Yes, it is quite appropriate for the laity to be
silent/quiet in church. As the maxim goes...
"Silence is Golden in the House of the Lord."
Note that this includes the time before and after Mass as
well as all other times outside of Mass (most especially during Eucharistic
Adoration and Confession). Some relevant quotations are below...
"But the LORD is in his holy temple; silence before him,
all the earth!" (Hab. 2:20)
"Silence in the presence of the Lord GOD!" (Zeph. 1:7)
"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)
Women should be
especially on guard regarding silence in church as Holy Scripture says...
"As in all the churches of the holy ones, women should
keep silent in the churches, for they are not allowed to speak, but should be
subordinate, as even the law says. But if they want to learn anything, they
should ask their husbands at home. For it is improper for a woman to speak in
the church. Did the word of God go forth from you? Or has it come to you
alone? If anyone thinks that he is a prophet or a spiritual person, he should
recognize that what I am writing to you is a commandment of the Lord."
(St. Paul, as inspired by the Holy Spirit, in 1 Cor. 14:33-37, emphasis
here for a related flier ('Silence in Church') which may contain the above
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