Eucharist
Part 5 Eucharist in Special Circumstances

Chapter 58 Televised Eucharist

Preliminary Questions

Bibliography

Characteristics of the Media

Liturgical Concerns

To Think About

Preliminary Questions

Do you watch Mass on television? How frequently? Do you think that televised Eucharist is a benefit for the sick, the elderly, and shut ins?

What are the principle objections to televised Masses? (For example, if people are starving in Somalia do we help them by televising pictures of people eating in New York?)

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Bibliography

USCCB, Committee on the Liturgy, Guidelines for Televising the Liturgy  www.usccb.org/liturgy/current/tv.htm   These guidelines were approved by the National Conference of Catholic Bishops at its November 1997 Plenary Meeting and are offered as a resource for diocesan bishops and communication and liturgy personnel entrusted with the televising of liturgies.

Zukowski, Angela Ann. "Should the Mass be Televised" America 168:13, (April 17, 1993) pp 13-15.

Rahner, Karl. 1952.

Secretariat of the German Bishops' Conference. Guidelines for Mass Media Transmission of Liturgical Celebrations, Bonn 1989. Published as "Leitlinien für die mediale Übertragung von gottesdienstlichen Feiern" Arbeitshilfen. Vol 72, 1989.

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Characteristics of the Media

1.  Television is an intimate medium. (For example, it enables the viewer to be much closer to the altar and the sacred action than one would be in a parish church.)

2.  Televising Eucharist is not intended to be the "real thing". Every viewer knows that television gives us a vicarious experience, we are watching the experience of others.  When done well it should enable the viewer to participate in the experience vicariously.

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Liturgical Concerns

1.  Many liturgist feel that televised Eucharist emphasizes the passive role of the participants (watching Mass rather than celebrating Eucharist) and consequently they feel that Mass should not be televised because it fosters this pre-Vatican attitude.   The question may be asked if it is the best alternative for those who cannot participate in the parish celebration (e.g. the sick or home bound).  What happens to the meal dimension of the sacrifice?  (e.g. When people are starving in country X we do not send them television pictures of happy people eating so that they can have a vicarious experience of eating.  We send them real food.)

2.  If the Mass is to be televised many liturgist feel that it should be done in "real time", that is without cuts and editing.

3.  Many televised Masses are prerecorded. What is the theological significance of celebrating the Easter Liturgy on good Friday in a television studio so that it can be broadcasts the following Sunday?

4.  "Over sixty percent [of the diocese] indicate there is little or no direct collaboration with the diocesan liturgy office in planning the televised Mass." ( Zukowski, p 15)

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To Think About

State the principle arguments for and against televising the Eucharist.

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© Copyright: Tom Richstatter, Franciscan Province of St. John the Baptist, Cincinnati Ohio, Order of Friars Minor. All Rights Reserved.  This page was created by Fr. Thomas Richstatter, O.F.M.  Every effort has been, and is being made, to acknowledge sources when the ideas are not my own.  Any failure to comply with the United States Copyright Act (Title 17, United States Code) will be corrected immediately should I become aware of it.  This site was updated on 03/20/15 .  Your comments on this site are welcome at tomrichs@psci.net.