Video during mass


So during mass yesterday, the priest played a video instead of giving a homily. It was about the Annual Catholic appeal. The same thing happened this time last year, at a different nearby parish. I can reasonably assume that this action was condoned by the bishop, as the bishop appeared in the video.
Is this liturgical abuse? I know that the homily may be omitted but…a video during mass? Really?


Pastoral Letters from our Archbishop are frequently presented in the form of a recorded message to be played over the PA system, so I suppose a video is a development of that. Actually, you will probably find that it is very successful in terms of raising money.


I highly doubt that the Bishop intended it to replace the homily. It video was most likely intended to be played during announcements or right after Mass


We occasionally have a letter from the Bishop read aloud by the priest, instead of the homily.


My old parish years ago showed videos during Mass but I can’t remember what they were about nor do I recall if there was no homily. The priest at the parish I currently go to wouldn’t miss an opportunity to preach.

Sunday we had a letter written by the bishop read during the homily. I doubt it even took up 1/5th of the homily!


It does happen, especially if your local bishop is in the video. If it is well done the message even for an annual appeal is tied to the readings of the day. This has happened in our diocese and it has a pastoral/preaching approach rather than a commercial.

If you have a specific problem with the location of the video within the liturgy you need to speak with the pastor in your parish. He may have been directed by the diocese to show at the homily time, in addition to the homily not as a replacement. But priests are human and some quite honestly “phone it in” when it comes to homilies.

However, in these circumstances I like to take to reflect on the fact that there are hundreds of thousands of Catholics in this world who do not have access to Mass on a regular basis. This helps keep things in perspective


We had the video after the homily during Mass yesterday and our bishop did have a cameo.


Stewardship is an important part of being a Christian, so really it can be a message presented during the homily.


Back in the '50’s we’d have letters from the bishop read in place of the homily. As I recall, almost always fund-raising in nature.


When we have things like this, our priest usually precedes it very short (<5 minute) homily that ties some aspect of the readings into the letter/presentation.


Many times the bishop will send a homily via letter, audio recording, or video out to all the parishes. The homily might be on stewardship or a particular fundraising initiative.

The bishop may certainly instruct his priests to read or play it during the Mass.


That’s actually a very ancient tradition. It goes all the way back to the first years of Christianity. The Epistles (before they became part of the canon of Sacred Scripture) were essentially written homilies.



I’ve checked the Roman Missal. I cannot find any place in the Mass for playing videos.

Can you quote the text in the Roman Missal or in the GIRM where the Church describes the part of the Mass that incorporates a video presentation into the Mass?

I cannot find it. :shrug:


Is that needed? A video, or audio recording, is just another form of episcopal message to the parish. In this case, as the bishop is also the one who implements and interprets the GIRM in his diocese, he has the authority to do what he did.

We had our diocesan appeal this weekend as well, but in our case, the priest was required to ask if everyone got their letter from the diocese and pass out copies of the appeal to all who didn’t. That too is not specified as an option in the GIRM.


But, with that being said, it might be equally doubtful that the Bishop would be opposed to it being used as the homily.


Nor will you find anyplace that prohibits it.

Neither will you find anything in the GIRM or the Roman Missal addressing the use of a microphone, electric lighting in the sanctuary, etc, but that doesn’t make it improper.

While I understand ensuring the sacred liturgy remains universal, sometimes we seem to overthink things, and expect precise legalism to define every aspect of it, making the assumption that if it is not specifically addressed in the Missal or GIRM, it must be wrong.



Have you had to deal with this in your diocese? How would you respond if the local bishop sent a video and/or audio taped message that was to be shown at the weekend liturgies? What would you say to the bishop?

I am genuinely curious. In our diocese this has been going on since the late 1980s, early 1990s.

Thank you


Ours sends it *as *the homily. And the recording is played at that time.

He also does one the 2nd or 3rd week of Advent. It is the same week every year, I just don’t remember which week it is.


We had a video of the Bishop yesterday in place of the homily as part of the diocesan annual financial appeal. The Bishop actually gave a great homily on the Gospel. I see this as just a more modern form of letter from the Bishop being read at the mass for a homily.
I would not want to see videos incorporated on a regular basis, but I see nothing wrong with it. I will certainly trust the Bishop’s judgment on the matter.

  1. Loudspeakers may be used even during liturgical functions, and private devotions for the purpose of amplifying the living voice of the priest-celebrant or the commentator, or others who, according to the rubrics or by order of the pastor, are expected to make their voices heard.

  2. The use of any kind of projector, and particularly movie projectors, with or without sound track, is strictly forbidden in church for any reason, even if it be for a pious, religious, or charitable cause.

De musica sacra et sacra liturgia
Instruction on Sacred Music and Sacred Liturgy
Sacred Congregation for Rites - September 3, 1958

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