It's a typical Mass in an American parish in which the kneelers contain a mix of teens, single adults, young families and church stalwarts with gray hair.
Near the end of a sermon about family life, during this hypothetical Mass, the priest makes a pithy observation that is both poignant and slightly ironic.
A young-ish parish council member smiles and posts the quote to Twitter, since he is already using his smartphone to follow Mass prayers in a popular Catholic app. This infuriates a nearby grandmother, who is already upset that her daughter is letting her kids play videogames in church, to keep them quiet.
The Twitter user, of course, thought he was paying the priest a compliment by tweeting the sermon quote while, perhaps, engaging in a bit of social-media evangelism to prompt discussions with friends at work. But this gesture also infuriated a nearby worshipper and destroyed her sense of sacred space.
"Everyone used to know the worship rules and now we don't. It's that simple, which means that things are getting more complex," said Lee Rainie, director of Internet, science and technology research at the Pew Research Center. He is also the co-author of the book "Networked: The New Social Operating System."
Every venue in public life "has its own context and you can't write a set of social-media rules that will apply in all venues," he said. "Using technology to enrich our own spiritual experiences is one thing, while interrupting corporate worship is another. … People are going to have to ask if that phone is pulling them deeper into worship services or if they're using it to disengage and pull out of the experience."
This storm has been building in the pews for more than a decade and religious leaders will not be able to avoid it, according to fine details in new work by the Pew Research Center's American Trends Panel.