A French Catholic priest is hoping to reverse the trend of dwindling attendance by getting with the times. Frédéric Lequin, priest at a church in the southeastern community of Notre-Dame de Bellecombe, has stated that he will bless the mobile devices of those who attend Sunday’s Pentecost Celebration service.
According to French outlet The Local, France’s Catholic population has been dwindling since the late 1980s. In 1986, eight out of 10 people, or 80 percent, self-identified as Catholic. Nowadays, that figure has dropped to 56 percent.
Lequin says he got the inspiration from another French priest, who in turn got it from a British counterpart.
“Father Gil Florini, a parish priest of Saint-Pierre-d'Arène in Nice has already performed such a blessing following the example of the city of London,” Lequin told Le Progres, who first broke the story. “I myself have already blessed animals while I was a priest in Champagne-au-Mont-d’Or and also here in October 2013.”
“We must remember that the blessing of communication devices is written into the tradition of the Church just like with boats, carts and all instruments of labour and animals,” he added.
Lequin’s decision appears to be consistent with the example set by Pope Francis, who has made great strides in giving the Catholic Church a new image.
Fidel Martinez is an editor at Fusion.net. He's also a Texas native and a lifelong El Tri fan.