The Armchair Liturgist: eBooks at Mass

With a side theme of the recent discussion at PrayTell about the Book of the Chair, I was surprised this topic never came up for the purple armchair: electronic books for Mass, Lectionary, Missal, and even music. What do you think: thumbs up, thumbs down, or thumbs swiping across the screen of a tablet?

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in the Pacific Northwest, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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2 Responses to The Armchair Liturgist: eBooks at Mass

  1. Liam says:

    The codex-ness of the Book of the Gospels is bound (pun intended) with its symbology. The Lectionary benefits from the association being kept in a similar medium.

    A well made book will survive being dropped on a hard floor and its battery won’t die. For that reason, I expect the use of tablets for the Missal would not be encouraged: Mass only gets “stopped” for the gravest of reasons, and once the Institution Narrative of the anaphora begins, there is a grave obligation to complete it….

    As for musicians in choir, tablets might be helpful in certain contexts. But you have accessibility issues (there are still many people who don’t know how to use tablets and for whom cost is an obstacle) to consider.

    Imagine all that blue light at the Easter Vigil…

    The implied value in some commentary of showing the Church is keeping up with the times, in so many words, does not rank very high in my book…er….tablet.

  2. Jen says:

    Not sure about Mass, although it would be useful for some–white background/black text is difficult to read, and text can be easily enlarged on a tablet. I think it would make more sense for missals to be in ebook form. (Especially for older rites. Then again publishers *do* like to make money on reprints of those missals.)

    My big wish is that various forms of the Liturgy of the Hours were available as ebooks. Big, multi-volume books are nice to hold, but impractical for people who travel frequently. My copy of the breviarium monasticum is nice, but those books are long out of print and won’t last forever. I’d love to have a digital copy. (Or the modernized version, Benedictine Daily Prayer. I’ve asked the publisher, but they don’t seem interested in producing an ebook, either.)

    Some sort of official, Divine Office app would be nice, too. Once the texts are accessible to the program, it wouldn’t be hard to switch between forms/rites/places, either. (I’m not a fan of the ICEL version.) iBreviary is cool, but it’s far from complete. There’s also an online Divine Office thing with older rites, but it’s version of the breviarium monasticum is…an interpretation (to put it nicely) of the real thing.

    I’d love to scan my copy of the breviarium monasticum, but most book scanning services need to cut the covers off. The ones that don’t are prohibitively expensive.

    tl;dr version: Books are nice. It would also be nice if there was an ebook or current app for the Divine Office.

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