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Thou Shalt Not Take Selfies and Pics In Church!

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Our selfie, cellphone-driven world has made no place sacred from the flash or click of a camera. And that includes churches and houses of worship.  Recently, Pope Francis put his put foot down and implored that cellphones be put down, and the sanctity of holy services be held up instead.

“This is a bad thing,” he said during one of his weekly general audiences at St. Peter’s Square in Vatican City. “It makes me very sad when I celebrate Mass here in the Square or in the Basilica and I see many cellphones raised,” the pope said, according to a translation by Vatican Radio. “And it’s not only the faithful, but also many priests and bishops.”

The Catholic News Service said on Twitter that the pope sounded “exasperated.” “Please!” the pope implored. “Mass is not a show!”

The pointed remarks, reportedly off-the-cuff, drew applause. And they generally received favorable coverage in the Catholic press.

The Catholic News Agency, on Twitter, said: “The pope had something to get off his chest during his general audience today; he is tired of seeing so many phones out during Mass.”

Cells and Selfies Here in The U.S. and In Black Churches

Here in the U.S. we as Black people also have similar anticipated experiences, much as those who travel as far as to Italy to visit the Vatican. But our “quasi-Vatican” experiences are a bit different. Instead, we look forward to visiting mega churches everywhere from Atlanta to New York, Los Angeles to Washington DC.

Some churches explicitly announce: TURN CELL PHONES OFF. NO PICTURES ALLOWED.

Yet, at the end-of-service, people line up to take a picture with the Pastor and to take group selfies. In many cases, people are visiting from out-of-town and want to share, proof positive, that they attended a church. And that can mean a major church to one as small as the first church that still stands that their family has attended for generations.

Does Picture Taking Dilute Sanctity? What Do You Think?

The question applies to us no matter the size of our house of worship: Does picture-taking dilute sanctity? Does it diminish the holiness of worship experiences and our houses of worship? 

It is a question worth pondering. In the case of The Pope, it has grown beyond reason and is indeed diminishing sanctity.

How do you feel? Participate in our survey? Send us your comments:

Should cellphones and picture-taking be allowed during church services?

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