A Conundrum

Father Sebastian McDonald, C.P.
Father Sebastian McDonald, C.P.

Thanks to the I-phone or smart phone one can have instant access to various religious practices, such as the mass, the celebration of which can, in this way, be found quickly and easily. One can “tune-in” to mass (or, for that matter, to various devotions such as a novena, the rosary, the stations of the cross, a sermon, a religious discussion, etc.) for instance, practically anywhere/anytime. How are we to regard this? Does the ease with which we can do this amount to a terrific new asset or advantage now made available to us, anywhere, any time? Are we to regard it as yet another way of drawing closer to God? Does this put us at an incomparable advantage over previous generations that were deprived of such instantaneous contact with things religious, even with God? Think of small religious groupings of people centuries ago who had to wait for weeks or months for an itinerant priest/preacher to make the rounds to one’s village so that a religious service could be provided? Shouldn’t serious consideration be given to the availability of such electronic devices to “count as” a suitable way of fulfilling one’s religious duties, like going to church on Sunday? Or maybe even going to confession? Why could not this serve as a substitution for personal presence at a religious service, perhaps while biking in the park? Or, should we simply regard this as an “add on”, but not “in place of”, the real thing? Or, does it “all depend”? Might God possibly hold us accountable for not taking advantage of this new advantage?