is vastly different from what you describe. When we make the act of service more important than the act of worship, then our priorities are misguided.

The picture taking should occur either before Mass or after, but, not during the Mass. The parent could conceivably take a picture during the entrance procession, but, not when the celebrant begins with the sign of the Cross. Once the prayer begins, the camera should go back into the bag. The Mass is not about the child serving; rather, it is our supreme act of worship to God. Everything about the Mass is sacred. It is not a photo-op for proud parents.

With all due respect, I scarcely believe that the saints would have condoned such picture-taking during the Mass.

Sorry that my analogy didn’t work (no analogy is perfect). However the act of service is often an act of worship. I simply see the issue not to be “my daughter is the center of Mass” but that “my daughter is pointing to the center of the Mass”. To me, it depends on the parent’s focus and intention.

What is the big deal with photographic evidence that a child did something - anything for that matter? What in the world did we ever do before we all had cameras and phones with cameras and keychains with cameras, video cameras and webcams? :rolleyes: I get it, people are proud of their children, that’s wonderful and commendable. But there is a time and a place for all things and Mass is not the time or the place for photographs of serving.

Look - when we are at Mass we are there for one reason and one reason only - to be present at Jesus Christ’s Sacrifice on the altar. What else matters? Nothing.

Save the photo-op for after Mass and have the child pose with Father somewhere (and please, not in front of the tabernacle! ).

To pull out a camera is to take your focus off Mass, and therefore off Christ. There is no part of the Mass that is more or less significant, we are called to be there for all of it, therefore all of it is relevant and of equal importance. To suggest that photos are ok if they happen outside the consecration is to say that the other parts are less important - this is not true. Even if the consecration has not occurred Jesus is most likely present in the tabernacle.

Put the priorities in order - leave the camera in the purse, and take photos before or after Mass if they absolutely must be done.


I’m a little confused about your first paragraph. you say what’s the big deal about pictures, and I think your reasoning is that we got along great before picture taking… could the same be said about e-mail, internet, and cars? These things have bettered our lives, as pictures have done. Try asking a bride on her wedding day what “the big deal [is] with photographic evidence”.

“To pull out a camera is to take your focus off Mass, and therefore off Christ”. And to take out a Rosary is to take your focus off Mass, and therefore off Christ.

Listen, OP, I’m not going to plead with you to take the picture. Just think about the future, and are you going to look back and kick yourself because you missed an chance to capture a moment, or are you going to kick yourself because you think that you took your focus away from Mass?

I recommend that if you do take photos, read over the manual for your camera carefully. Many recent digital cameras have the option to silence the shutter sound.

I have to echo bpbasilphx on this, and suggest you’re proposing a strange double standard.

[quote=lizaanne]The Holy Mass is not a performance. There really is no reason to have a photo of your child serving.

Most parents don’t limit photography of their children to events where those children are performing. Nor should they.

So, I will never find a picture of any saint or pope at Mass as a child in attendance?

Your analogies are simply not working. Your assertion and insistence that pictures be taken, as I read your posts, indicates to me that you are making what the child is doing more important than Who she is serving.

Sacramental liturgies are an entirely different matter, as these are once-in-a-lifetime events. You only get Baptized once. You only receive First Holy Communion once. Presumably, you only marry once. But, even when photographs are taken, they are done in a manner that is unobtrusive and does not detract from the actual sacrament being imparted, and, in many parishes, only one photographer, the one who was contracted to take the pictuers, is the one doing the work. No other photographers (commercial, family or friends) are allowed.

To compare the recitation of the Rosary during Mass to taking pictures during Mass and saying that this is detracting from Christ is preposterious. At least, in the recitation of the Rosary, the individual is praying, and, if this recitation happens during the homily (preached in a language the individual does not understand), the person is at least trying to direct his mind and heart to God. Picture-taking is something entirely different.


To equate Mass to other ordinary life events is horrific.


Yes and you only serve in your 1st mass once! It is a once in a lifetime event.

But, serving Mass, while an important ministry, is not the same as receiving the Sacraments. That is the point that, I believe, the proponents of the photo-op are completely missing.

I never asserted or insissted that pictures must be taken, I only said if a parent wants to then he or she could.
It is not preposterous to compare taking pictures of one’s child to reciting a Rosary if you understand the link that I am making. I’m not saying that these two thinks are extremely comparable, but I was making a point that just because your mind is not focused directly or totally on the Mass or Christ is not a bad thing. Like when we meditate on Mary, we don’t just remember the person of Mary, but the fact that she points to G-d. IN the same way, I was saying, this person’s daughter can point to G-d.
I also echo the double standard that it seems is being used for Papal Masses and Sunday Masses.
Furthermore there is no way that taking a picture of a child serving could be seen as more important than the one who is being served. After all, if someone took a picture of a Secret Service agent, one still remembers that the only reason that SS agent is there is because of the one he or she is serving… the President.
What I think the real issue is on this thread is that we are looking at the topic from two different angles. You are seeing it, if I understand you correctly and I might not be, is that it is something extra to the Mass that is therefore taking away from the Mass experiance for this parent and, therefore, from Christ. Whereas I’m saying that by taking a picture of the child the parent is honoring the child and, therefore, honoring Christ and the one that she is serving. Marc Shea points out in his 3rd volume of Mary, Mother of the Son that honor is not an all or nothing action.
So, again, I think we are simply approaching the issue at two different view points. I do agree with you, benedictgal, that if the parent’s mindset is not one of reverence, if the parent is obtrusive to those around her, and/or if the parent is doing it during the consecration then it would be inappropriate. However, I don’t see the parent taking those pictures with that mindset.

Properly recited, the Rosary is the vehicle through which we meditate on the mysteires of Christ’s Incarnation, Life, Passion, Death and Resurrection, praying these with the Blessed Mother. So, your analogy simply does not work.

With all due respect, you seem to not understand why it is not a good idea to take pictures of a child serving her first Mass. First of all, the attention is focused on the child and what she is doing rather than on Who she is serving. That is a misdirection of why we are at Mass. If we hold true to your argument, then, whenever someone who proclaims the readings at the Mass for the first time or serves as an EMHC as a first time should have a friend or a relative whip out the Fuji camera and start snapping away. That does not work nor does it make sense. It is not about what I am doing; rather, it is about what God is doing at the Mass.

You bring up Marc Shea’s book to justify your stance, but, even your argument does not work because it is not germaine to the discussion at hand. Furthermore, the Blessed Mother never focused attention on herself. In fact, the last words she speaks in the Gospel, St. John’s account, are “Do whatever He tells you.”

The problem is that we have made the Mass about something that we are doing, rather than about the salviffic mysteries that are unfolding before us.

We also meditate upon The Assumption and the Coronation. My point about the Rosary is exactly what you said. It points us to Christ. Why can’t a child, serving at Mass, also point us to Christ? Why is it that you are so against a mother taking a picture of her daughter pointing to Christ?
You keep saying my analogy “simply does not work”. I have yet to see why. Granted, it is a loose connection between the two, but you have yet to tell me why the connection I have drawn is incorrect.
I also find your description of someone “whip[ing] out the Fuji camera and start snapping away” to be funny and also totally against what I said. I said that it should be done unnoticably.
My argument with Mark Shea’s book is relevant because I was pointing out that honor is not an all or nothing game. Go back and re-read the post.
I also don’t know this “we” to which you are referring. Now I do say that part of the Mass is what we are doing (we are participating, after all, in a re-presentation of the Ultimate Sacrifice), but I myself have not made the Mass only about what we are doing and nothing about what Christ is doing. I think that you are taking picture taking a little too far.

Again, with all due respect, your insistance that it is okay to take pictures during the Mass is wrong and off-base. Your analogies do not work because they are akin to comparing apples to watermelons. The recitation of the Rosary is a prayer; picture-taking is not. Furthermore, dragging the Blessed Mother into this argument makes no sense at all since she has never drawn attention to herself, but, has always directed everything towards her Son.

On the other hand, snapping pictures while a child is serving Mass documents what the child is doing and makes that activity more important than the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. That is the point that you seem to not be getting. Furthermore, while the Consecration is the pinnacle of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, you seem to trivialize everything else that goes on by saying that it’s fine to take pictures so long as it does not happen during the Consecration. That is to entirely miss the point of the Mass.

If the parent wants to take pictures of the child, nothing prevents him from doing so before the Mass begins or after the Mass ends. But, to do so during the Mass is not a good thing. As I said in my previous response to you, were we to take your logic, then, whenever someone proclaims the readings for the first time or assists with the distribution of Holy Communion for the first time, would you then justify picture-taking? I would certainly hope not. Ultimately, the Mass is not about what we are doing; rather, it is about what He is doing. If we do not understand that about the Mass, then we have completely missed the point.

If we limit photos to a first reception of each sacrament as you propose, that would be a neat division between what is and isn’t appropriate. Unfortunately, even you don’t adhere to this, as you said a papal mass would also be an appropriate occasion.

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