To prevent new coronaviruses, not only the Korean Catholic Church but also the Vatican has ceased all Masses. Pope Francis, says Mass daily without believers, broadcast live on the Internet for the first time. A priest writing in the Eyes of The Believer Column of the Catholic Times gives his ideas on TV Masses.
In Korean churches, the number of Internet YouTube channel Mass inquiries has increased tremendously, and the weekly broadcast Mass from the Catholic Peace Broadcasting TV is on the rise from 3 to 5 times, and the weekly broadcast Mass has increased 10 times. Compared to the days of the past, when only Christmas or the Easter Mass were celebrated by the Pope. We have a big change.
The main audience of TV Mass is composed of believers. Among the believers, the elderly, the sick, pregnant women, and those who are unable to participate in Mass due to travel or business. Of course, TV Mass viewers can actively participate in the liturgy of the Word, but cannot receive Holy Communion. It's not the same as attending Mass in church but the second-best.
TV Mass has the effect of conditionally substituting for the obligation of attending Sunday Mass but there are other advantages. First, provide opportunities for evangelization, directly or indirectly. TV Mass plays an important role in encouraging the religious life of Catholics belonging to the community, mission stations, various groups, foreign migrants, etc. Also, TV Mass contributes to the evangelization of the culture by informing society that the Catholic Church exists in this culture impregnated with materialism and individualism.
As a second advantage, it makes the Mass more intimate; the viewers see the actions of the priest at the altar from different angles and closer than would be the case in church. The third advantage is that TV Mass helps spiritual life. As individualism becomes more prevalent, young married people, elderly people living alone, those disconnected from their neighbors, many are experiencing human alienation, consequently, the deeper need for spirituality to find meaning, to bring inner calm. In this situation, TV Mass can fill one's spiritual thirst and remind the viewer they are members of a community of faith. The church should develop and expand these TV Masses in a way that makes them more effective.
As a pastor of a community, the writer mentions how he notices over time that the numbers attending Mass continue to decrease. The increase in apathy plays a part, but also travel, weekend leisure, or work, aging, etc. However, according to a survey conducted by the US Pew Research Center in 2019, Korea's smartphone penetration rate was 95%, ranking first in the world. In a situation where the majority of people spend a day with their smartphones, it would be good to emphasize the benefits of religious life through more active promotion and use of TV Masses.
God works through the media. In the Encyclical Communio et Progressio: The Church sees the media as 'gifts of God' by His providential design, unite men in brotherhood and so help them to cooperate with His plan for their salvation. "It is the mission of those with responsible positions in the Church to announce without fail the full truth by the means of social communication, to give a true picture of the Church and her life. Since the media are often the only channels of information that exist between the Church and the world, a failure to use them amounts to "burying the talent given by God" (#123).
Therefore, the church needs a more active attitude towards the media suitable for mission and ministry. God's grace comes in many ways. Those who watch TV Masses will be open to grace. Sometimes, comforted, renewing one's identity as a believer, and the feeling of belonging to the church community.