Negative comments and reviews about online masses have been 'very hurtful' for some priests, one representative group has been told.
With places of worship closed for services under the current level five coronavirus restrictions, many priests have been broadcasting mass online.
The recent AGM of Association of Catholic Priests heard about some of the issues that have arisen due to the sudden changes this year.
Father Tim Hazelwood is a spokesperson for the organisation and raised the issue of 'masshoppers' at their AGM - saying some people go from online mass to online mass, with some then sending on 'hurtful' comments.
He told other members: "Some of the lads have stopped going [online], because they couldn't take it."
Today, Father Hazelwood told Moncrieff that some priests are doing online masses, but others aren't as they have none of the necessary training.
He said online broadcasting can be a potentially 'demoralising' experience for priests who are looking into a camera and out at an empty church.
With many priests living alone, Father Hazelwood said some are coping well with the additional isolation caused by the pandemic.
However, he said others aren't as comfortable with the changes and are now also dealing with negative online comments and comparisons.
He said: "When you get feedback and it's perceived as criticism, it can be very hurtful because all the other positives can be great, but you're waiting for that one.
"[Some feedback is like] 'the fella next door says a short mass' or 'the other fella is mad for singing'... it's like a Father Ted episode.
“In the Church, people have different outlooks and views: likewise the way people present mass and some would be very traditional, [and] some wouldn't.”
Father Hazelwood says such comparisons can be particularly challenging for some priests at the moment as many parishes have found their finances 'decimated' this year.
The priest explained that the goal for now is to 'name' the issue and start highlighting it.
He stressed that his association and the diocese of Dublin are among the groups currently looking at ways of helping and assisting priests who may not have the necessary experience with live broadcasting.
With many parishes located close together, priests have also been visiting and checking in on each other where possible.
He added: “We just keep an eye out for each other and that's what we're trying to highlight.”