5 Ways to Shush the Church Chatter

5 Ways to Shush the Church Chatter

Photo by haven't the slightest

We’ve all been there before; churchgoers in a nearby pew chatting it up during Mass.  Their conversation can be heard by all those around unless they whisper, which we all know rarely happens.  Regardless, on the off-chance they speak in low-tones, rest assured that they’re doing it just to annoy you.

What is a Catholic to do?  I’ve seen priests glare down parishioners and say, suspending their own homily, “Yoo-hoo! [yes, he said 'yoo-hoo']  Hello?  Yes, you.  It’s my turn to talk.”  I’ve heard them work a correction into a homily (… it’s fair to suppose the Judas was the only Apostle to interrupt Jesus while he spoke…), hurling lightning bolts of public guilt toward anyone who dared steal the attention from the clergy.  The rest of us were silently fist-pumping in our pews.

Of course, there are a few lay methods of correction.

  1. The Polite Smile When to use: The Opening Prayer – Employed mainly by old ladies and really sarcastic people, this method is rather ineffective at saying, “I wish you were a Trappist.” Unintended effect: The talkers think you’re a nice person and begin to ask your opinion on whatever it is they shouldn’t be talking about.
  2. The Big Sigh When to use: The Psalm – Still remaining passive, the big sigh takes hold of that Catholic guilt and emits it as a cloud to anyone who may be doing something annoying. It says to those around you, “I am helplessly and quietly suffering because of you. Ease my pain.” The natural response of someone who hears the sigh is usually, “That man must be going through some tough times. I’ll pray for him later.”
  3. Clearing the Throat When to use: The Gospel – A quiet grunt is generally not enough, as the offender might actually think you are really clearing your throat. Give it a good, open-mouthed AH-HA-HUM. Make sure to angle your noise within 120° for accuracy. If multiple attempts are ineffective, it is possible that you’re dealing with a mutant whose power of ignoration can resist not only the priest, but also the plethora of seemingly sick people around them. Bonus: No one can question your motives, since you might have had something stuck in your throat.
  4. Photo by dlangendorf

    The Ol’ Stink Eye When to use: The Collect- Nothing says, “Shut up, I’m trying to be holy,” like the glare that everyone learned from the time their mother gave birth to them except, apparently, these talkers who seem to have just hatched. No need trying to be covert – at this stage, you’re standing up for the integrity of the liturgy and the consideration of those around you. Carefully watch out of the corner of your eye until one of them is facing you, then whip around and give ‘em your best Clint Eastwood.

  5. The Confrontation When to use: The Eucharistic Prayer – It’s come to this. The true presence of God is on the altar and these dopes aren’t paying attention in spite of your repeated attempts to correct them. Turn around smiling (see #1) as though you just noticed the talkers for the first time and politely whisper, “Excuse me, would you mind continuing your conversation after Mass?” At this point, three things can happen: They will be quiet, they will ignore you or somewhere in-between. The last two options are unacceptable and you must intend to offer your communion prayers for their souls – if only you could pray!

Honestly, I have never seen any of these methods work successfully. The last time I tried #5 was 2005 and actually received a tongue-lashing after Mass from the talkers. I asked an old Jesuit what to do about Mass talkers and he replied, “Nothing. If they knew better, they wouldn’t be talking in the first place. Since they don’t know better, they won’t understand why you’re correcting them.”

Let me know in the comments what success (or lack thereof) you’ve had with people talking in Mass!

Update:  Got smacked down for a Paschasian heresy in the comments!  Made changes accordingly.

93 Comments

  1. None. They will give you glares and dirty looks (the lovely Christians that they are) and chastise you for intruding upon their space and/or chatting time. Oh my God, like we’re not in some church, but in a tavern down the street. Hideous behavior! Nonetheless, the Lord reminds us that we are all sinners and have done some pretty rotten, unbelievable stuff. How do we know the Lord Himself is not trying our patience just to see if we respond with love and not self-righteousness. Eh?

    • last Sunday, I turned around holding my prayers up so they could see them, and said,”would you stop talking…I’m trying to pray and I can’t concentrate.
      They went into a very soft wisper and apologized! I smiled as I spoke…….

      • Ahhh but then you get the rare people like me who are actually interpreting the homily into another language, and quietly whispering the readings in another language.

        When one young man decided to hiss at us like the heathens I guess we are, I replied that I was just interpreting. At which point he asked why we didn’t just go to a Spanish Mass.

        Oh, yes, we will just switch to a different parish because my fiance should be even further ghettoized, especially when he’s a new Catholic. I bit back a retort and honestly replied “liturgical dancers and heresy” because that is a side effect of a lot of Spanish Mass in my area. At least he doesn’t usually talk back, except to ask what the priest is doing, and that’s becoming less common as he learns more.

        So if you see a white girl whispering rapidly to a Mexican guy during Mass, chances are she actually is actively ignoring you. Hey its either that, or go back to the parish where they tried to get some Dominican teens to do liturgical dancing, and all 4 of them awkwardly just stood there in the church, refusing to move because they for once knew better than their elders.

  2. Our vestibule used to have a huge sign over the entrance doors: “Silence is Golden in the House of God.” It is long gone, along with the pastor who put it there, and there are so many now who chat before and after Mass, IN CHURCH. Latin Mass is at noon, and some come early to pray! Well-now they have to contend with talkers. AND THE ELDERLY ARE THE WORST OFFENDERS! Why? We were brought up when you got “what for” from Sister if you opened your mouth. I think the priest ought to emphasize that others are praying before the Blessed Sacrament, WHO is present on a side altar. And announce it in the bulletin. I have not been adverse to asking people to take their conversation outside and smiling all the while. They get the point! How can we expect our younger ones to have respect in church, when we do not set the example?

    • Yes, how about, “didn’t your mother teach you not to talk in church?” or “really, if your conversation is so important, why can’t you call each other later for a chat?”

      Sadly, most people wern’t raised with manners and lack common sense!

      and ohhhh yeah! It’s very ofte the elderly who are the worst offenders!

  3. Honestly, I don’t do anything – but I do try and avoid Masses at which I know there will be a lot of people there who are not normally present and may have *ahem* forgotten a few things (First Communions, Christmas, Easter). Luckily, our home parish has 7 Sunday Masses so I have that opportunity. I also sit close to the front to avoid being distracted (plus, you have a lot more room – nobody exactly crowds to sit up front, do they?)

    I will say that almost all of these techniques have been used on me in an attempt to silence my 14-month-old, who in no way can understand these social cues yet, especially when bestowed by glowering strangers. I understand that talking is annoying, but there is a HUGE difference between a babbling-and-occasionally-squealing-toddler and teenagers or grown adults. I usually smile sweetly back at these coldhearted folks, which embarrasses them enough that they stop looking at me.

    • I attend Latin Mass, and our Church has a sound proof “crying room” where parents are asked to take their babies/ toddlers when they cry, squeal or make any noise. The Mass is broadcast in the room via speakers, and there is a clear glass window, so everything can be seen and heard by the parent, but the rest of the congregation aren’t distracted by babies babbling, crying or squaling.

      • I have been to parishes that have crying rooms. They are a nice option for parents, but often they are used for a lot more than crying – children who should be old enough to sit in a pew quietly running around and touching everything, adults using it as an excuse to chat “safely”, etc. It always seems a lot hotter in there, too, which just reminds me how much of a germ factory it is.

        I am thankful that my church’s architecture could not accommodate a crying room, and even if it could, we certainly have so many young families that we could not all crowd in there to accommodate all the cranks. Our pastor remarks on occasion that he is pleased to hear the sighs and squeals and even occasional cry from a young child – it means that there is a new generation being brought up in the Church. Even before I had children, it never bothered me to hear children being children at Mass, and only once or twice can I think of a situation where parents didn’t take out a child who really should have.

        I am derailing a bit, so I will leave it at that, but I do think faithful parents bringing their children to Mass is a MUCH smaller “problem” than the adult chatterboxes.

        • If your children are too young to behave during Mass, perhaps you should leave them at home. Although it doesn’t bother you to hear “children being children” at Mass, it bothers others. Please think twice before you impose your standards about when a child should or should not be taken out of Mass; it is not about you or your children- it is about common civility. Remember the idea of “… for the good of the greater whole?” Why are so many parents stiffly refusing to be considerate of others? What is this teaching your children (and everyone else)? I am sorry to read that people think that accommodating a noisy 15-month-old is more important than allowing the faithful to worship in reverence. Why should I go to Mass only to have my patience tried? I am very glad my church has a Cry Room. I am, also, very glad that 90% of the parents of small children there have the humble hearts to use it. Respect is an inspiring thing.

          • I agree; parents should be respectful to those who desire to pray in the reverent silence, but is it not also important to bring those children into the family of the Church, to bring them to Christ? Although they cannot grasp the importance of silence nor can they fathom the great truths of the faith, they desire the Lord just as much as you and I.

          • Do we not baptize at infancy, and are those children not members of the Church?

            It is our duty as parents to instruct our children in worship, which includes helping them acclimate to the customs of the temple.

            “Parents should initiate their children at an early age into the mysteries of the faith … and associate them from their tenderest years into the life of the Church” (No. 2225).

            “Let the children come to me and do not prevent them; for the Kingdom of God belongs to such as these” (Luke 18:16).

            The sacrifice of the Mass is a perfect Sacrifice, the worship experience is not. There are all kinds of distractions at Mass. Heck, even the priest can be a distraction. Maybe we should enlist the TSA agents to be the ushers to make sure no children enter the church, or to remove the ones who ruffle your feathers.

            Those children who are instructed at the youngest age behave better than the children who are left out of the church until they’re older. My 2 year old daughter says “Jesus” during the elevation, which a majority of Catholic adults don’t even believe.

            You should applaud parents who dedicate their Mass time to instructing their children, for without the children, who would bury you when you’re dead?

          • 2226 Education in the faith by the parents should begin in the child’s earliest years. This already
            happens when family members help one another to grow in faith by the witness of a Christian life in
            keeping with the Gospel. Family catechesis precedes, accompanies, and enriches other forms of
            instruction in the faith. Parents have the mission of teaching their children to pray and to discover
            their vocation as children of God.[35]
            The parish is the Eucharistic community and the heart of the
            liturgical life of Christian families; it is a privileged place for the catechesis of children and parents.

            2227 Children in turn contribute to the growth in holiness of their parents.[36] Each and everyone
            should be generous and tireless in forgiving one another for offenses, quarrels, injustices, and
            neglect. Mutual affection suggests this. The charity of Christ demands it.[37]

          • Shame on you. What an uncharitable, tacky way to be.

          • Leslie
            Who is being uncharitable now? “Shame on you”

  4. Hey, you didn’t make it to the two-by-four, let alone the Sith force choke!

    • Hey, we’re Catholics…shouldn’t we use the Jedi mind trick instead?

  5. In one parish we visited there were signs posted at the entrance. ” Please maintain Sacred Silence” And at another, the priest came out prior to Mass with announcements asking cell phones be turned off and all conversations to cease until the Mass was over. It worked!

  6. What do you do when it is the USHERS in the back shuckin’, jivin’, and chuckling through the mass?! (sit closer to the front is the only solution I can come up with!).

    • Mary, you have put the spotlight on #1 offender. There is far too much yacking and yammering from ushers, EMHCs choir members and a whole list of folks who should know better–often including,unfortunately, Father Friendly.

      • June 26th: The Ushers in my parish actually chat up people on line to receive Communion, then they loudly chat up people who return from Communion and kneel then they chat loudly among themselves. The Priest urges people to come early for Mass and/or stay on after Mass to pray quietly. Not possible – the chatter is so loud that it’s best to come in just as Mass starts and leave soon after Communion when the chatter gets louder or risk being uncharitable..

  7. I’ve tried most of those. They work better with kids than adults and the more grey the hair, the worse the talking. If it persists, I will shush people out loud! Gutsy, I know, and rude, but they either quiet down or don’t sit near me. Daily mass goers are the worst!

  8. The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is just that .The blatant understanding of our salvation!!! If your Pastor does not bring this point to your attention on a daily basis than he is in much need of your & our PRAYERS & if he does he is also in need of our PRAYERS & YOURS!!! The point is that inside the HOLY OF HOLY is the place That the LORD has always asked us to be the most quiet,understanding & Loving so that we may become one with THE HOLY TRINITY!!!After MASS as we well know there will always be plenty of time for chit chat & discourse

  9. BRILLIANT. I’ll be using these! :)

  10. I think new mothers are so used to the ‘noises’ their adorable babies make that they are unaware how distracting it is for those around them. A move to the outside of the church or vestibule would be good manners on the part of the parent. We come to worship the Lord and talkers and babblers only lessen our concentrated participation.
    Please be more considerate of others.

    • I was in the same boat with you until I had my own kids. While a screaming or at least serially loud child may need to be taken to the vestibule, kids in general make noise, but they’re also part of the body of Christ.

      Why were the disciples shooing the children away from Jesus? Because kids make noise, are distracting and haven’t a clue what’s going on – this was the adult’s time with Jesus. The Lord had a different idea…

      • Thank you for this. I suppose the earlier comment was directed at me. I should clarify, if my son really gets going we do take him out while he calms down. But usually he is easily redirected. The worst glares I ever got, truly, were for individual coos or squeals. I cannot control or anticipate those and I kind of think it’s nuts that I am expected to try by some people. Or that we just shouldn’t be there.

        (And believe me – I am VERY aware of how loud my son can be – not when crying, but when he discovered he could scream. I almost bought earplugs. Wowza.)

        • With all the aborted babies in this world and in this country, it warms my heart to hear a baby’s cry. I am sure Jesus and Mary’s too.

          • Amen, Annie.

            Children can be a lot to handle, but they are such a blessing.

          • They are such a blessing and so are you! I am so touched by mothers and fathers who bring their little ones to Holy Mass.
            God Bless you, and please just politely smile back at those who may act otherwise (-:

          • Amen to the joy of seeing young families at church…..I guess our parish is especially blessed because outlandish behavior seldom occurs , although folks do meet and greet respectfully before services begin.

          • A very pious comment indeed but such piety can open the door to all kinds of
            behavior. First, the problem is not
            kids, its adults who don’t know when to remove them. The problem is not crying
            or cooing, its screaming and yelling.
            The problem may be the priest but not primarily. Lay people need to provide
            examples of “sacred silence” and politely
            ask others to do so. In my parish the
            priest (me) periodically reminds people
            about silence and I must say the people
            have responded well. There is no excuse
            for anyone priest or lay publically
            dressing down anyone for talking but a friendly reminder from those at the altar
            and in the pews has worked wonders in my
            parish. However, there are those who
            continue the noise from time to time:
            always visitors or those who rarely
            attend Mass.

  11. I turn around put my index finger to my lips and say shhhhh and then smile and move my lips to the words please silently. It worked but boy did I get a nasty look. I’m standing up for God’s Holy House.

    • Props to you! That takes courage, but it affects them. I usually endure the chatterboxes, unless it’s flagrant (such as during the Consecration), and often the response is positive, which makes me admire the humility of one who would take such fraternal correction.

  12. I go to daily Mass and as soon as the final blessing is given, people are talking and laughing, not silently, but loudly, as they leave the chapel, but before they get to the door. I just stay behind, hoping for a few minutes of silence after they leave. Another thing that bothers me is that, no matter what the time of the Mass, be it 6 a.m. or 9 a.m. there are one or two persons (the same ones all the time) who arrive late and make a joke about it. I find it very distracting — and rude — to treat Our Lord that way.

  13. I made the following comment in church before Mass to a couple of women engrossed in deep and disruptive conversation – “I’m sorry if my praying is disturbing your conversation. Would you prefer that I go outside and pray?” It didn’t work!!

  14. Screamed at someone once. He left the Church. For good.

    I don’t recommend it. Neither does my confessor.

    • I agree that you were too harsh; however, if someone left the Church just because you yelled at them for talking, then that would indicate a VERY immature faith on THEIR part. So ultimately, they’re the ones with the problem here, not you.

    • Waaay too harsh!

      • K if you were present as Our Lord physically drove out the money changers would you inform Him He was “way to harsh”? NOT! It is the priests resonsibity to silence the rabble. If they fail in this important and very significant duty, they firstly offend Almighty God, then they offend His Mother, the Angels and Saints, and then they offend the innocent persons whom they need to protect from the irreverent, arrogant, self absorbed talkers who disrespect not only their “brothers” but God Himself. These priests should remember the confiteor ” I have sinned….in what I have failed to do” Holy, Holy, Holy…we have no concept of God’s INFINITE MAJESTY. Pray for these misguided “hirelings” whose education has attacked their respect for God whose priest they are! ” If salt shall lose its savour what good is it?” PRAY FOR ALL PRIESTS.

  15. In my parish the altar servers seem to be the only ones who know the rules. These kids are silent. One would think that their example would make a difference. But no.

    On the other hand all of the adults are chatting away. Makes me nuts. Our former pastor would have a fit and let all know that Jesus is here. Shut up!

    I miss him.

  16. maybe best to kneel after Mass and make reparation.

    • Annie, your response shows true Trust in Divine Providence. Extending your suggestion further, I wonder if a fast from talking outwardly and inwardly for the 6 days leading up to Mass each week would be sufficient to draw God’s gracious Mercy for the souls of all our fellow parishioners. We are all at various levels of the spiritual maturity, and praying for each other is paramount. Thank you for your suggestion and the encouragement it provided.

      Albert

      • Albert, I think small, even tiny, sincere reparations/ejaculations throughout the week would certainly please Our Lord greatly. After all, He knows our heart.
        I wouldn’t jump to not talking all week (there could be some pride in that), and of course we talk inwardly to Jesus all the time, and we wouldn’t want to stop that (-:

  17. There was a lot of talking in our Church. We stopped it by the recitation of the Rosary, which we start 25 minutes before Mass.
    For the last few minutes before Mass starts a huge sign is on the screen with an image of Jesus and the words, “Need to talk? Try Me, I listen.”

  18. The even bigger problem is the before and after Mass chatter; I’ve found that people are rarely inconsiderate enough to actually chat during Mass.

    • Depends on where you go. I left one church because there was so much talking DURING THE EUCHARISTIC PRAYER that we couldn’t hear the priest. :o(

  19. My favorite action, and it works every time, is that I turn to them or go to them and ask if they could please talk more quitely as Jesus can’t hear my prayers.

  20. Stupid yaking adults make me want to scream OUT LOUD in church. I teach Gr. 3 students Catechism and they know what proper behaviour is in Church! But not their parents. Oh no, it’s all about their intense need to socialize the minute they enter the Church.

    I feel as if I’m in a Protestant church immeditely when this happens. If you ask them to stop talking because you or someone else is trying to pray they act as if you have just shot them!

    Where has ‘reverence for God and his house’ gone??? Wake up people, it’s not ALL about you at all and certainly not in Church. Stop and think about what you are teaching your children.

    I think this behaviour must surely cause Christ to weep at our self centeredness and ignorance.

  21. I generally use a sharp Shhhh…. on every occasion, sometimes accompanied by a glare.

  22. ? Shhh! Jesus is coming! OR
    Shhh! Jesus is HERE!

    to little old ladies: Sister Angelina will be here in a minute with her ruler

    If you are going to talk, why not talk to our Lord?

    Ever ask yourself why do you come here if not for Jesus?

  23. I’ve been reading all comments with amusement and frustration.

    Here in Dubai, our church is a picnic ground. People answer their phones during mass, have a whispered conversation on the phone during mass and when in queue for confession. Eating toffees, caressing each other, joking is considered normal.

    A slide runs before mass asking people to maintain the sanctity of the church and dress appropriately, however in my 12 years here I have yet to see a priest correct or warn people of this, a few zealous volunteers will do that, however the great hypocrisy continues. I guess the idea to attend Mass is to “register their weekly attendance” with God.

    Needless to say I must have a lot of people hating me for reprimanding them.

    Margurita

    • Oh, dear, outdoor masses really are the most difficult – and having it in a picnic ground is doubly so! It would take a great effort by your pastor to encourage reverence.

  24. Attending the Traditional Latin Mass is the only way I’ve seen that completely eliminates the chatter at Masses. It’s so quiet at those Masses that attending a new rite service is culture (and eardrum)shock…

    • I agree. I also am so blessed to be able to participate in the Traditional Latin Mass, it is so beautiful, there are no words this side of Heaven.

      • Ann, thank you. Loved that! I too am very happy to see children at Mass. As long as they aren’t screaming, I’m fine with a little noise. I certainly don’t want parents to miss Mass over that. I wish so much that we had a Latin Mass here. Those I have attended have been so reverent.

        • Just about every young child I’ve ever seen at the Latin Mass knows how to behave. The only child whom I’ve ever seen run around, talking loudly at that Mass was from a family of visitors who were there for a baptism.

          And I’m fine with a little noise, too. I agree with those who point out that young children belong at Mass, and bit by bit, they can and do learn to behave at Mass. Since it’s a work in progress for the kids, I can definitely not mind a little noise.

          What I’m not fine with are adults and those children who are old enough to know better chatting loud enough before, during, and after Mass (before and after Mass are the worst). What I’m not fine with are parents who think it’s okay to bribe their kids with snacks and sweets during Mass, and who allow their kids toys to distract them *from* Mass (bringing the plush kiddie Mass kit is fine, and adorable, though even there, there’s probably a point where the child is better served by learning to watch the priest). At Mass, we participate in the liturgy of Heaven; Scott Hahn points out very aptly that “Heaven touches down on earth” at Mass. There, we get a little bit of Heaven into us (Mother Theresa’s words)– so why are we and our kids bringing our “stuff” to Mass when “you can’t take it with you,” and we should learn to “store up our treasures in Heaven”? What I am also not fine with are adults who disingenuously use the “Jesus told the little children to come to Him!” line as an excuse for the irreverent behavior of themselves and their children (yes, Jesus beckoned the little children to him, and cooing and gurgling noises are more than okay. But if your kid is running around throughout Mass, thinking that they’re Spiderman or Superman, there’s a good chance that the last thing on their minds is Jesus).

          The thing about older, more traditional churches is that there were tons of things that would help you train your eye and focus toward the things of Heaven. All that beautiful stained glass. All the statues of the saints. Stations of the Cross that actually *look* like Stations of the Cross, etc. One had an opportunity, therefore, to take a disruptive child firmly but lovingly by the hand and use it as an ample opportunity for catechesis. But now, with our ugly, bland, banal, and utilitarian church architecture that emphasizes the horizontal at the expense of the vertical (when Catholic worship is both simultaneously), the chances of that are essentially *zilcho*. All of that stuff wasn’t there “just for pretty”: without it, our focus more easily wanders elsewhere.

  25. The wife’s got it. being the accompanist, reverent prelude music shuts most of them up before mass and sets the tone. Otherwise, read the readings before mass, read prayers just prior to mass, close your eyes and concentrate on the priest/lector during the mass.

  26. Great post.

    I would like to gently call attention to the phrase “the physical presence of God is on the altar.” According to magisterial teaching, the presence of Jesus Christ is substantial, not physical. Christ’s presence would only be physical if the accidental change matched the substantial change.

    Otherwise, a most useful post!

    God bless,
    (Deacon-Elect) Matthew Hysell MA MTh
    Archdiocese of Edmonton

    • Thanks for the note. I suppose I’ll have to go reread Ratramnus…

  27. I once read that the best of all times for prayer is after receiving Holy Communion. I stay after Mass to pray, and at most parishes that is when bedlam breaks lose. People chatter like it’s a cocktail party, even right up in front of the tabernacle. I want to cry sometimes, because I desire so to be with my lover, the Lord.

    I found after I discovered praying after communion, that it brought profound depth to my spiritual life. Who would be most opposed to this, if not the evil one? People who are prayerful and in a state of grace quickly know by faith that God is there in the Blessed Sacrament, and naturally are reverent and drawn to silence. They want to go deeper into a time of prayer with God.

    Jesus said that those who do not believe are blinded by their own sins. I think that the chatter and irreverence is not just ignorance or being inconsiderate. It is spiritual blindness brought on by a spiritual death, the state of sin. People cannot sense God’s presence because they cannot hear his voice. They cannot hear his voice, because they are deafened by the roar of their conscience which cannot bear silence because of what they might hear otherwise.

    How many Catholics at Mass have missed Sunday Mass and not gone to confession, and then received communion, a sacrilege? Or how many use contraceptives? (90% surveys say…) The church teaches that these are serious matters, the basis of mortal sin, death of the life of grace in the soul.

    There is more to the chatter than its being annoying; we are in a spiritual battle, and there is no doubt about it. It’s gonna take more than shooshing people to change things.

    • Wow, Mike, well said. I go to the Latin Mass where this doesn’t happen, but at the local Masses it does, and you have pretty much summed up the whole Spiritual Battle that I also believe is at the core.

    • Mike, Your response shows the very serious nature of sin. It evokes a great need for Charity and Trust in Divine Providence. I wonder if a fast from talking outwardly and inwardly for the 6 days leading up to Mass each week would be sufficient to draw God’s gracious Mercy for ALL the souls of our fellow parishioners. We are all at various levels of the spiritual journey, and praying and fasting for each other is paramount. Thank you for your suggestion and the encouragement it provided.

      Albert

  28. wheat and tares comes to mind

  29. When the sacrosanct older Folk sit in a Particular row like the back of the Church simply to chat 15-20 Minutes before mass place a small Flyer in each seat stating: Their have been complaints about the Irreverant conversations, disturbing other parishioners who came early to spend some quiet Time with Chist. Please show defernce to your fellow Parishioners in Prayer, Chat after Mass with Your Pew
    mates. Thanks for your Kind Consideration. Did it twice and No Problem again!

  30. I mentioned my concern about the chatter before Mass to my Adult Catechism class, and wished if it were possile to close the doors from the atrium into the church proper. My reasoning was: with the doors open, the whole church becomes the atrium. One of my students, an usher, asked the Director of Worship if we could close the doors, and she said “yes”. I have noticed that less talking is taking place. However, after Mass, when I wish to speak to and listen to Jesus substantially present within me in reverent silence – that is a struggle. I just bury my head and close my eyes and try to pray. Another thing I do at daily Mass is go to a side chapel where it is quiet and pray.

  31. Seems to me this all started when they took the Tabernacle from the Sanctuary!

  32. My husband and I attend the traditional Latin Mass and it is not a problem! No one speaks, no one,except babies and no one minds the babies at all. If they start to cry or fuss too much the parents have the option to go into the hall where Mass is televised on a large screen. Children 3 or older know how to behave at Mass almost all the time. Almost 100% of all the congregation stays after Mass for thanksgiving prayers with the priest. The only time we ever got the people to shut up at a Norvus Ordo Mass was when we were praying for a newly deceased member of our family and my husband got up ,walked over and whispered to them this information- I myself was pretty much distraught which they could see. If the priest doesn’t insist on proper manners and decorum you might as well forget it . It has got to start w/ him.

  33. After confession on Saturday afternoon, (I happened to be the last penitent in line) our priest discovered me in a hallway storage room. He asked what I was doing in there and I replied that there is no quiet place within the church sanctuary to prayer and do my penance. He replied, “that is pretty sad state when you have to leave the church building to find quiet.”
    Worse yet it is the seniors / elderly who should know better.

  34. Maybe the seniors and the elderly DO know better. Maybe you are taking yourself too seriously.
    Jesus liked the little children just as they are. He said heaven is like that. must be noisy up there.

  35. The last time I quieted down a man doing stand up comedy in the pew to the raucous delight of his audience in the pew, I walked over to his pew and in a voice loud enough for the whole church to hear, I told him to be quiet, this is a church. And then they were indeed silent.

  36. The stupid “speak to those around you” instruction you hear before many Masses does not help and sets the tone…it’s talking time! The horizontal, people-centered focus of the modern liturgy doesn’t help, either. It would help a great deal if priests would talk about it, emphasize it, during homilies. Often. But, sadly, too many priests are too timid and eager to be *liked* to dare risk offending the impious.

    • Agree with you completely, Phil. The Priest is the Father. In Truth and Charity, it should come from him first.

    • In some of parishes in my diocese, the priests and deacons (and “pastoral administrators”), before Mass, walk up and down the center aisle greeting people in the pews in normal conversational tones.

  37. Phil summed it all up for us. This is not our job; it is the parish priest’s job to ensure the House of the Lord is honoured and his parishioners are able to pray in peace. It would take a month of Sundays of gentle reminders from the pulpit and the problem would be solved.

    • It is our job to speak up when one sees an error. If we don’t we are just as culpable. Is not correcting listed as a work of mercy? Did not the early Christian martyrs die than disgrace the Eucharist? We are called to speak up every one of us. We promised to defend the faith at our confirmation.

  38. It’s like any teacher. They set the tone for the classroom. Our priest thinks its just wonderful when people walk in when mass is half over and are disruptive. He says, “at least they got here”. It’s this type of attitude that makes one not want to go to mass. There are kids running in and out of pews constantly. The screaming, talking during mass, a third of those going to communion walk straight out the door after receiving our Lord. It’s a farse. Now they’ve taken the kneeler away from the Blessed Sacrament. This chaos is too much, not to mention being gassed out from everyone’s excessive perfume/cologne. Oh yeah, Father said he won’t approach this problem either as he can’t accommodate every little sickness due to asthma, copd, etc….he’d rather be popular than offend any of his parishioners. I leave there feeling worse than before I went. This is where we are. Unbelievable.

    • Father should read the accounts of purgetory of priests who were afraid to correct and speak the truth. There is a recent you tube video of a priest who died and had a near death experience. He was going to hell for this until Our Lady interceded. He states he speaks up now

  39. I have to say, after reading some of the comments I’m rather grateful for my parish church! We do get a bit of chaos before/after Sunday Mass (in the 20 minutes of overlap as people are both going out and coming in), but I can’t remember running into chatter during the Mass or any other time of the week. We even have several holy hours that are nearly all silence.

    I get more frustrated with the people that nearly push me out of my pew while I’m still singing the closing hymn. I get anxious when I’m hemmed in so nearly always take an end seat on the pew, but still, singing hymns are a form of prayer and it’s mind-boggling to me that someone would interrupt that so they could rush out of the church that much faster.

    • Keep singing and don’t give in. They will get the point

  40. Are we not required to speak the truth when one sees error? One of the works of mercy is guiding those in error. It is not judging when we correct. Did not the early Christians die for the Eucharist and is this not required of all of us? It is time to stop enabling bad behavior. I have begun to speak up and oh well if I am not liked. Christ said that those who speak the truth would be dispised

  41. I’ve endured the “cocktail” conversations et. al. for months before switching my weekly Mass to Fridays at noon. It’s offered in the Adoration Chapel and is splendidly reverent. I do worry that I may be in the wrong for not attending Sat/Sun Mass…

    Any thoughts?

    • Mass on a weekday cannot fulfill the obligation to attend Sunday Mass. Sunday is the day Christ rose from the dead and instituted for the communal celebration of the Eucharist. Sunday Mass is also very different liturgically from weekday Mass. It has been obligatory to attend Mass on Sundays since the earliest days of the Church (Saturday night anticipatory Masses are litugrically Sunday Masses and fulfill the obligation). Further, it is classified as a mortal sin to miss Sunday Mass intentionally and without a just reason.

      The Code of Canon Law
      Can.  1247 On Sundays and other holy days of obligation, the faithful are obliged to participate in the Mass.

      Moreover, they are to abstain from those works and aVairs which hinder the worship to be rendered to God, the joy proper to the Lord’s day, or the suitable relaxation of mind and body.

      Do your soul and your guardian angel a favor, get back to Sunday Mass, even if there are lots of talkers. :-)

      • Thank you; I’ve been trying to “not see” that which you’ve pointed-out. I know that you’re right. There has to be a way through this that both preserves my soul AND avoids the ruining of my precious time with Our Lord. The irony!

        I mean, the conversations break out AS our priest is turning from the altar to process towards the back of church; only the choir (and a few of the congregation) sings the recessional hymn. It’s awfully hard to maintain the inner peace that could/should be gained from Mass.

        But thank you for the hard facts. I DO watch Sunday’s Mass on EWTN in (hopeful) reparation…

        Glennonite

        • Glennonite, please go to Confession and confess what you’ve just intimated here. I sympathize with your predicament, but this is not the way: if we make it more about “our” sacred silence and “our” time with the Lord, we make it less about the Lord and more about us. See how this can trip us up?

          A lot of other people would see about going to a different parish to get away from the irreverence (I sympathize there, too, though I’m not entirely sure that’s the best way, either). I have a further suggestion, though I sure wish I didn’t have to suggest this at all, particularly *during Mass*: re-learn and rediscover how to “offer it up.” Catholic worship, after all, is about sacrifice, and not just “praise.” Focus on the Crucifix during Mass at all times, and all the harder if somebody else’s shenanigans (in some cases, this can even involve the “sacred” music…) are distracting you. If it were any time that the words “Jesus, I trust in You” were more fitting, it’s then. Ditto “O My Jesus, forgive us our sins, save us from the fires of Hell; lead all souls to Heaven, especially those who are in need of thy mercy” (wherein we would include ourselves). And in the off-chance that your parish does not actually have a Crucifix (God forbid), then bring one to Mass with you. I find that tuning in to that Crucifix means that I can far better tune out everything else.

          • WSquared:

            I hear you; I’m back to offering it up. I understand. Thanks for the gentle shove. ;)

            Glennonite

  42. I’m a young woman, and I’ve tried number 5 with some old ladies after Mass once or twice(the ol’ stay-in-the-church-for-hours-to-chat-and-make-sure-it’s-not-a-prayerful-atmosphere crowd), and I got in response an agreement to leave the church to continue the convo, followed by a resentful look from the lead chatter.

  43. Pope Paul VI said that the smoke of satan has entered the church. What better way to please satan than to disrespect the Real Presence of Our Lord by his own people chattering away in church. Does anyone realize that it is a venial sin to carry on unnececessary conversations in church? It’s an offense against the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Do the words of Our Lord no longer mean anything when He calls his House a House of Prayer? Or has this changed? If so, when, and who dare contradict the His words?

    Bottom line is we have lost our sense of the Sacred.

  44. Since we cannot change others’ behaviors, I would propose to reverent churchgoers to recite the Divine Praises in reparation for profane language in church.

    The dictionary defines profane language by:

    1. irreverence or contempt for God or sacred principles or things; irreligious.

    2. not devoted to holy or religious purposes; unconsecrated; secular ( opposed to sacred).

    3. unholy; heathen; pagan: profane rites.

    4. not initiated into religious rites or mysteries, as persons.

    5. common or vulgar.

    Profane language is irreverent because it is not directed to God; it is not devoted to any holy or religious purpose; it is not an initiation into the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass; and it is vulgar or common when it centers on oneself instead of adoring the Lord.

    If one cannot recite the Divine Praises in reparation for this abuse, then one can say: May the Sacred Heart of Jesus be praised, adored and loved with grateful affection at every moment in all the Tabernacles of the World even to the end of time Amen.

    • Frank, well said. I have been sticking my fingers in my ears but amazingly many look at me but continue to talk. I have been saying the Divine Praises. Thank you for stating what this behavior truly is, profane. God Bless

  45. I would agree that mature folks are the biggest “perpetrators” of this practice. And with older age and hearing aids, etc, their “whispers” can be quite loud. In the churches I visit, however, it is chiefly only done before and after Mass, not during. And while I too have been distracted by such while praying before Mass, I’ll gladly trade that prayer time for the fraternity and community these folks enjoy by seeing their friends at Mass.

    While I am content to simply go to Mass for the liturgy and leave immediately after, most Protestant denominations coordinate more social functions in with their services and engender a more welcoming, social scene. Lapsed Catholics seeking spirituality often find this appealing and buy-in. While we can contend that these denominations are theologically flawed and do not contain the fullness of truth that the Church does, that is of little consequence to one of our fallen angels looking for renewed spirituality and a sense of community.

    Again, I personally am not seeking a social scene when I attend Mass and talking during the liturgy is not acceptable, but I think we need to strike a balance to accommodate all our brethren who seek not only God at Mass, but also the company of their fellow believers. If we do not offer something to that portion of our faithful who seek such things, we will continue to lose these people to evangelical and bible-based churches.

    • Want fellowship? Leave the sanctuary and talk out there. Pretty simple. The behavior demonstrates a total disregard for those who are trying to pray. It is all about me society wreaks its ugly head even in church

  46. One Easter Sunday I couldn’t take it anymore. A lady behind me was conversing in a full voice throughout the Mass. When she started up again during the Gospel reading, as the resurrection was about to be proclaimed I lost my patience and turned around and discreetly put my finger on my lips as if to say “shhhh”, but I didn’t make a sound.
    I don’t know what I expected her response to be, but was unprepared for what happened next. In a loud voice she announced (the gospel is still being read, mind you) “You’re not my mother!!”
    I was mortified and couldn’t help it – but tears started falling from my eyes! I collected myself by the kiss of peace and attempted to reconcile with a handshake but she wouldn’t reciprocate.
    On the way home my husband and kids said that I shouldn’t have done what I did, while acknowledging the inappropriateness of the woman’s behavior.
    So, my lesson was learned…I will never do it again. I will simply pray for patience and understanding and try to focus on the Mass instead of other’s behavior.

    • Anna, never apologize for doing the right thing. You did not embarass the woman, she embarassed herself by her lack of respect during the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. Her ignorance of where she was should be pitied but never tolerated. There is a time and place for everything and gabbing in Church is disrespectful towards the Lord and those who are there to truly worship him. She was there to worship herself. You honored the Lord by what you did and suffered for it. Many would not have been as courageous in speaking up for Christ. Good job!

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