The Chairman's blog
I am always relieved at First Holy Communions when an announcement is made beforehand that photographs are not permitted during the Mass. All too often, when no announcement is made, an unholy scrum develops when Holy Communion is about to be given, of uncles and aunts and siblings and cousins and heaven knows who else, jostling to take a photo of the first holy Communicant.It can be a disgraceful distraction for the child - I have even seen a child turn towards the camera and smile at the point of receiving Holy Communion. The idiot photographer is more to be blamed than the child.It is enough for photos of the special day to be taken after Mass.I am accustomed to the tomfoolery of taking photos at novus ordo First Holy Communion Masses. I am astonished that anyone would take such a photo at a traditional Latin Mass, let alone publish it. It is disrespectful.
I agree with Cathy. In fact, I'd go further and say photography at Masses and liturgical celebrations in general is disrespectful. Firstly, I am trying to pray, and people moving up and down the isle clicking away, shutters going off, or, worse still, flashes going off, is horribly distracting from this end. Secondly, aren't we attending one of the most holy thing on Earth? Surely we should be deeply recollected and on our knees in awe rather than thinking about aperture adjustments and Instagram. Cameras, just like chatting in church, is another indicator/contributor of/to a loss of faith in my opinion. It detracts from the idea that we are in an incredibly sacred place. If we think of the Holy of Holies and who was permitted to look inside there, and if we think of the traditions of the Eastern Rites, where curtains are drawn and screens erected, this should help put it into context.I partly agree that photography can be an evangelical tool. But on the other hand it erodes the sense of mystery, rather like the vernacular, so perhaps it is not. If we must have it, a telephoto lens from the choir loft is enough in my opinion.
Liturgical photography needs to be done with discretion, but it has been an enormously powerful means of evangelisation, and in particular spreading the word about the TLM. Many in a traddy congregation will have first seen it in photographs.
That photo is the sweetest thing I've seen in a long time, not being able to go to the TLM any more. I've always loved First Communion pics. Thank you.
Thank you, Ousanna. Cathy, it is true that intrusive photography can be distracting. It wasn't intrusive, in this case, and there was only one photographer - me. I can't speak for everyone present but it certainly was nothing like the situations you describe. Photography of the liturgy, an extension of paintings of the liturgy, is an indispensable part of the Church's evangelisation through beauty. What could and perhaps should be banned is the use of flashes and 'beep' sounds.
I must agree with Dr Shaw.
A silent photo with a zoom lens, no doubt from behind a pillar at the side distracts no-one but gives thousands a chance to see the beautiful liturgy. These photos are much appreciated.