Tweeting in the adoration chapel

John Paul II and Fulton Sheen used to write there

The following comes from a Dec. 20 posting by T.J. Burdick.

St. John Paul the Great

I was in the adoration chapel and I had an urge to tweet. I was so enthralled by Fr. Robert Barron’s eloquence on the life of St. Thomas Aquinas that I couldn’t hold it in. I just, couldn’t help myself, I HAD to project this moment of celestial clarity through the closest means digital evangelization possible.

“It pleased God to save those who believe by the foolishness of our preaching.” #AquinasGotJokes
— TJ Burdick (@TJBurdick) November 3, 2014

But as “tweet sent” brandished my screen, I suddenly felt all filthy. Was I supposed to tweet in the adoration chapel? Would Jesus approve?

I then took my uneasiness to the interwebs and had friends and mentors weigh in on exactly what was acceptable and what was not acceptable when it comes to using technology in the adoration chapel.

Here’s what we came up with:

I found this on one parish website:

Please do not use cell phones, pagers, electronic devices.  Adult adorers are permitted to have these devices for emergency use only (e.g. if they are at adoration in the middle of the night, are a doctor or nurse on call, etc.) and only in silent/vibrate mode.  Under no circumstances should children or teens have any hand held email/web devices, small computers, cell phones, pagers, electronic games/toys, or other electronic devices in the adoration chapel. (source)

Suffice to say, I think this rule goes too far. To negate the use of technology for the group that most often uses it could potentially lead to lower adoration attendance from that age group. I know I’m a techie and the majority of the spiritual books I read are on my kindle, I use the Divine Office App and I sometimes jot down some Godly notes on Evernote.

Does that distract me from the True Presence?

The truth is, I honestly don’t know. St. John Paul the Great and Blessed Archbishop Fulton Sheen used to spend hours in front of the Eucharist with pen and notebook in hand. Sheen himself said in his autobiography that there isn’t a word he wrote that didn’t see its birth under the observance of the Sacrament.

And still, the questions remain. Sure, advances in technology have made it easier for us all to access truth, but what if Truth Himself is right in front of you. Does the knowledge He wishes to impart unto you come from the reflection of your smartphone or the glass encased beam that strikes your eye from the monstrance?

The Diocese of Marquette answers:

“One of the challenges of Christian spirituality in our society today is to avoid the heresy of activism on the one hand and escapism on the other. The practice of perpetual adoration should lead the faithful to a sense of gratitude for God’s tremendous love and a response of reaching out in the spirit of love to their neighbors and the community, especially to the poor. Pastors should be attentive in their preaching and catechesis to encourage the people of the parish to ponder Jesus’ teaching in their hearts and put it into practice. Parishes may want to place prayer cards throughout the adoration chapel which remind the people to pray for the parish, the community and our brothers and sisters around the world, especially the poor and the oppressed.” (source)

When all was said and done, I came to the following conclusions:

  • Tweeting  in an adoration is unacceptable.
  • Reading and writing the old fashioned way (using pen and paper) is fine, but proceed with caution.
  • Reading and writing using technology? Use only as a last resort. Books still exist in their natural papyrus form. Our brains have been programmed to respond to physical texts since the invention of written language. We’re still trying to figure out what to do with digital text.
  • Listening in silence is best spiritual investment possible as it allows for grace to enter, the heart to swell with Love Himself, and the soul to manifest said Love in deed as one leaves the presence of the Most High. (Unless you are Blessed Fulton Sheen or St. John Paul II who could simultaneously do all of this because of their heroic piety).

What about you? What are your thoughts?

To read the original posting, click here.


  1. 1. Leave your electronics (toys) in the car. When you go to Church, worship God.

    2. Fr. Barron is never a great example, and a heretic. Barron does not always agree with St. Thomas Aquinas or St. Augustine per Fr. Barron’s own words. Further Barron does not even agree with Our Lord, Jesus Christ.

    Barron prefers the heretics Origen, Von Balthazar, and Karl Rahner – OVER the TEACHINGS of JESUS, even though he admits that Jesus spoke of Hell more than anyone else in the Bible.
    a) First read the statements of JESUS in Mt. 7:13-14, and Lk 13:23-28;
    b) then listen to Barron in his own words:
    Fr. Robert Barron on “Whether Hell is Crowded or Empty” –

    It is unfortunate that Barron was appointed to head up a Seminary in the Chicago area.

    • Thank you Oscar. Excellent post. No wonder no one is using common sense any more. Many have allowed Our Lord to be shoved into a backroom more fitting as a broom closet. “Bishop Sheen himself said in his autobiography that there isn’t a word he wrote that didn’t see its birth under the observance of the Sacrament.”

      Today when you walk into many churches, the Tabernacle is NOT easily observed. Wolves in sheep’s clothing have made it necessary to hunt out the location. Catholics are naive if they cannot see that this is by design. Remove Our Lord from the most prominent position and remove the kneelers because, “I will not serve.”

      That sacking alone is enough to crowd hell for the wolves are many. They have deliberately sacked many altars and many churches while shamelessly and greedily asking the flock to finance the deliberate debasing of our Catholic identity and time honored Traditions that gave us the saints.

  2. For accurate teaching of the Church regarding HELL, not Fr. Barron’s false teachings, read the “Catechism of the Catholic Church, second edition”.
    CCC: 1033 – 1037, and read the Sacred Scripture in the footnotes.

    • St. Christopher says

      “MAC” and “OSCAR” are correct; Fr. Barron is a wretched example of a priest. Among other things, he preaches the theme of “reasonable expectation” that all will be saved, a mighty assist to Satan. Why be concerned with sin and living a holy life when a noted priest says not to worry (much easier to take a “wide road” than the narrow one, what was Jesus thinking, anyway??).

  3. Sometimes the capital sin of Pride enters and some Priests like Robert Barron think they know more than God and then teach falsehoods accordingly.

    JESUS has told us that “few” will be saved. Lk 13:23-28 and Mt. 7:13-14.
    This means the majority will not be saved – and we do not know the approximate numbers.

    CCC: ” 2092 There are two kinds of presumption.
    Either man presumes upon his own capacities, (hoping to be able to save himself without help from on high),
    or he presumes upon God’s almighty power or his mercy (hoping to obtain his forgiveness without conversion and glory without merit). “

  4. Tweeting, phoning, pagers, etc is all communicating with someone other than God, while in God’s presence. How rude!
    Beware of whom you put before God.

    Anyone who insinuates that Jesus is a liar (like Barron) does not deserve our attention. I change the channel if he is on TV, and I will not help make him rich by purchasing anything he puts out in the media.

  5. I agree that tweets and so forth should not be used in an adoration chapel. I see nothing wrong with quietly taking notes or writing. Some great Catholic authors, including Michael O’Brien, have written books before the Blessed Sacrament.

    One of the sad things going on in our time is that many public schools in the United States are no longer teaching cursive to their students. I think that is a big mistake. How does one sign ones name, read what someone has written in a greeting card, etc. if one does not know cursive? What does one do when computer technology breaks down as it just did in North Korea? If it can happen there, it can happen here. Hopefully, the schools are at least teaching printing, but cursive is faster.

    Parents, I recommend that you see that your children learn cursive, even if you have to teach it to them yourselves. I remember what a failure the “new math” was in about 1978. Luckily, both my children missed it and were taught the older methods. Some new methods are great, but change just for the sake of change is not always good and sometimes a complete failure.

    • Linda Maria says

      I agree with Anne T.’s post. But I and my family, are even more radical, in our beliefs regarding technology! All of us would prefer to dump all “tech toys,” completely! We feel that the era of technology has extremely eroded good communication skills, and the value of personal, face-to-face human relating, daily! Hours should be spent in true, human face-to-face socializing! A necessity, for proper human development, socialization, and overall well-being! The art of writing a personal letter, in good English, with good, cursive handwriting, expressing oneself in a graceful manner— is priceless! Development of good oral as well as written proper English communication skills, to beautifully express oneself, is a great treasure! To spend some time daily, visiting neighbors, friends, and relatives, helps to build a good community, for everyone! To read a truly good book, or to take a class and develop oneself, is worth far more, than mindless hours, vegetating in front of a tv set, computer, CD player, radio, and much more!

  6. Bottom line: “Who is like unto God?” It’s nice that saints like Sheen and JPII could write or take notes before the Blessed Sacrament. But I, myself, could never imagine being a Sheen or any other person above that level of holiness, which is why I listen when I visit. My phone is always on vibrate and usually ignored at Mass. They can all leave a message. Remember, no one can presume upon the Goodness of God, no one.

  7. Anybody been on a retreat lately? They usually ban all electronic devices and some even require silence during your stay. Of course, the question is why? and the answer is how is God supposed to speak to you if he can’t get through because you are busy on another line! Makes common sense to me, but again many have not been gifted with common sense.

  8. I think the Rubicon was crossed by the author when he decided to communicate with outsiders from the chapel. IMNSHO he should have simply noted the insight and then once he left the chapel, felt free to tweet.

    “It is unfortunate that Barron was appointed to head up a Seminary in the Chicago area.” That’s the understatement of the day! Mundelein Seminary is the largest seminary in the United States.

  9. Father Karl says

    Thou halt have no strange gods before me. All these devises are false gods because we call on them more often than we call on God. In God’s house, which is a Catholic Church, especially in front of the Blessed Sacrament, we must not allow anything to come between God and us. An Opus Angelorum priest once remarked that we are way too interested in being the first to hear the news. We desire to be all knowing, which will NEVER happen in this life. If what a homilist says is that important, then pray to the Holy Spirit that He may enlighten you to recall what was said. Or, ask the priest to give you a copy of his sermon. But all the modern gizmos have no place in God’s house as they are distractions.

  10. Linda Maria says

    I am a lifelong fan of Bishop Sheen! LOVED his television show! I also was enthralled, by his daily Holy Hour, and deep love of the Blessed Mother! However, in adulthood, I have always thought it to be a shame, that adults cannot focus on the Real Presence, with simple, child-like acceptance, love, and joy. Adults cannot relax, for even a short period of time, and just enjoy the beauty and grandeur of God! No— they always have to be BUSY, BUSY, BUSY!! Saying the Rosary, praying the Divine Office, doing Lectio Divina, writing essays, sermons, etc.—- WHY?? I believe Adoration means just that– stop what you are doing, and enjoy and admire the great, holy Presence of God! ADORE Him! Earthly pursuits are silly, compared to the great glory and grandeur of Almighty God, in Eternity! St. Thomas Aquinas did just that– after writing his mighty “Summa,” he sank to his knees, wrapped in awe and adoration at the greatness of God— and later said something like, “this is all nothing, but works of straw!” TRUE!! What are all the “important” things of Earth, compared to the Eternal, Divine Glory, of God, in Heaven??

  11. Linda Maria says

    I will add something to my above post. I believe that even if an Adorer simply drops everything, and kneels for just a brief period of time, before the Real Presence— and accepts whatever happens, just in a simple way— the soul will greatly benefit, from that brief time with God. One does not need to intellectualize what happened, or read any fancy books– nothing! Just be with God! And let Him guide the soul! In the same way, people will relax and enjoy the beauties of Nature, such as gazing for awhile at a lovely sunrise or sunset, or something similar. Relax, daydream, enjoy it all! Lose yourself in it! God is so great, we cannot understand His ways, which are far, far beyond our tiny human minds, created by Him! He loves us so much, and wants us so much- even before we realize, that we want Him! He sent Our Lord to even die on a Cross, to open wide the gates of Heaven for us! Even if we sin, He is chasing us down, trying to bring back His little, dumb, “lost sheep!” And at life’s end, we lose our minds and our bodies, and go with Him (we hope!) to Heaven, forever and ever!

  12. Linda Maria says

    I will say one more thing. Maybe there is a time to adore God, and also, a time to sit and write notes, or write a sermon, as beloved Archbishop Sheen did, in front of the Real Presence of Christ, in Adoration. I know that Bishop Sheen had times when he was simply adoring Jesus, focused solely on Him, alone, prayerfully, for his Holy Hour— and times when he also sat in front of the Real Presence, with pen and notebook in hand, writing down notes, and writing sermons. He did both.

  13. Linda Maria says

    I am thrilled, because the Pastor at Star of the Sea church in San Francisco, announced that they are soon going to open the church’s side chapel, as a Perpetual Adoration chapel! Star of the Sea church is in an excellent location, on Geary Blvd. and 8th Ave., easy to get to by car, taxicab, or pubic transit, any time of the day or night! LOVE their Sun. 11a.m. Tridentine Mass, and Daily Mass, at 7:30a.m.!! The Pastor, Fr. Illo, is in need of donations, to do some repair work on the chapel, to get it all ready for Perpetual Adoration. Of course, the church will also need plenty of Adorers to sign up, round the clock, when the Adoration chapel opens, hopefully by the end of January 2015!! WONDERFUL, WONDERFUL, for all San Francisco, and beyond!!

  14. Even the best of Catholic minds can place their bets on some bad horses from time to time. Or what may seem like a bad horse, may or may not have been so bad after all upon more careful examination. Here’s an example that comes to mind: Bishop Sheen wrote in his 1967 book FOOTPRINTS IN A DARKENED FOREST that he thought that the Vatican got it wrong about Teilhard de Chardin. He even went on to say: “It is very likely that within 50 years when all the trivial, verbose disputes about the meaning of Teilhard’s ‘unfortunate’ vocabulary will have died away or have taken a secondary place, Teilhard will appear like John of the Cross and St. Teresa of Avila, as the spiritual genius of the twentieth century.” Coincidentally, that very same year Dietrich Von Hildebrand wrote a great book called TROJAN HORSE IN THE CITY OF GOD. He dedicates an entire appendix to carefully detailing Teilhard’s beliefs and he shows how they contrast with orthodox Catholic theology and cannot be reconciled. After reading both carefully, I have come to the conclusion that Von Hildebrand got it right and Bishop Sheen got it wrong. But there’s no reason to throw the baby out with the bathwater. Both of these great men will probably become canonized saints someday. I am glad to see the way Fr. Barron’s videos have gotten people enthusiastic about their faith, I see this in my own parish. And I am very glad that Fr. Fessio at Ignatius Press has decided to release a second edition of Von Balthasar’s DARE WE HOPE? that includes a forward by Fr. Barron.

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COMMENTS POLICY: Comments are limited to 750 characters and will be truncated at 750. Comments should not contain offensive or libelous language. Please strive to be civil. All comments are subject to approval by our moderator and to editing as the moderator deems appropriate. Inclusion of your email address is optional.