ipadMy latest article for National Catholic Register considers how the screen revolution should affect our worship

With tablets, WiFi, Internet and e-books, learning is portable, visual and immediate. It is possible, therefore, that schools, colleges, libraries and universities as we know them will evolve, grow, change and maybe even disappear altogether, as new modes of learning grow up around the new technologies of learning.

What interests me is how the human experience of religion can also change. The Catholic faith was born in an age before books. In many ways, its greatest cultural accomplishments were in the Middle Ages, before people could read and books were plentiful. Without books and text, life was visual and real, and religion was visual and real. The stories of the faith were communicated in earthy passion and mystery plays. The cathedrals were not the bland and sedate buildings of pale stone we see today. The statues were painted, and the walls were decorated with vivid patterns.

The faith came alive in the abundant and boisterous stained glass, the colorful shrines of saints, wall paintings, candle light, grandiose architecture, beautiful embroidery, ornate vestments, sacred vessels of silver and gold and unimaginable visual splendor. The liturgy, like life itself, was a sight to behold. Worshippers got caught up in the visual spectacle and were swept into the court of heaven to experience the bliss of faith and the awesome wonder of a God who was beautiful, good and true beyond all telling.

Could this vision of the past be a pointer to the future? For the last 500 years, our religion has become increasingly text-based, but we are moving into a new visual age, and it is the Catholic faith that has the history and tradition to take advantage of this change.

Go here to read the full article.