PARIS - The Catholic church is going digital in Paris.
The city's diocese will introduce a system allowing contactless card payments during Sunday's mass at Saint Francois de Molitor, a church located in an upscale and conservative Paris neighborhood.
The diocese explained Thursday that five connected collection baskets with a traditional design will be handed out to mass attenders during the service. They will choose on a screen the amount they want to donate - from 2 to 10 euros ($2.4 to $12.2) - and their payment will be processed in “one second.”
The diocese insisted “this new gesture remains extremely close to the usual” one, yet parishioners will still be able to use cash for their donations.
According to the diocese, donations amount to 79 percent of its resources.
“Mass collection represents 14 percent of that contribution,” it said in a statement. “That's about 98 euros on average, per year and per faithful.” It explained that the move is meant “to anticipate the gradual disappearance of cash money.”
This is not the French Catholic church's first attempt to keep up with new technologies.
Since 2016, a smartphone app for making donations called “La Quete,” which translates as “The Collection,” has been introduced across 28 French dioceses and more than 2,000 parishes.
About 4,000 donations have been made over 14 months in the eight Paris parishes that have been testing the app, with the average amount spent coming in at 4.71 euros.
“The Church is committed to supporting everyone in the new ways of life and consumption,” the Paris diocese said. “The dematerialization of the means of payment is also part of the challenges the Church has to take up. Whether through a connected basket, with contactless payment, or through a smartphone app.”