Unfortunately, lack of
reverence in church has been a big problem since
Vatican II. Sadly, some Catholics seem to think Mass is a 'religious party'
or Catholic social event, rather than the re-presentation of Calvary. Others act
as if the church was a hall or playground rather than God's house & a house of
prayer. In some parishes, truths such as the following seem all but forgotten...
"But the LORD is in his holy temple; silence before him,
all the earth!" (Hab. 2:20)
"Therefore, we who are receiving the unshakable kingdom
should have gratitude, with which we should offer worship pleasing to God in
reverence and awe. For our God is a consuming fire." (Heb. 12:28-29)
"Nothing so becomes a church as silence and good order.
Noise belongs to theatres, and baths, and public processions, and market-places:
but where doctrines, and such doctrines, are the subject of teaching, there
should be stillness, and quiet, and calm reflection, and a haven of much
repose." (St. John Chrysostom, Doctor of the Church)
"Let all mortal flesh be silent, standing there...in fear
and trembling; for the King of kings, the Lord of lords, Christ our God is about
to be sacrificed and to be given as food to the faithful." (St. James)
"When you are before the altar where Christ reposes, you
ought no longer to think that you are amongst men; but believe that there are
troops of angels and archangels standing by you, and trembling with respect
before the sovereign Master of Heaven and earth. Therefore, when you are in
church, be there in silence, fear, and veneration." (St. John Chrysostom, Doctor
of the Church)
IMHO, much of the
confusion may be traced to revolutionary changes made to the Mass in the 1960's
here) and to poor catechesis. Sadly, even some priests today may be poorly
As to a resolution,
the most timely one would require priests & Church leaders to step up. At times,
however, this seems a distant hope. Yet, we must not give up asking our leaders
to do so, and even educating them if necessary & appropriate.
In the meantime, laity
can have an influence with their own good behavior, in educating others, in
sharing helpful resources, etc. Perhaps useful information might also be posted
in the bulletin, passed out in fliers, or published on the parish website. And
of course prayer is essential.
Catholics seeking an
immediate refuge may want to locate a parish that lawfully celebrates the
Traditional Latin ('Tridentine') Mass. Parishes that celebrate this reverent,
awe-inspiring Mass (which is VERY much different than today's 'English
Masses' – and NOT just the language) often tend to foster much more appropriate
behavior. You may find that not only does the exceptionally holy & reverent
Traditional Latin Mass offer a marvelous refuge from the irreverence often found
Novus Ordo Masses, but it may also provide an abundance of spiritual fruit.
For a list of parishes offering the TLM, try the 'Tridentine Mass Listings' link
here. For more information on the Traditional Latin Mass, please try
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