Reasons for your church to ditch the projector screen
  • JesJes
    Posts: 576
    1. It averts the eyes from the centre/tabernacle or diverts prayers from the dead towards memories of their lives during a funeral service.
    2. It is never the right font or size text for the ENTIRE congregation.
    3. Sheet music looks awful and pixelated on it.
    4. Laptop ministry is a ridiculous term that should never apply to someone in liturgy... ever.
    5. Technology is unreliable and breaks more readily than hymnals.
    6. Anybody could take control of that thing.
    7. It's unsightly.
    8. It's one step away from recorded music in the liturgy.
    9. People start to expect you'll supply the prayers of the mass on it and they will not commit their prayers to memory.
    10. If the organist has to think about remembering her USB on a Sunday then it will most likely be forgotten and then nobody will be in possession of the words.

    Okay, three guesses which reason I learned about today.
    I hate projector screens in Churches. I am going to cause damage to one someday.

    Hold me back next time I see the lamp light up. Seriously.
    If only they didn't sit so high. I would be there with a cricket bat.

    Perhaps I'll project my thoughts against projector screens up onto one someday.
    I have 600 hymnals sitting in my wardrobe... it seems only Mr. Tumnus is getting use out of them unless my unpaired socks really enjoy singing.
    Every single time I see and hear the screeching blowing sound as the screens turn on. I feel the writhing within start.
    I cannot criticise my current superior, in his defence it was not his doing... though I cannot help but wonder who allowed this to happen to such a building.

    Tips to avoid a projector screen.
    Get a young person to say projector screens are daggy.
    Put a ginormous painting of the divine mercy on the blank wall that would otherwise be used for projection.
    Use the free 600 hymnals I'm willing to give out.
    Don't pay the power bill in your church for an extended period of time. (Who needs florescent lights in a Church when you can have candles anyway?)

    Perhaps I am an old soul but I love the little things.
    Books, hymnals, clean walls, analogue clocks, clothing with a full sleeve, tracker action...
    My young brother's all time favourite activity to do as a young tacker was to upon the end of mass slam his hymnal shut so it blew air into his face and move his fringe hairs.

    Ah, I just need one power outage to occur during mass and then I am freed of such nonsense.
  • Don't pay the power bill in your church for an extended period of time.

    Who pumps the bellows on your organ?

    And if sheet music looks pixellated, you're doing the capture wrong.
    Thanked by 1Jes
  • Carol
    Posts: 856
    What does "daggy" mean?
    Thanked by 2mmeladirectress Jes
  • MarkB
    Posts: 1,041
  • I'm not a fan of projecting anything in the church.

    What about the human voice? Microphones are from Gehenna.

    I'm sure I've mentioned elsewhere on this forum my family's horror story involving a projection screen and our pastor's attempt at photo-shopping a picture of Michelangelo's David which went horribly wrong - and let to a lot of strange compliments after the sermon.

    People in the congregation are zombies enough without having the added distraction of never having to open a book and find something for themselves. There's only "so easy" you can make Mass before you begin to wonder what's the point of going anyway. (And yes, I know, there IS a point.)
    Thanked by 3CharlesW francis Jes
  • Jes,

    I think you're absolutely right when you say that screens distract from what ought to be focus of our attention.

    The other reasons, valid though they are, are ancillary to this primary truth.
  • I abhor projectors in church and am saddened to know they are used at masses. Simply more dumbing down. Fortunately, I have never had to worry about one at my parish.
    Thanked by 2CHGiffen rich_enough

  • De musica sacra (1958):
    73. Usus machinarum pro imaginibus proiciendis, praesertim vero earum quas « cinematographicas » vocant, sive proiectiones « mutae » sint sive « sonorae » in ecclesiis, quacumque de causa quamvis pia, religiosa aut benefica, strictissime vetatur.

    73. The use of any kind of projector, and particularly movie projectors, with or without sound track, is strictly forbidden in church for any reason, even if it be for a pious, religious, or charitable cause.

  • Richard MixRichard Mix
    Posts: 2,780
    What about [projecting] the human voice?

    Last night we braved the Bay Area smoke to hear some wonderful voce bianca work by Anne Hege in Feldman's I met Heine on the Rue Fustenburg, being unwilling to wait for the movie. I had to take great exception to the program notes, though: "the dynamic indication for this piece is "Very Quiet" (allowing the rich harmonic and timbral qualities to be heard, which are lost when the music is 'projected' at louder volumes)".
  • I mean, Musica Sacra 73 is the only reason we need - the other stuff is just window dressing, let's be honest.

    Not that anyone actually bothers to listen to Rome anyways...
  • >> Who needs florescent lights in a Church when you can have candles anyway?

    I love this
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 11,956
    We have never in our 100+ year history had a projection screen.
    Thanked by 2mmeladirectress Jes
  • The Bishop of my diocese had a projection screen hauled out in front of the altar for mass one Sunday so the congregation could be "treated" to his video promoting the Fruitful Harvest Diocesan Campaign. And this was at the Cathedral, mind you. The Prince of our diocese couldn't even be bothered to pester us for money in person. I only heard about this second-hand, because if I had been there, I would've been sure to gladly donate, at projectile speed, any "fruitful harvest" (especially of the kind in various states of decay) at the screen.
  • Stimson lol
  • What would happen if there were a list (here) of reasons your parish should keep its screens?
  • JesJes
    Posts: 576
    Ok so @Carol daggy means "uncool" it comes from the term daglock which is the bit of excrement hanging from the back of the sheep, we use it as an endearing term for someone uncool. An example of use might include someone who has their clothing put on with the tag hanging out, one might adjust their collar and then call them a "tag dag." (Which you'd only do if you were their mate.) Or perhaps you have a younger brother that puts on jeans that look like mum jeans so you might say "you dag, what you doing wearing those mum jeans?" The insult is more paired to the thing and not the person so it is not endearing to call the screens daggy but it would be endearing to call a parish daggy because they use a projector screen. But you've raised a vital point to me... I dont just think projector screens are daggy I think they are abhorrent.

    Projector screen = equivalent of an entire congregation in mum jeans = unsightly.

    @PaxMelodious I've had a little boy pump the pipe organ for liturgy before. He wore a special outfit to do it. Very cute. It was admittedly a much smaller pipe organ than the one I currently play only single manual. He would have been maybe age 8 or so.
    @mmeladirectress that's my favourite line too.
    @JonathanKK thank you!!! I will of course send this to my priest ASAP!

    ☆☆☆☆☆ regarding the projectile comment @StimsonInRehab I'd do the same. Currently my starting mission has more to do with the electronic keyboard that is coupled to the organ... easy fix... pair of scissors to the MIDI cable would do it... ah but the dishonesty I'd have to live with... other alternative is wait for the ones who want it to die... not long now...
    Thanked by 2CHGiffen Carol
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 11,956
    Stimson, we haven't had the screen. We have been treated to a cd of the bishop asking for money. The last time, the sound feed from the front wasn't working in the loft, so we didn't hear most of it. No one complained.
    Thanked by 1StimsonInRehab
  • francis
    Posts: 10,709
    We have had the vids appealing for funds. Makes no dif. Only 17% of the Church ever gives. And now with the scandal it will be dropping even lower.
    Thanked by 2StimsonInRehab Carol
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 11,956
    That's entirely possible, Francis.
  • canadashcanadash
    Posts: 1,501
    A local church has a screen. Every time it goes down (and this is often) it covers the statue of Our Lady. My husband was at this parish for Mass a couple of weeks ago and the priest had a power point of his homily. The last time I was there they projected all of the ordinary on it, even the "Amen." sigh....

  • Chaswjd
    Posts: 264
    One would think that the best i.e. least bad use of such a screen would be to project pictures of great art on it. In that way a parish could open up the treasury of great religious art more fully. But to project the responses . . .
  • TCJ
    Posts: 977
    Projection screens are also known as "rude screens".
  • ViolaViola
    Posts: 403
    Well, devil's advocate posting here; the powers-that-be at our place have been talking about getting some. I had to concede that some of their reasoning was sort of compelling.
    They said: our present hymn book is 20 years old, is overburdened with happy-clappy hymns, and awful things like the 'Ash Grove Gloria'. None of its Mass music has the revised translation, and such traditional hymns as it does contain have been heavily edited with due regard for political correctness. No new hymnbook has everything we want and will have a lot that we don't want, whereas we would control what we put on the screens, which will be discreet and fold away somehow when not in use. They will be able to cope with our solemn Mass at 11 am, the charismatics at 6 30pm and everything in between. Also people will have their heads up looking at the screens rather than burying their faces in the hymnbooks. Those who bother to pick up a hymnbook at all.
    Last time I was at St Stephen's in Vienna I noticed they had small screens, so unobtrusive I didn't notice them at first. (So what's the point? I hear people say).
    Having said all that, it was ultimately decided that we can't afford screens OR new hymnbooks, so no change for now.
  • francis
    Posts: 10,709
    dear "devils advocate"

    hymnbooks are a vast savings over ANY missalette subscription.... is that what you have now?

    ps... never be a 'devils advocate', no matter how logical... he is out to devour souls... one is TOO MANY!!! Just call yourself an 'alternative opinion'... rather than give ANY credit to the enemy.
    Thanked by 1Viola
  • Why does anyone need a missalette subscription. People are supposed to be listening to the word, not reading it individually.
  • canadashcanadash
    Posts: 1,501
    @PaxMelodious: I know you are right, but I find that reading along is very helpful. It is strange that I'm a musician, yet, I'm a visual learner. Sometimes I truly do not understand what is being read, even though I know the readings and have heard them a thousand times before. Maybe I'm distracted, or just dumb? But if I can read along it all falls into place for me.
    Thanked by 3Elmar CharlesW Carol
  • I also agree that in an ideal world, people should be listening to the word rather than reading it. But in our imperfect reality, there are reasons this doesn't always work. Perhaps the person speaking doesn't enunciate well, or has a thick accent, or speaks too quickly. Perhaps the sound system provides adequate amplification for the people in the fourth pew but not the eleventh. In our parish there are actually printed copies of the homily available at the entrance along with the bulletin, and I'm surprised how many people pick up a copy and follow along as the pastor delivers it. To each his own, I guess.
    Thanked by 2mattebery Carol
  • Kevin,

    In an ideal world, the Epistle and Gospel would be sung rather than spoken, there would be one canon, the Epistle and Gospel would rotate on a one year cycle, and the accented vernacular would be no impediment.
    Thanked by 2Kevin814 cesarfranck
  • Oh.... that's already the situation at a High or Solemn High Mass in one form intended only for the rigid who might be mentally ill, especially if they're young......
  • Elmar
    Posts: 503
    Not to mention that the participation of the congregation does not necessarily, and certainly did not in the past, include understanding the Latin texts!
    This may be different in today's traditional communities, but the issue must not be neglected if one wants the TLM to become more widespread again.

    Example: in our parish, there is a (low, weekday) TLM Mass every week, and there is a schola that sings the NO Latin Mass twice a month, both since ca. 2010. Also Latin ordinaria are commonplace in Sunday Mass and have always been.
    Although our pastor was "dreaming" of a High TLM for years, he never took action to get at least the schola 'on board', let alone the choir. There may be many other reasons, but I believe that the 'active participation' question is a central one.

    I fully agree that screens are a distraction - but so is reading along the translation of the Mass texts, while repeating the readings aloud in the vernacular interrupts the liturgical flow of the High Mass.

    BTW we do not have screens. Our parish used missalettes until a few years ago, and now has home-made hymnals plus printed readings.
    Thanked by 1canadash
  • ViolaViola
    Posts: 403
    Home made hymnals sound appealing. We don't use missalettes, too much wasted paper.
    Was it a huge amount of work to produce your own hymnals, Elmar? Are they the sort you can update as you see fit?
  • Elmar
    Posts: 503
    To be fair, it wasn't me who produced our hymnal; it was our director of music basically on his own. Our pastor had decided to stop with the missalettes for reason of both cost and its selection of hymns. After some experimentation with his hymn (text only!) selections for Advent and Lent, our music director had enough of it - and was 'allowed' to extend it to a real hymnal, which he did. It was an AWFUL LOT of work and (as far as I know) not really adequately paid for.

    There are vague plans to upgrade the first edition for the whole parish cluster, but unfortunately the financial council doesn't have music as a high priority.
    Thanked by 1Viola
  • JesJes
    Posts: 576
    I legit have 600 hymnals gathering dust. Nobody wants them anymore because "we have a screen!"
  • irishtenoririshtenor
    Posts: 1,306
    Screens...I'm sorry, but there is no greater evidence (perhaps I'm overstating it, but let it stand for now) for diabolical disorientation than otherwise (reasonably) sensible, Christian people deciding to put projection screens up for permanent use in a sacred space, with no regard for the lack of decorum or distraction from the holiest action taking place in the world in the sanctuary.
    Thanked by 1hilluminar
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 9,182
    If the architecture is more shopping mall than sanctuary, the screens may actually look as though they fit in, alas.
  • If the architecture is more shopping mall than sanctuary,

    one should remodel, so that this is no longer true.
    Thanked by 1Jes
  • Alas, there have been stirrings in my parish's pastoral committee to implement projectors and screens to help aid the congregation's understanding and participation of the parts of the Mass. I'm almost certain this is one of those ideas that gets idly tossed out at a committee meeting and approved solely on its wow factor, without considering any of the repercussions.

    We have no A/V ministry, and nowhere tasteful to place projector screens in our sanctuary. I doubt they've considered that the blank wall space in the front and back of our sanctuary are meant to be potential locations to place a real pipe organ once our electronic one eventually gives out.

    I've found this statement from the USCCB's Committee on Divine Worship with regards to projectors and screens:

    The current policy of the Committee on Divine Worship is that permission is not granted to project readings and liturgical texts on screens during the liturgy. The bishops have the perspective that since so many people spend much of their time looking at screens, the Sacred Liturgy ought to be a prayerful break from that experience. The bishops also believe that screens are a distraction from what is actually taking place in the liturgy.
    (Excerpted from the July–August 2021 Newsletter of the Committee on Divine Worship)

    Do you think this would be sufficient reason for them to reconsider their quest to implement screens and projectors?
    Thanked by 1Bri
  • MarkB
    Posts: 1,041
    Do you think this would be sufficient reason for them to reconsider their quest to implement screens and projectors?

    If the desire for the screens is to project Mass texts, then yes.

    Nearly all the churches I see that have screens use them to project song lyrics (without musical notation). That's not discouraged nor prohibited by the USCCB.

    If you already have hymnals or printed sheets with music for the congregation, and if nearly all your repertoire for the assembly is provided in those sources, then screens would be superfluous and not worth the expense. They wouldn't increase "participation" much, if at all, because musical notation wouldn't be provided on the screens unless you created slides with staves and notes along with lyrics.

    If the desire for screens is to help parishioners understand and participate in the Mass, that can be addressed by having missalettes and a series of catechetical evenings presented by the pastor about the Mass or by a series of homilies in which the priests explain about the Mass.

    Disclaimer: my parish has projection screens, and I create slides with lyrics and music on them for songs, hymns and chants that aren't in the hymnal. I was ambivalent about the screens at first, but I've since come to view them favorably because they permit me to include chant and other repertoire (not in the OCP hymnal) in the music at Mass and encourage the assembly to sing along with the choir. Sample Communion antiphon chant for this Sunday:

    1672 x 1254 - 155K
  • As far as I understand the committee's intentions, the projectors and screens were slated to be used as teaching tools to project anything from the Mass texts to "visual aids".

    I will admit I'm conflicted on the matter, because I would love to be able to project the proper antiphons and texts for the choral works we sing not found in our hymnal.

    But in my parish's particular case I feel those benefits are outweighed by the costs, literally and figuratively. Congregational singing is the best it has been in the ten years I've been at my parish, and I'm not sure I want to rock the boat by making any big changes to our congregational singing practices. Our parish architecture is on the more traditional side, and I can't envision any way to place screens in a way that wouldn't clash with the overall architecture of the building. I can't imagine fitting startup costs and ongoing maintenance of acquiring and setting up projectors and screens into the parish budget, let alone paying someone trained in liturgy to operate the equipment and slides.

    I agree with your suggestions on alternatives to building greater understanding and participation of the Mass. I was going to suggest offering a 30-minute lecture series before each mass in our church's social hall (which is already equipped with a projector system), wherein each week we delve into a part of the Mass.

    I hope I didn't offend anyone who currently uses screens at their parish liturgies. I merely meant to say I feel that projectors wouldn't benefit my parish and I want to make sure my arguments against implementing them are reasonable and solid before I approach the pastoral committee.
  • bhcordovabhcordova
    Posts: 1,156
    Just tell the members of the committee wanting the projector screes 'How very Protestant of you'!
    Thanked by 1hilluminar
  • Most of our parishioners at 8am and 10am masses are very much opposed to screens/video aids and they are not used in "church proper." The 5pm Sunday Family Mass is held in parish hall and a screen is only "worship aid" used. Thus, most are HAPPY at morning masses or HAPPY CLAPPY at family service. Oddly, several families attend one of morning traditional services and return for family service.
  • Reval
    Posts: 181
    Could you make a point that the screens don't allow room to post the music notes?
  • Could you make a point that the screens don't allow room to post the music notes?

    You could, but it would be incorrect. There is room for a clear melody line, at least, it's just more work to put it into on-screen format.
  • JesJes
    Posts: 576
    Another reason...

    As an organist who is singing... all my fingers, both my feet and my voice are busy working... to also have to press the button on a temperamental remote so your stupid screen can project your stupid "hymn" lyrics that are about "me, myself and I" ... because none of you are willing to press the space bar cos it is embarrassing to get it wrong... well... I would need to be an octopus!