Columnists Mark my words

I couldn’t live in a paperless society

Father Mark Goldasich is the pastor of Sacred Heart parish in Tonganoxie. He has been editor of the Leaven since 1989.

by Father Mark Goldasich

Without a doubt, this is one of my favorite commercials.

It comes from France, with only one word spoken: Emma. It takes place in a typical modern home. The opening scene shows a mom (Emma), sitting at the kitchen table with her daughter, where they’re drawing on paper with markers.

The father comes in and says, “Emma!” He snatches the paper from his daughter’s hand, sighs at his old-fashioned wife and proudly shows his daughter how she can now draw on an iPad.

The dad’s next stop is at the refrigerator, whose surface is crammed with Post-it notes. Again, he calls out, “Emma!”

With an exasperated look, he holds up his tablet, which has virtual Post-its displayed on its screen. His wife, who is standing in the doorway, gives him an annoyed look.

Wanting a little relaxation, the wife sits on the sofa working a Sudoku puzzle with a pen. Sure enough, her husband appears at her left elbow, says, “Emma,” and displays a Sudoku puzzle on the tablet screen.

Next, the wife is working at her computer and, just as she prints off a hard copy of the page, her husband appears at the door, clutching his tablet. With a disapproving voice, he says, “Emma.” She turns and, with a warning glare at her husband, whips the paper out of the printer.

Later, the couple is reading in bed. Emma, of course, is reading a printed book while her husband uses his tablet. With a bemused shake of his head, he again says with pity, “Emma.”

This time, it looks like Emma has reached the end of her rope and might be contemplating murder.

The final scene shows the husband in the bathroom, seated. When he notices there’s no toilet paper, he calls his wife’s name.

Under the door slides his tablet with a picture of a roll of toilet paper on the screen!

Then the words “Paper has a great future” appear.

The hilarious point of the commercial is that here is one paper thing that the tablet can’t replace. You can find the ad online by Googling “French toilet paper commercial.”

Well, February is just about here and that means it’s Catholic Press Month. PRESS. As old-fashioned as it may sound, I still love paper. I get a hard copy of the Kansas City Star daily and start most days with a cup of coffee and a pen — ready to tackle the day’s crossword, Jumble, Kenken and 7 Little Words puzzles.

My bookcases at home are filled with . . . actual books.

Spiritually, I use the bound volumes of the Liturgy of the Hours for prayer. I consult “Living Liturgy,” the “Sourcebook for Sundays, Seasons and Weekdays: The Almanac for Pastoral Liturgy” and many storybooks for homily preparation. I find it so much easier to read with pen and highlighter to mark up these physical resources with notes and ideas.

And when producing The Leaven each week, I still proofread pages from a hard copy before making my corrections on the computer.

Now, don’t get me wrong. Just because I prefer paper doesn’t mean that I despise the newer technologies. I would not for a minute go back to producing The Leaven like we did 30 years ago. And it’s so much easier when researching something from past issues to go to our online archive.

I also enjoy the ease of writing on a computer, even though I print out a hard copy of my article to edit and polish up.

I don’t view Catholic Press Month as a repudiation of the newer technologies; both can exist well side-by-side, much like television did not totally replace the radio.

My encouragement this month is for readers to not only enjoy The Leaven, but also to treat themselves to other Catholic press materials. Many parishes have wonderful libraries or book carts filled with treasures to be discovered. Dive into them. They’re free!

Someone once asked if I’d ever give up the print edition of The Leaven. I said that I would — just as soon as the Vatican permits processing in with the “iPad of the Gospels” at Mass!

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Fr. Mark Goldasich

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