According to St.
Ambrose, Doctor of the Church...
are at times fitting and pleasant, nevertheless they are incompatible with the
According to St.
Francis of Assisi... (emphasis added)
that religious who takes no pleasure and joy except in the most holy words and
deeds of the Lord and with these leads people to the love of God in joy and
gladness. Woe to that religious who delights in idle and frivolous words and
with these provokes people to laughter."
When one considers
that church is a house of prayer and that the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is the
re-presentation of Calvary, the inappropriateness of jokes & laughter become
quite clear. Some other relevant quotations appear below...
"When you hear
Mass, do you come in the same frame of mind as the Blessed Virgin at Calvary?
Because it is the same God, and the same Sacrifice." (St. John Vianney)
[those who] are receiving the unshakable kingdom should have gratitude, with
which we should offer worship pleasing to God in reverence and awe." (St. Paul,
"Holy things must
be treated in a holy way and this sacrifice is the most holy of all things."
(Council of Trent)
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)
"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)
"Keep my sabbaths,
and reverence my sanctuary. I am the LORD." (Lev. 26:2)
"Serve the LORD
with fear; with trembling bow down in homage" (Ps. 2:11)
exhortation of the Apostle, 'Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ
Jesus,' requires that all Christians should possess, as far as humanly possible,
the same dispositions as those which the divine Redeemer had when He offered
Himself in sacrifice: that is to say, they should in a humble attitude of mind,
pay adoration, honor, praise and thanksgiving to the supreme majesty of God.
Moreover, it means that they must assume to some extent the character of a
victim, that they deny themselves as the Gospel commands, that freely and of
their own accord they do penance and that each detests and satisfies for his
sins. It means, in a word, that we must all undergo with Christ a mystical death
on the cross so that we can apply to ourselves the words of St. Paul, 'With
Christ I am nailed to the cross.'" (Pope Pius XII, "Mediator Dei", 1947
priests act in the place of Christ and we do not see Christ making jokes in Holy
Scripture. Nor do we see the Lord provoking people to laughter especially – of
all places – in God's house!
Besides the above, priests should definitely NOT be
encouraging the laity to laugh in the Lord's house considering that so many lay persons today already seem unaware
of how to act appropriately in the church. The priest should set a good example,
not provoke bad behavior! If you wouldn't laugh during the crucifixion of Christ
(and is not the very thought of that horrifying?), you shouldn't laugh
during the re-presentation of Calvary – the Holy SACRIFICE of the Mass.
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