General Guidelines for using Parish WebCams

24 Nov 2020

With every new technology and practice comes a time of trial and error. Guidelines and technical assistance are important considerations. There will be a learning curve. 

But, we need to remember at all times that the church building is a sacred place which is assigned to divine worship and is dedicated and blessed for this purpose.  Any behaviour which is discordant with the holiness of the Church or which might cause hurt and scandal to members of the faithful is inappropriate and should be avoided.

We offer the following guidelines for parishes for broadcasting and live-streaming. 

Cameras should be installed with due care and respect for church buildings. They should be easily removable without any impact on the building.

Where possible, cameras should only be switched on for the duration of Mass/Liturgy and switched off at the end.  

There should be no live streaming in churches when there is no Mass or Liturgy taking place.

There are Child Safeguarding and Data Protection considerations when using web cams and/or live streaming. Some immediate considerations: 

  • Recording people via a web camera and the subsequent displaying of such images over the internet is regarded as the processing of personal data and one of the key provisions regarding the processing of such data is that it must be done with the consent or knowledge of the individuals concerned.
  • Camera shots (images) of the congregation should be wide shots – minimising the possibility of easily identifying individuals with close-up shots.
  • Signs should be placed at a range of entrances to the church and in other prominent locations informing people that web cameras are in operation.
  • Parish workers and members of the clergy should sign forms consenting to their image being used for web broadcasting during the course of their regular duties. Copies of consent forms should be kept as part of parish records.
  • In the case of children who may be visible on the sanctuary (eg Altar Servers) signed parental/guardian consent forms are required.
  • During any broadcast it should be possible to stop transmission, if necessary, by quickly accessing the control panel of the system. If this cannot be done by the priest from near the altar, someone should be delegated to break transmission if needed.