(Catholic Review) How should we address cellphones in worship?

Entire families navigate their smartphones while sharing meals at restaurants. Students text in class. Parents take phone calls at their children’s sporting events and plays.

It’s no surprise that cellphones affect even church.

It has become common for parishes to place blurbs in their bulletins about silencing cellphones and for lectors to make announcements about it before liturgies, reminding parishioners they’re in a place of worship.

Read it all.


Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, --Social Networking, Blogging & the Internet, Children, Ethics / Moral Theology, Marriage & Family, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Religion & Culture, Science & Technology, Teens / Youth, Theology

7 comments on “(Catholic Review) How should we address cellphones in worship?

  1. Terry Tee says:

    If a phone rings during Mass, then, unless I am in the Eucharistic Prayer, my response is to stop and stay silent until it stops ringing. I do not look up. I do not want to identify the miscreant. But the silence usually conveys the message. On occasion the same phone can ring three times in a row while the hapless owner struggles to silence it. The broader, underlying concern in the article here is however the strange lack of communication. Yes, phones enhance communication. But face to face talk diminishes. Many commentators these days are alarmed at the inarticulacy of teenagers. Is it surprising given the amount of time they spend staring at a screen?

  2. Emerson Champion says:

    We do a welcome, then [i]brief[/i] announcements before the start of the service. At the end of the announcements, I politely ask that everyone silence or turn off [i]all[/i] their electronic devices and to “prepare our hearts for worship,” and the service begins after an appropriate amount of silence. This has been very effective in eliminating ringing cellphones and other electronic distractions.

  3. Catholic Mom says:

    One time a couple years ago in our church there were three priests on the altar (I don’t remember the occasion). A cellphone started ringing. Everyone looked around. It was one of the priests (not the celebrant). He silenced it. 🙂

  4. Jim the Puritan says:

    We Presbyterians have already addressed this:



  5. Jim the Puritan says:

    I would mention that a LOT of people now have a Bible app on their smartphones, and so it is not unusual in our church for many folks to be looking at the Bible passage on their phones during the sermon. (We are all encouraged to bring our Bibles to church.)

  6. IchabodKunkleberry says:

    Several years ago while at Mass, a bit of quiet time between prayers was interrupted by the ring of someone’s cell phone. The owner was rather irate at being called and said, in something more than a stage whisper, “I’m in church !” It was easily heard by the entire congregation.

  7. Jim the Puritan says:

    It goes both ways. Just this past weekend I had a client who wanted the ability to call me at church on Sunday morning (they were having a meeting that morning to discuss a case I represented him on). I said no, that I keep my phone turned off Sunday mornings. Wasn’t happy with that response but didn’t push it further.