Zooming all over the Church by Nick Baty

An American musician has just completed his presentation on “Music for our Time”. It might be mid-afternoon in the UK, but composer Dan Schutte has risen early and skipped breakfast to be with us. Dan is in San Francisco and we’ve met thanks to Zoom. Like so many other organisations, the Society of St Gregory had to cancel its summer school last year and made the decision to move the 2021 meeting online. Those of us in education have become used to delivering presentations through Zoom, Skype or Teams over the last 15 months. Students responded well although some refused to switch on their cams and the muffled voices suggested they may still be under a duvet.


No surprise, therefore, that an American bishop has suggested using technology to bring catechesis into the modern age. Bishop Frank Caggiano of Bridgeport, Conneticut, believes that, by using digital platforms, we could connect with a more diverse church and reach out to those who don’t see themselves of our community. I’m reminded of Teresa: She’s a very lively 85-year-old so she didn’t much enjoy enforced isolation. Her grandchildren showed her how to use an iPad so Teresa was able to attend Mass as often as shemliked throughout lockdown.


It was so easy to go to Mass online, snug in cosy pyjamas. But what of the future? Should we keep streaming for those who can’t attend in person? And will that discourage those of us who are fit, from jumping in the car and driving across town every Sunday morning. In short, can we celebrate liturgy online?


The Internet is throwing up quite a few celebrity Catholics at the moment. A quick Google search shows that Jack Grealish met his girlfriend at a Catholic High School. Dig a little deeper and discover the Colleen Rooney won’t consider divorcing the reportedly wandering Wayne because of her Catholic beliefs. And now Britney Spears seems to have joined The Church Militant. This could be genuine. It could be a publicity stunt. But, Britney, some of us take this stuff seriously, you know.

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Our young people receive their academic results this week. And they've had a rough time.​ No generation has experienced such disruption since War World 2. Whether there are tears or smiles, they'll probably always be known as the Covid generation.