Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Have mercy on them O Lord!

I am talking about the mobile phone user who receives a call at a critical moment during Holy Mass (every moment is critical, of course).

It has never happened to me (DG) but it's an issue that gives me nightmares just fantasising about hearing that familiar ring tone on sacred ground.

Recently, at the SSPX Chapel in Bristol, just as the priest was about to commence his sermon, the ringtones rang out.
The congregation went into spasm, there was a brief second where all thought that, it was their mobile that was polluting the air and then....an almost audible sigh of relief as they collectively realised that it was not their phone....and then, the furtive (and not so furtive) glances around to see the offending culprit.

It was a young woman, identified because she was the only one in church frantically throwing the contents of her rather large handbag onto the floor.

And then....horror! It rang again.

The priest paused mid flow and with a gentle and patient smile, waited.

What every Catholic woman wants - a bag organiser
complete with mobile phone pocket

Just as he recommenced so the phone range for a third time. By now the young woman was a whirlwind of arms and objects as she flung them out of her bag.

Silence. The priest began again only for the phone to ring yet again; why do women carry the contents of several wardrobes in their handbags? One of life's major questions.

By now, foam was appearing at the woman's mouth and her eyes were rolling in her head. It gave a final defiant ring before she triumphantly grasped it and strangled the life out of it.

Now I am not a saintly person (no, really, despite what you may think) but I felt nothing but pity for that young woman.

She suffered intensely for perhaps forty or fifty seconds that must have appeared to her (and to the priest) like forty or fifty minutes.

The degree of her suffering was great and went some way towards reparation for forgetting to turn her mobile off.

There should really be a prayer of forgiveness for those that transgress and leave their phones switched on in church.

I am considering putting that priest's cause forward for canonisation.

Photo: Bagatidy


  1. Then there is the story of the priest who called out from the pulpit: "Go ahead, answer it! Ask them why they aren't here at Mass!"

  2. Excellent Mac....not your PP I guess?

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  4. Thank you, Richard! A post that made me experience a whole range of emotions! LOL.

    Phones go off in London churches all the time - OF and EF Masses! I have noticed, though, that this tends not to happen if one of the servers / sacristans comes out beforehand and asks everyone to switch off their phones (as if we were at the cinema - where, needless to say, I am yet to hear a phone go off!). I went to St James's Spanish Place on Sunday and one of the servers there came out before Mass to instruct the congregation on how to receive communion and also to ask us (twice) to make sure all our phones were "off or on silent". Within seconds there was a cacophony of rings, buzzes, bells and bleeps, as everyone duly switched off their mobiles (which, I assume, they would otherwise have just left on) - it sounded like an orchestra before a concert, but this time in reverse! The result: a silent, reverent, and undisturbed Mass with hardly, if any, distractions. I once suggested to a priest friend that there should be a new ritual in the Roman Rite, the 'pre-Mass switching off of the mobile phone' - LOL.

  5. Did you not think, after the third time, that you should have stopped phoning her? ;-)

  6. Thank you Dylan and thank you Malvenu.....even I would not be so cruel.

  7. What shall I say of the eejit doing the reading at mass a couple of weeks ago whose mobile received a text alert?


  8. One Mass I was at, the phone rang right at the Consecration, playing Handel's "Hallelujah" chorus. I wasn't sure whether to be angry or amused or inspired!

  9. It happened at my local O.F. Mass during homily!!!!!
    My phone has been on silent ever since.

    Reason of call?
    My son to say " It's a boy"!

    That Priest is nominated for canonization by my husband and I anyway, he raises the bar certainly, which may irritate a few parishioners but we think he is " The Biz". When one has been in the desert one appreciates pure spring water without flavourings or spirits added, don't you think?

  10. They installed mobile phone spammers in our Church to curtail repeat offenders and those with deficient memory...