Our new assistant pastor sometimes uses his iPad on the altar instead of the Book. This seems strange to me. Is it allowed?
You are not alone in thinking it strange. It is one of those new things on the scene that seem odd in the context of an ancient liturgy. To most I have discussed this with, the iPad is not ready for prime time, in its current form, for liturgical use.
Indeed, the Bishops of New Zealand recently clarified that while the iPad may have many good uses, for the Liturgy, the priest should stick with the liturgical books. New Zealand’s bishops are praising the usefulness of the iPad and other such electronic devices, but clarifying that for the liturgy, it’s important to stick to the book. They wrote: All faiths have sacred books which are reserved for those rituals and activities which are at the heart of the faith. The Catholic Church is no different, and the Roman Missal is one of our sacred books, and its physical form is an indicator of its special role in our worship. Based on this, they go on to say that electronic devices may not be used by the priest at the liturgy, in place of the sacred books.
One can envision a time in the future when sacred books may take on electronic form, just as current printed books replaced ancient handwritten scrolls, and paper replaced parchment and lambskins. But now is not that time.
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