by Celes A. Gianan, DD, PhD

I believe, therefore, I speak (Ref. II Corinthians 4: 13). Here, I go.

The issue being addressed here is the PLACE where the HOLY MASS is being presided over, participated in, and celebrated. When we speak of HOLY MASS, we speak of EUCHARISTIC CELEBRATION, the ACTION of Christ Himself and the Church which is SO SACRED.

May I first cite that which CODEX IURIS CANONICI provides in Canon 932, which says, “The Eucharistic Celebration is to be carried out in a SACRED PLACE unless in a particular case necessity requires otherwise; in such a case the celebration must be done in a DECENT PLACE”.

Canon Law provides and prescribes that the Eucharistic Celebration is to be carried out in a SACRED PLACE. It does not say CYBERSPACE. In case, there is no sacred place and the Eucharistic Celebration needs to be celebrated, one has to find a DECENT PLACE for its celebration. Again, Canon Law, in exceptional necessity, says DECENT PLACE, not CYBERSPACE. By this canonical provision the Catholic Church declares and gives Her highest reverence to the HOLY MASS.

A SACRED PLACE  is a concrete structure constructed by men using their human skills, designated for divine worship and other liturgical church services, dedicated by a Bishop or by a presbyter using a Rite of Dedication; whereas, CYBERSPACE is a notional or virtual environment generated by computers using technology devices, utilized for online communication and other technological purposes, designed by computer experts. Cyberspace refers to the virtual computer world, and more specifically, is an electronic medium used to form a global computer network to facilitate online communication (Sep 27, 2012) Herein, we already see that the concept of a SACRED PLACE runs contrary or opposite to the concept of a CYBERSPACE. True, indeed,  CYBERSPACE is NOT a SACRED PLACE.

Given this mindset, ONLINE MASS is that which is carried out in CYBERSPACE, not in a SACRED PLACE. Yes, from where the EUCHARISTIC CELEBRATION is carried out is done in a SACRED PLACE. And when it is PRESENTED to the world through computer-deviced means, such is already carried out in CYBERSPACE. This alone, from the point of view of the Church Law, ONLINE MASS runs contrary already to the canonical provision in Canon 932. My belief on this rests on what the Canon Law of the Church teaches.

From the point of view of the PURPOSE of the HOLY MASS or EUCHARISTIC CELEBRATION, this is what I believe and, therefore, this I speak.


What we see in the ONLINE MASS is a PRESENTATION of the HOLY MASS to the world where people behave as SPECTATORS or WATCHERS. Whereas, in the EUCHARISTIC CELEBRATION that is carried out in a SACRED PLACE, the presider and the people are ACTUAL PARTAKERS in the sanctification of the world and the TOGETHERNESS IN ACTUAL PRESENCE of both the PRESIDER and the CHRISTIAN FAITHFUL assures this. In an ONLINE MASS, this does not happen. And, therefore, ONLINE MASS defeats the PRIMARY PURPOSE of the HOLY MASS or of the EUCHARISTIC CELEBRATION.

HUMBLE RECOMMENDATION: I am doing this because I want to protect the DIGNITY and INTEGRITY of the HOLY MASS and the CATHOLIC CHURCH. Please do not get me wrong … my thoughts on this issue DO NOT imply that computer or digital technology is evil. Computer or digital technology is good and useful on the ground that it is used the PROPER way and for a GOOD purpose.

ONLINE  MASS should NOT be advocated by Catholic churches or by Catholic Bishops and their clergies as a WAY just for people to fulfill their religious obligation. It must NOT BE PROMOTED by Catholic churches. If ever there is one thing Catholic churches must AVOID doing ONLINE, it is the HOLY MASS or the EUCHARISTIC CELEBRATION. Let us be reminded that there is only one kind of MASS and that is THE HOLY MASS. It must be presided over by the BISHOP or the PRIEST the HOLY WAY and must be participated by the FAITHFUL the HOLY WAY, too. Indeed, the HOLY MASS or EUCHARISTIC CELEBRATION is a celebration of the HOLIEST of all that is HOLY.

In ONLINE MASS so-called, there is NO COMPLETE ASSURANCE the HOLINESS of the MASS is kept and observed by watchers on TV or on celphones. In an ONLINE MASS so-called, there is NO COMPLETE ASSURANCE the PURPOSE of the HOLY MASS or EUCHARISTIC CELEBRATION is accomplished and fulfilled.

Catholic Churches should NOT engage themselves in SECULARIZING the HOLY MASS using digital technology even in trying and crying times. Secularizing the HOLY MASS is letting MODERN  COMPUTER or DIGITAL TECHNOLOGY control it, act on it and absorb it. We do not want the HOLY MASS to become a COMMODITY now and in the years to come. COMMODIFICATION of the HOLY MASS is the WORST MISTAKE Catholic Churches do ever make. There is an indepth meaning to the HOLINESS OF THE MASS. Catholic Churches should know this.

Canon 899 defines the “EUCHARISTIC CELEBRATION as the ACTION OF CHRIST HIMSELF and the CHURCH. In it, Christ the Lord, through the ministry of the priest, offers Himself, substantially present under the species of bread and wine, to God the Father and gives Himself as spiritual food to the faithful united with His offering. In the Eucharistic GATHERING, the people of God are called TOGETHER with the Bishop or, under his authority, a presbyter presiding and acting in the person of Christ. All the faithful who are PRESENT, whether clerics or laity, UNITE together by PARTICIPATING in their own way according to the diversity of orders and liturgical functions. – This is the HOLY MASS or the EUCHARISTIC CELEBRATION as defined and provided to us by Canon Law, the Law of the Church.

Since the Eucharistic Celebration is the ACTION of Christ and the Church, it should NOT be ACTED UPON by the movements brought about by the advancement of computer or digital technology, such for instance, the ONLINE MASS. In ONLINE MASS, the ACTION OF Christ Himself and the Church is being acted upon by computer or digital technology for it to be PRESENTED and SHOWN in cyberspace to the world.

As I have said earlier, the HOLY MASS is said primarily for the SANCTIFICATION of the world and NOT for PRESENTATION to the world, that is, just to SHOW to people that there is a MASS. During this time of COVID 19, Catholic churches are still there, they are not destroyed. The priests have their residence within or beside the church building. And, therefore, the HOLY MASS can still be said by the priest during this EXCEPTIONAL time, INSIDE the Church and in the ABSENCE of people while OBSERVING ordinances or directives by our civil government vis-a-vis COVID 19 for the GOOD of the people. The Priest-Presider and two or three lay faithful representing the Christian faithful being PRESENT in the SACRED PLACE where the HOLY MASS or EUCHARISTIC CELEBRATION is carried out would be enough. Yes, Catholic churches may do lectures, seminars, conferences on church-related matters or faith-related issues and concerns ONLINE but NEVER, NEVER, NEVER the HOLY MASS.

The HOLY MASS must not be carried out in CYBERSPACE. Are Catholic churches not enough a SACRED PLACE for the celebration of the HOLY MASS? Catholic churches are spread out in the world and on the surface of the earth. Their SACRED PLACES are in multiplicity and plurality. Are we not contented with our beautifully-built and well-adorned Catholic churches spread throughout the world?

What a PERPETUATED PERVERSE generation we have in our lifetime as catholics or in the life of the Catholic church! In the AGE OF MODERNITY vis-a-vis the speedy advancement of computer technology, the Catholic churches have been slowly grabbed by the spirit of this age to the point that Catholic churches started MODERNIZING the GOSPEL to the DETERIORATION of the FAITH of the people instead of EVANGELIZING MODERNITY. The more Catholic churches advance in times modern, the more zealous they should become in upholding the HOLINESS of the MASS. The stronger the impact of MODERNITY becomes, the tougher Catholic churches should become in preserving the HOLINESS OF THE MASS.

Now, comes this period that initiates and propagates ONLINE MASS which is a SUBTLE way of SECULARIZING the HOLY MASS. In this Age of Secularism, we take the STEPS of SECULARIZING what is SACRED instead of taking MOVES to PROMOTE and PRESERVE that which is SACRED.

Let us all keep watch of OUR FAITH as we continue to show our love for the CHURCH, the BODY OF CHRIST. God loves us all. –

drcelamgia_phd, Founding Disciple, CENTER FOR FAITH AND REASON

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