Before I post this photo, I want to reassure non-Catholic readers that Catholics do NOT worship the pope. We do not pray to the pope, we do not burn incense before him, we do not kiss his toe, etc.
However, it is an unfortunate fact of modern life that Catholics, like many other people, get overly excited by celebrities. I once struggled to stop shaking as I made a sandwich, in my barista days, for a Canadian TV star. My reaction was completely irrational but unfortunately also physical. I was delighted, believe me, when a Scottish TV star dropped by the Historical House, and I behaved perfectly normally. Well, I made him and his whole TV crew cookies.
One place where celebrity status is supposed to mean nothing is at church. I don't mean that everyone is treated equally at church. This is a rather recent (and to me welcome) innovation. But at church you know you're not supposed to be staring at the celebrity when you're praying. When you are at church, you are there to join in communal prayers, not stare at celebrities, or take photographs, or play with your toy truck in the aisles. Unfortunately, it may be harder than ever to get this across because even Catholic priests have succumbed to being distracted by snap-happiness at Mass.
This photograph was taken in Philadelphia, and since I have many readers in Pennsylvania, I thought I'd ask: who are the concelebrating priests/bishops taking photos in this picture?
Technology has its pluses as well as its minuses, and it is rather shocking what influence it always seems to have on public deportment. Mobile phones--particularly used in long conversations in public places--are paradoxically anti-social. One of the most shocking photo comparisons I've ever seen is that of a crowd welcoming Benedict XVI and the forest of arms raised in the air to photograph the new Pope Francis. It turns out that this was not an exact comparison, of course.
Update: I have to say I am feeling rather sorry for the "Selfie Priest." I don't see why he should be singled out.