Visual projector aids at Mass


#1

I’ve not been able to find any statements by the Church regarding the use of overhead projectors at Mass. I am referring to the projection of lyrics and scripture readings on the wall to the side of, or above, the altar.
Has Rome or the USCCB made any statements on this type of thing?


#2

De musica sacra et sacra liturgia banned projectors in 1958. There’s debate over whether that ban is still applicable today.

Scripture readings can’t be projected. You would need permission from the USCCB to show it and they won’t give you permission.


#3

Going to my daughter’s parish drives me nuts. They have a huge screen behind the altar on which, not content to project lyrics, they project ‘themed’ pictures to accompany the Consecration, the Readings, etc. Talk about distracting!

For some reason having missalettes and hymnals in the pews isn’t enough. You’d think a few well placed hymn boards with hymn numbers would suffice to allow people to sing, particularly since they are not expected to sing anything but the refrain and the Ordinary is obviously learned by repeated hearings because their settings are illicit and are not in the hymnal.


#4

Thank you. I found the Sacra…
Do you have any specific reference to anything from the USCCB on this?


#5

Why would anyone object to something that helps others to see/hear/understand clearly? :confused: That just seems mean to me.

Times have changed. Since 1958, projectors no longer make that loud whirring noise, or that annoying “click” between slides. And back then, the slides had to be changed one by one by HAND.


#6

A lousy idea.

Linus2nd


#7

I’d rather not turn this into a debate thread unless some good solid info or reasoning comes out of the debate. Most of the conversation about this issue I have read in various places can not contradict De Musica Sacra, so this is why I am wondering whether our bishops have a statement on this.
My reason for bringing this up is that we have a small band of parishioners who are upset we are losing people to a local evangelical praise and worship church. They are attempting to force changes in our parish that mimic what these other churches have to offer. These churches do praise and worship bands, projectors for music and scripture, and homily, as well as inspirational pictures. It all smacks of desperation, and Catholics should never be desperate.

It seems there is a difference in most opinions between projection of song lyrics and projection of scripture and Mass parts, which seems to be directly forbidden by the Church.
Personally, for what my opinion is worth, I think it is a terrible idea, not because projectors are evil, but because it detracts from the realities of Mass, and interrupts the exchange between God and man. There is a significant body of Catholic thinking that points to detachment as an important part of the spiritual life. At some point the sensory output becomes what might be called “inordinate”. I’m not certain where that line is, but it seems to me we are crossing the line.
Vatican 2 calls for full, conscious, and active participation. In what? The sacrifice of the Mass. Projections seem to detract from the active part of that equation. Feeding ourselves by passive video consumption panders to our culture, in which people already expect constant gratification of the senses, to be consuming information constantly in various ways.
We know that excessive video consumption is harmful to children, and adults for that matter. Why is that? And why should this form of consumerism be brought into the Mass?


#8

I can understand that it can drive you nuts! Especially the “themed” pictures. The good Lord gave us memory and imagination and will. We need to learn to use them!


#9

We have two very high tech screens that can be opened and closed, with digital projectors to go with them. No old school click it projectors. They project words on them before Mass begins to remind people to quietly sit and pray :stuck_out_tongue: rather than sit and talk loudly. Then it is used during baptisms, so we can all see the baby. It’s nice.

The only time music is projected on it is during our Life Teen mass, which has been thoroughly discussed in other threads lol. Yes, it’s contemporary music. We don’t purchase printed lyrics for each pew just for the LT mass. The other nine Masses a week use the missalette for the music.

I have to assume that the Bishop is ok with it,since he has said Mass at the church and is perfectly well aware that the projectors are there.


#10

Our church was recently renovated and all the missalettes were removed. It’s part of the parish plan to go paperless. So now we have two large projection screens operated by a volunteer from the school. It only projects the music.

As another poster said, I think there is something about not projecting the readings but music is allowed.


#11

Here in rural Australia, our churches have screens that show the text of the mass.

*The Lord be with you

And with your spirit*

I have no doubt that the reason is to educate the old-timers about the recent changes to the responses. Nobody saw the point of the changes, and there was much negative or, at least, ambivalent reaction to them.

They also display the words to the hymns, some of which are so modern and fast moving that you’d never pick up the words unless they were displayed. It also negates the need for hymnals.

At the end of the mass, they often display parish messages.


#12

And so what if they projected the text of the readings, gospel, everything? Wouldn’t that be more engaging than just listening? If you want to follow along, you can have the text in front of you in a paper Bible, but you can’t have it on a screen. Why?
I’m not advocating a full multi-media extravaganza; just the text on the screen.


#13

I would warn against this type of “keeping up with the Joneses” behavior in a parish, just because I’ve always seen it lead to the loss of catholicity at a parish level. In my experience, many people who advocate for this aren’t aware of many vital parts of the Catholic faith: the mystery of transubstantiation, lex orandi lex credendi, and the beauty of the liturgy.

I think a better response is to more aggressively evangelize the parishioners and outsiders. I’ve seen parishes successfully have catechesis programs in the parish about the Sacraments, and the Church Fathers, et c.; as well as having programmes for non-Catholic explaining the faith from the ground up in an engaging presentation given by the priest.

We need to realize that mega-churches don’t have it better. If they were truly smart, they’d copy us when we act out of true catholicity.


#14

usccb.org/bible/permissions/

A written agreement is required to reproduce the readings in worship leaflets, bulletins, parish hymnals, etc. on a regular basis.

I highly doubt they would grant permission for anything but pew missals.

There’s an important difference between pew missals and projection. The pew missals are individual. They don’t distract those who don’t use them. So for the Ordinary and probably also the Proper prayers, projectors are distracting for most. But they would certainly aid for the readings, lyrics, and some homilies. I tend to disagree with the USCCB that one shouldn’t follow along with the readings. A cynic might say that it’s a bad excuse for the real purpose of the prohibition; copyright licensing fees.

I have used projectors for lyrics for special Masses at locations where hymnals aren’t available. I can imagine projectors used to enhance homilies but can also imagine priests overusing them and turning homilies into PowerPoint presentations or phoning in their homilies with a video.


#15

Outside of De Musica Sacra, (see paragraph 73) - no. Not much

Well known Father McNamara, briefly touched on the question of Overhead Projectors and PowerPoint Displays.

A newletter item shared on the USCCB Blog -
The Sacred Liturgy in the Digital Age.

Within the Liturgy, people take for granted the use of sound amplification for spoken words, but see more and more the use of sophisticated amplification for vocal and instrumental music. In an effort to be flexible as well as “environmentally friendly,” some parishes make use of LCD projectors and screens to project texts and music in lieu of printed participation aids, which also creates the possibility of multimedia applications. Little guidance for the use of new technology has been given thus far, and liturgical norms do not specifically address many of the questions that have begun to emerge. In the Information Age, how does the Church transmit the Faith that is ageless?

usccbmedia.blogspot.com/2011/08/sacred-liturgy-in-digital-age.html


#16

Extremely annoying.


#17

In some countries, it’s actually cheaper to have a projector in parishes than buying Missalettes for the pews. Similar to the logic in Mexico that during Lent chicken is not considered “meat” because fish is much more expensive and not as accessible to the locals.


#18

The fact that most bishops seem to ignore or even violate De Musica Sacra is a statement of sorts.

[quote=clem456]It seems there is a difference in most opinions between projection of song lyrics and projection of scripture and Mass parts, which seems to be directly forbidden by the Church.
[/quote]

As I recall, the use of projectors at all is forbidden by De Musica Sacra - regardless of whether it was lyrics or scripture or pretty pictures.

[quote=clem456]Personally, for what my opinion is worth, I think it is a terrible idea, not because projectors are evil, but because it detracts from the realities of Mass, and interrupts the exchange between God and man. There is a significant body of Catholic thinking that points to detachment as an important part of the spiritual life. At some point the sensory output becomes what might be called “inordinate”. I’m not certain where that line is, but it seems to me we are crossing the line.
Vatican 2 calls for full, conscious, and active participation. In what? The sacrifice of the Mass. Projections seem to detract from the active part of that equation. Feeding ourselves by passive video consumption panders to our culture, in which people already expect constant gratification of the senses, to be consuming information constantly in various ways.
We know that excessive video consumption is harmful to children, and adults for that matter. Why is that? And why should this form of consumerism be brought into the Mass?
[/quote]

While I think you have a reasonable opinion, I don’t think your argument is well thought out - Why would your claims about the written word projected on a screen not apply similarly to the written word printed on a page.


#19

Great point! Time to come into the 21st Century.


#20

In the last two years overhead projectors seem to have completely taken over in Australia. It’s like a virus that has taken hold of the parish liturgists, and possibly a good number of the priests.

This is a bad development IMHO.

The main argument in favour of overheads is that people participate better in singing when their heads are raised and all looking towards the projected screen. That works well in my observation. Gone are the days when half the congregation buried their noses in hymnals and moved their lips without singing.

On the other hand:

  • We have the problem of visitors not being able to follow all of the Mass. Our parish does the sensible thing of keeping the projector off during most of the Eucharist Prayer (which is good), but then we have the regulars joining the responses and standing or kneeling at the right times, while visitors are confused.

  • small people sitting near the back, or people with eyesight difficulties, can’t see the projection.

  • The technological difficulty of presenting Mass has increased significantly. We now require someone to prepare the PowerPoints, and the commentators must be capable of running the show.

  • A consequence of the last point is that the liturgy is now in the hands of a few people, who are overworked. The slides look good, and give the appearance of effective leading, while the liturgy is actually deteriorating. Work that should be going into a better liturgy is going into PowerPoint.

  • Very few people now contribute music (playing, singing, leading), because to do so they have to get the lyrics to the slide producer during the week before Mass. In the past they would select their hymns before Mass, and the congregation used the hymnals. It is hard enough to find people who are willing to lead the singing, without giving them the extra task of preparing the overheads. So we use CD’s at most Masses, with the hymns (or “songs”) selected from a small pool of regular choices.

  • In short, there a lot of unintended negative consequences

I find this all very irritating because, two years ago, we made such a great step forward with the new translations, and the two sided sheets with the essential words. For the first time, most Catholic churches had a liturgy which was welcoming to visitors! (Those sheets have since been removed from my parish).

I am currently looking for a new parish, and my number one criteria is: “No overheads”.


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