Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Relatives Behaving Badly at Mass

My great uncle's funeral Mass was this morning.  There was no viewing, and really no one to come to a viewing, so the church was the gathering place.  Very few of my relatives go to church regularly, if at all, and I have come to be very uncomfortable with funerals because of the behavior.  They were blocking the aisle and laughing and talking loudly so that I couldn't even see the tabernacle to genuflect to it.  I tried to take a seat in the pew as quickly as possible so I could make known by my demeanor my displeasure with all the yukking it up when one of my uncles ran up to me and hugged me.  It's nice to have a family that loves you, but...

"Where are you going before you say hello to your uncle?"

You don't know how hard it was NOT to say: "Did you bother to say hello to HIM first?"

I could tell the priest knew exactly what kind of crowd he was dealing with.  He instructed them when to sit, stand and kneel.  If only he had told them to shut up.  One of my cousins talked during nearly the entire Mass.  Short of giving a good loud "shush!" I didn't know what else to do.  My mother later told me she gave this same cousin two backward warning glances, but to no avail.

My relatives are generally good people who love one another. I just wished they loved the Lord a little more and a little better.  Most likely  these same folks would come if one of my parents or another family member passed.  Perhaps I will include something in the obituary along the lines of the following:

"The utmost silence will be kept in church before, during and after Mass begins out of reverence for the Blessed Sacrament."

I really loved how the priest today handled Holy Communion.

"Only those good Catholics in a state of sanctifying grace, who are not in a state of mortal sin, and have kept the minimum fast of one hour may approach the altar for Holy Communion.  The rest of you may remain in your pew where you are to make a spiritual communion, giving thanks to God for all the ways He has blessed you in your life and especially to pray for the repose of George's soul, which is, after all, the reason we are here."

You tell 'em Father!


  1. Hahaha, that priest was on the same wavelength as you Joyce. He sensed the whole thing. It's sad really what's become of Catholics. Sometimes I get the feeling we are a declining bunch. I'm not referring to the uncouth behavior, but the fact that apparently the Church is not something they go to or take part in. The level of church participation (and i assume faith) has gone down dramatically since I was a kid.

  2. Joyce, I know how you feel. I almost get run down when I try to genuflect after Mass on Sundays.

    But I think the bottom line is that people really don't understand the Real Presence anymore. It isn't preached well or often in most places.

    It's so sad. Why don't our priests post dress codes - at least in parish bulletins, and speak often about the need to maintain respectful silence in Church?

    I reflect often on the Scripture verse: My people perish for lack of knowledge.

    But, I find great hope in the new priests being ordained these days. They are full of love and devotion for the Blessed Sacrament, and deep love for Our Lady. I cry when I hear them preach, or see them in the adoration chapel. Some of them wear cassocks. They are our future leaders. Can't wait!

    Meanwhile, I guess the best we can do is be thankful for the light God has given us, and hopefully set the best example we can.

  3. I think that part if the problem is that a large percentage of our generation of those born into Catholic families received poor catechesis. Unless those people take it upon themselves to look for good teaching, or happen to receive sound teaching from the pulpit, a bad formation leads to a badly lived Catholicism.
    I find, in our neighborhood, that much of what is practiced is kind of a "cultural" Catholicism. The adult children of the parents put their children through the "programs" and see that they receive the sacraments. The tradition is to have big parties and give expensive gifts. Then, after confirmation, they disappear. I hardly ever see the kids that went to school with Melissa, who graduated from St. Monica's 8th grade six years ago. There are a few families that are exceptions, but for a parish our size, a tiny number, and not the norm. Well, Just my 2 cents. :)

  4. Joyce:

    I attend the National Shrine in DC very day as I am a daily communicant. I am outraged at the assaults our Lord is forced to endure. We have become barbarians.People talk before, during and after Mass. That includes priests! Young parents bring crying children who, mind you, have no problem with those same children wandering up and down the Church. I have confronted these parents after Church only to be told that "children are a gift of God". When I asked one man if he had no respect for the House of God, he motioned to one of the guys who worked at the Shrine to say that "I was harrassing HIM!". They are oblivious to anyone else but themselves.

    Cameras. They think Church is a toursit stop. Phones going off. One guy, I kid you not, actually answered his phone in Church the other day!

    This did not just recently start. This has taken forty years in the wilderness of self indulgent narcissism.

    I am very seriously considering the initiation of a new website called " Restore Silence in the Catholic Church". It would be a place where the laity could voice their concerns. What do you think? I have to do something. As with so many other things, our priests remain silent.

  5. I wish the priests would say something more often, at regular Sunday Mass too, not just occasions where non Catholics may be attending.

  6. Thanks, so many good comments. I think Kelly touched on something that is sad but true - many of our Catholics are cultural Catholics. It's a rite of passage to baptize a baby, and then have the child subsequently receive their First Holy Communion and Confirmation, never to be seen in church again, until they want to get married. I was very well catechized and people from my generation behave ignorantly. I think it has more to do with laziness, the general decline in Sunday to begin with, and the growing narcissism of people in general. Patricia I know just what you mean by the stampede. My pastor actually published something very good this past week addressing a lot of these issues - immodest dress, talking in church, receiving Communion not in a state of grace - and the only problem is that instead of really preaching about it, he simply asked people to make sure to read it. Hopefully, he'll realize he has to talk about it for it to do any good. Maria, I love your idea - go for it, I'll be a follower!

  7. Good points, all! Joyce I agree with the laziness factor. I also think those who are being lazy belong to the "bare minimum" club that holds to the motto, "If I do the bare minimum, I am still okay with God." Unfortunately, it highly depends on where they are getting their info about where that line is drawn.
    One thing we can do as laity, is attend the churches that are getting it right. Or even, attempting to go in the right direction. For some, it isn't possible. But if the attendance grew for some and dwindled for others, maybe the message would resonate.


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