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Proper Behavior in Church

Return to Church Talk Section

Gothic Style Catholic Church

Proper Church Conduct

"Therefore, [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, Heb. 12:28) 


Catholics are the most blessed of all people on this earth. We are able to daily receive the incomparable (and unmerited) gift of the precious Body & Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ in Holy Communion. It would seem that reverence due this great gift would need no instruction. Regrettably, however, it is not uncommon to see those at Holy Mass act and dress in such a manner appropriate not even for a picnic. 

How can such scandalous behavior and dress not be offensive to our Lord? Do we forget that St. Paul tells us that whoever receives Holy Communion unworthily "will have to answer for the body and blood of the Lord" (1 Cor. 11:27)? Does it make no impression on us that the wedding guest in Christ's parable was thrown out into the darkness "where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth" (see Mt. 22) because he failed to wear the proper garment? Do we forget that we will have to answer for every single action of ours at our judgment? Do we fool ourselves into thinking that the Lord has no concern over our appearance and actions? Do we hope to be saved by blaming our behavior on our "just doing what everyone else does"? 

God forbid that we make such mistakes! Considering that the very purpose for which we were created is "to know, love, and serve God", our failure to faithfully do so can only be ruinous. We hope that the short introduction provided herein and the resources provided below may be helpful in correcting such abuses.

"All the faithful should be aware that to participate in the eucharistic sacrifice is their chief duty and supreme dignity, and that not in an inert and negligent fashion, giving way to distractions and day-dreaming, but with such earnestness and concentration that they may be united as closely as possible with the High Priest" (Pope Pius XII, Mediator Dei)

"Do's" and "Don'ts" of Church Conduct

For the glory and honor of God and for the benefit of yourself and of all parishioners, please make note of the following Church Conduct Do's and Don'ts:

Church Conduct "Do's":

  • Recognize and appreciate that Mass is the re-presentation of Calvary. Mass is not a party! Socializing should be conducted outside the church building (i.e. in the hall). 

"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)

"Now the 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)

  • Remember the maxim: "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). 

"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) 

"Silence in the presence of the Lord GOD!" (Zeph. 1:7)

"But the LORD is in his holy temple; silence before him, all the earth!" (Hab. 2:20)

"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) 

"The worship rendered by the Church to God must be, in its entirety, interior as well as exterior... But the chief element of divine worship must be interior" (Pope Pius XII, Mediator Dei)

Talkative women should take special note of St. Paul's admonition in 1 Cor. 14:33-37:

 "...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.... what I am writing to you is a commandment of the Lord." (St. Paul, 1 Cor. 14:33-37) [Note: See Resources for printable flier on this topic]

  • Attend each Mass as if it was your first - and last one.

  • Arrive early and prepare properly for the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.

  • Focus on the priest (who is in the place of Christ) during Mass, not on your neighbor. No time is more advantageous to you for gaining graces. [For more information, try the Sacraments Section.]

  • Acquire and use an appropriate missal during Mass.

  • Wear appropriate clothing to church. Clothing should be modest and should not be tight-fighting or clingy. Bathing suits, shorts, halter tops, and t-shirts are unsuitable attire, as are sleeveless dresses, low cut tops, skirts above the knees, tops exposing the stomach or back, clothes with advertising or logos, see-thru clothing, suggestive clothing, etc. (If you cannot afford appropriate attire, contact a good Catholic charity for assistance in obtaining proper church clothing.)

"Give to the LORD the glory due his name! Bring gifts, and enter his presence; worship the LORD in holy attire. Tremble before him, all the earth; he has made the world firm, not to be moved." (1 Chron. 16:29-30)

"The dress of the body should not discredit the good of the soul." (St. Cyprian)

"A person who is about to make a request to a secular prince takes pains to compose himself and his words by decent dress, becoming gesture, regulated speech and close attention of mind. How much more careful ought he to be in all these things when he is about to pray to almighty God in a sacred place!" (Council of Basel)

"One cannot sufficiently deplore the blindness of so many women of every age and condition; made foolish by desire to please, they do not see to what a degree the indecency of their clothing shocks every honest man, and offends God. Most of them would formerly have blushed for such apparel as for a grave fault against Christian modesty; now it does not suffice for them to exhibit themselves on the public thoroughfares; they do not fear to cross the threshold of the Churches to assist at the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, and even to bear the seducing food of shameful passions to the Eucharistic Table where one receives the heavenly Author of purity. And We speak not of those exotic and barbarous dances recently imported into fashionable circles, one more shocking than the other; one cannot imagine anything more suitable for banishing all the remains of modesty." (Pope Benedict XV)

"Women must be decently dressed, especially when they go to church. The parish priest may, with due prudence, refuse them entrance to the church and access to the reception of the Sacraments, each and every time that they come to the church immodestly dressed." (General Pastoral Directive, 20th Century A.D.)

"Similarly, (too,) women should adorn themselves with proper conduct, with modesty and self-control, not with braided hairstyles and gold ornaments, or pearls, or expensive clothes, but rather, as befits women who profess reverence for God, with good deeds." (St. Paul, 1 Tm. 2:9-10)

"A man's attire, his hearty laughter and his gait, proclaim him for what he is." (Sirach 19:26)

  • Women of all ages are encouraged to wear a head covering as directed by St. Paul in the Bible (see 1 Cor. 11:4-16). 

"But any woman who prays or prophesies with her head unveiled brings shame upon her head, for it is one and the same thing as if she had had her head shaved. For if a woman does not have her head veiled, she may as well have her hair cut off. But if it is shameful for a woman to have her hair cut off or her head shaved, then she should wear a veil. A man, on the other hand, should not cover his head, because he is the image and glory of God, but woman is the glory of man. For man did not come from woman, but woman from man; nor was man created for woman, but woman for man; for this reason a woman should have a sign of authority on her head, because of the angels." (St. Paul, 1 Cor. 11:5-10) [Note: See Resources for printable flier on this topic]

  • Turn off phones, pagers, alarms, etc. before entering the church.

  • Bless yourself with holy water and make a good sign of the cross upon entering the church (recalling the gift of your baptism).

  • Genuflect towards the Tabernacle and make a sign of the Cross before entering the pew and when passing the Tabernacle. Remember that the Holy Eucharist contains the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of the Lord Jesus Christ. Nothing on earth is more holy. If you do not treat It reverently, what on earth is sacred to you?

  • Adopt an attitude of piety, humility, and reverence while in church.

"[You should approach more reverently than if you] were about to approach all the rulers in the whole world seated together in one place." (St. Thomas More)

"But, assuredly, all of the duties which man has to fulfill, that without doubt, is the chiefest and holiest which commands him to worship God with devotion and piety." (Pope Leo XIII)

"Holy things must be treated in a holy way and this sacrifice is the most holy of all things." (Council of Trent)

"The LORD'S eyes are upon the reverent" (Ps. 33:18)

"Keep my sabbaths, and reverence my sanctuary. I am the LORD." (Lev. 26:2)

"[E]xternal actions are signs of internal reverence" (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

"Among sins opposed to religion, the more grievous is that which is the more opposed to the reverence due to God." (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

"[T]he end of religion is to pay reverence to God. Wherefore whatever pertains directly to irreverence for God is opposed to religion." (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

  • Noisy or distracting children should be taken outside the church, taken to the crying room, or left with appropriate babysitters.

  • Some parishioners need to be seated at the end of an isle for medical or other reasons. Respect their needs.

  • Pay attention to the priest during Mass. Note, however, that it is acceptable to pray the Rosary (silently) during Mass as indicated by Pope Pius XII:

"So varied and diverse are men's talents and characters that it is impossible for all to be moved and attracted to the same extent by community prayers, hymns and liturgical services. Moreover, the needs and inclinations of all are not the same, nor are they always constant in the same individual. Who, then, would say, on account of such a prejudice, that all these Christians cannot participate in the Mass nor share its fruits? On the contrary, they can adopt some other method which proves easier for certain people; for instance, they can lovingly meditate on the mysteries of Jesus Christ or perform other exercises of piety or recite prayers which, though they differ from the sacred rites, are still essentially in harmony with them." (Pope Pius XII, Mediator Dei, On the Sacred Liturgy, 1947)

Note: If you pray the Rosary during Mass, be careful not to make noise with your Rosary beads. This can be very distracting to those around you.

  • Observe the required Eucharistic fast. Note that this is considered a grave obligation.

  • When the sacred Host is elevated during the Consecration, say silently "My Lord and My God". Historically, indulgences have been attached to this practice.

"All those are damned who see the Sacrament of the Body of Christ on the altar in the form of bread and wine by the words of our Lord in the hands of the priest, yet do not see or believe in spirit and in God that this is really the most holy Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ." (St. Francis of Assisi)

  • Show the utmost respect and honor for the Holy Eucharist. Remember, you have the undeniable right to receive Holy Communion on the tongue. Do not feel compelled to put the Blessed Eucharist in your hand and self-communicate (one should not consume the Bread of Life as one consumes fast food!). Occasionally, a priest may be confused if few parishioners take Holy Communion on the tongue - simply be patient with the priest and remember that your right to receive Holy Communion on the tongue cannot be disputed. Be firm, but patient.

"Wherever I go in the whole world, the thing that makes me the saddest is watching people receive Communion in the hand." (Mother Teresa)

Note: Modernists / liberals ["the worst enemies of the Church" (Bl. Pope Pius IX) and "the most pernicious of all the adversaries of the Church" (Pope St. Pius X)] have rejected the traditional practice of receiving Holy Communion only from priests and have fostered the Protestant-inspired practice of 'self-communicating' (instituted by the Protestant 'Reformers' to discourage belief in the Real Presence). The indult to receive Holy Communion in the hand is a result of their disobedience and has led to many abuses against the Holy Eucharist. Contentious Catholics should follow the general practice of the popes (Holy Communion administered to the faithful on the tongue by priests) and reject the act of self-communicating. It is your undeniable right to receive Holy Communion on the tongue. Consistent with Catholic tradition, Catholics should always do their utmost to receive the Holy Eucharist only from the consecrated hands of a priest. For more information, try the Catholic News/Current Issues section.

  • Receive Holy Communion directly from the priest (it may be necessary to switch Communion lines to receive from the priest).

"In the sacramental reception it has always been the custom in the Church of God that the laity receive Communion from the priests and that priests who are celebrating Mass give Communion to themselves. This custom should rightly and deservedly be kept as coming down from apostolic tradition." (Council of Trent)

"[L]aymen are officially incompetent to dispense any sacrament: and that they can baptize in cases of necessity, is due to the Divine dispensation, in order that no one may be deprived of spiritual regeneration." (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

"For just as temple, altar, vessels, and vestments need to be consecrated, so do the ministers who are ordained for the Eucharist; and this consecration is the sacrament of Order [that is, Holy Orders]." (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

"The dispensing of Christ's body belongs to the priest for three reasons. First, because...he consecrates as in the person of Christ. But as Christ consecrated His body at the supper, so also He gave it to others to be partaken of by them. Accordingly, as the consecration of Christ's body belongs to the priest, so likewise does the dispensing belong to him. Secondly, because the priest is the appointed intermediary between God and the people; hence as it belongs to him to offer the people's gifts to God, so it belongs to him to deliver consecrated gifts to the people. Thirdly, because out of reverence towards this sacrament, nothing touches it, but what is consecrated; hence the corporal and the chalice are consecrated, and likewise the priest's hands, for touching this sacrament. Hence it is not lawful for anyone else to touch it except from necessity, for instance, if it were to fall upon the ground, or else in some other case of urgency." (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

Note: In the wake of the Second Vatican Council of the 1960's, the Church has tolerated the use of so-called 'Extraordinary ministers' (lay people distributing Holy Communion) under special circumstances. They were to be tolerated only under extraordinary circumstances - they were not to be a permanent fixture. Unfortunately, this practice has resulted in much abuse to the Holy Eucharist and has served to blur the distinction between lay people and priests. It has also served to clearly show the wisdom of the apostolic tradition (and its continued practice for hundreds and hundreds of years) forbidding lay people to touch Holy Communion. [Note: The terms 'Eucharistic ministers' and 'Extraordinary minister of the Eucharist' are both incorrect - the correct term is 'Extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion'.] As indicated above, Catholics should always do their utmost to receive the Holy Eucharist only  from the consecrated hands of a priest. 

  • If at all possible, receive Holy Communion in a kneeling position. Also, kneel after receiving Holy Communion (if you are physically able). Also kneel during other appropriate points in the Mass, regardless of what others may be doing. You are responsible to God only for your own piety in worship. 

"It is, therefore, the keen desire of the Church that all of the faithful kneel at the feet of the Redeemer to tell Him how much they venerate and love Him." (Pope Pius XII, Mediator Dei)

"In the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those that are in heaven, on earth, and under the earth" (St. Paul, Phil. 2:10)

"I bend my knee to the Father of my Lord Jesus Christ, from whom all paternity in heaven and on earth is named" (St. Paul, Eph. 3:14)

"Enter, let us bow down in worship; let us kneel before the LORD who made us." (Ps. 95:6)

"['The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank you, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this Publican.' (Lk. 18:11)] It is said 'standing,' to denote his haughty temper. For his very posture betokens his extreme pride." (St. Theophylact)

"But as when the Body of our Lord lay in the sepulcher, Angels are said to have stood by, so also at the time of consecration are they to be believed to stand by the mysteries of Christ. Let us then after the example of the devout women, whenever we approach the heavenly mysteries because of the presence of the Angels, or from reverence to the Sacred Offering, with all humility, bow our faces to the earth, recollecting that we are but dust and ashes." (St. Bede the Venerable, Doctor of the Church)

"But what means His bending of knees? of which it is said, 'And he kneeled down, and prayed'. It is the way of men to pray to their superiors with their faces on the ground, testifying by the action that the greater of the two are those who are asked. Now it is plain that human nature contains nothing worthy of God's imitation. Accordingly the tokens of respect which we evince to one another, confessing ourselves to be inferior to our neighbors, we have transferred to the humiliation of the Incomparable Nature. And thus He who bore our sicknesses and interceded for us, bent His knee in prayer, by reason of the man which He assumed, giving us an example, that we ought not to exalt ourselves at the time of prayer, but in all things be conformed to humility; for God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble." (St. Gregory of Nyssa)

"Throughout Scripture, lay people, prophets, and saints have prostrated themselves or bowed down before God. Moses, Aaron, Abraham, and Joshua are but a few of those who are shown to prostrate themselves in the Bible. In the New Testament, the magi prostrate in front of the infant Jesus, as does the man tormented by unclean spirits, and as do the apostles at the Transfiguration of Jesus. In Revelation, the heavenly beings also prostrate... Jesus himself prostrates in prayer before his Father. If you would bend your knee for an earthly king or queen, how much more should you show reverence towards your Lord and Creator!" (Flier: "Our Responsibilities in God's House") [Note: Click here for flier]

Note: Modernists / liberals ["the worst enemies of the Church" (Bl. Pope Pius IX) and "the most pernicious of all the adversaries of the Church" (Pope St. Pius X)] have rejected the traditional practice of kneeling for Holy Communion. Know, therefore, that kneeling persons are not to be denied Holy Communion because they are kneeling. Should this occur, you should take the matter up with the proper Church authorities.

  • You may receive Holy Communion under only one species (e.g. the species of Bread). It is not necessary to receive Holy Communion from the Chalice (under the species of Wine). 

"If any one saith, that, by the precept of God, or, by necessity of salvation, all and each of the faithful of Christ ought to receive both species of the most holy sacrament not consecrating; let him be anathema." (Council of Trent)

"If any one saith, that the holy Catholic Church was not induced, by just causes and reasons, to communicate, under the species of bread only, laymen, and also clerics when not consecrating; let him be anathema." (Council of Trent)

"Wherefore, this holy Synod, - instructed by the Holy Spirit, who is the spirit of wisdom and of understanding, the spirit of counsel and of godliness, and following the judgment and usage of the Church itself, - declares and teaches, that laymen, and clerics when not consecrating, are not obliged, by any divine precept, to receive the sacrament of the Eucharist under both species; and that neither can it by any means be doubted, without injury to faith, that communion under either species is sufficient for them unto salvation... It moreover declares, that although, as hath been already said, our Redeemer, in that last supper, instituted, and delivered to the apostles, this sacrament in two species, yet is to be acknowledged, that Christ whole and entire and a true sacrament are received under either species alone; and that therefore, as regards the fruit thereof, they, who receive one species alone, are not defrauded of any grace necessary to salvation." (Council of Trent)

"Certain people, in some parts of the world, have rashly dared to assert that the Christian people ought to receive the Holy Sacrament of the Eucharist under the forms of both bread and wine... Therefore this present general council of Constance, legitimately assembled in the Holy Spirit, wishing to provide for the safety of the faithful against this error, after long deliberation by many persons learned in divine and human law, declares, decrees and defines... that this Sacrament ought not to be celebrated after a meal nor received by the faithful without fasting, except in cases of sickness or some other necessity as permitted by law or by the Church. Moreover, just as this custom was sensibly introduced in order to avoid various dangers and scandals, so with similar or even greater reason was it possible to introduce and sensibly observe the custom that, although this sacrament was received by the faithful under both kinds in the early Church, nevertheless later it was received under both kinds only by those confecting it, and by the laity only under the form of bread. For it should be very firmly believed, and in no way doubted, that the whole body and blood of Christ are truly contained under both the form of bread and the form of wine. Therefore, since this custom was introduced for good reasons by the church and holy fathers, and has been observed for a very long time, it should be held as a law which nobody may repudiate or alter at will... Those who stubbornly assert the opposite of the aforesaid are [considered heretics]...This holy synod also decrees and declares, regarding this matter, that instructions are to be sent to the most reverend fathers and lords in Christ, patriarchs, primates, archbishops, bishops, and their vicars in spirituals, wherever they may be, in which they are to be commissioned and ordered on the authority of this sacred council and under pain of excommunication, to punish effectively those who err against this decree." (Council of Constance)

Note: The re-introduction of this practice in the Church (Communicating under both species) was a result of disobedience within the Catholic Church. The Church has infallibly declared that it is not necessary to receive Holy Communion under both species. In fact, there are many valid and compelling reasons that it is not necessary for the laity to Communicate under both species. The disobedient reintroduction of this practice within the Catholic Church has been traced to its Protestant roots (Protestants reject the Church's infallible ruling). For more information, try the Catholic News/Current Issues section.

  • Spend time after Holy Communion in thanksgiving. Remember that it is estimated that the Blessed Eucharist remains for approximately fifteen minutes after Holy Communion.

"Thanksgiving after communion is also necessary. The prayer we make after communion is the most acceptable to God, and the most profitable to us." (St. Alphonsus Liguori, Doctor of the Church)

"[T]he divine Redeemer is most closely united...with each and every one of the faithful, and He ardently desires to speak with them heart to heart, especially after Holy Communion" (Pope Pius XII)

"When the Mass, which is subject to special rules of the liturgy, is over, the person who has received Holy Communion is not thereby freed from his duty of thanksgiving; rather, it is most becoming that, when the Mass is finished, the person who has received the Eucharist should recollect himself, and in intimate union with the divine Master hold loving and fruitful converse with Him. Hence they have departed from the straight way of truth, who, adhering to the letter rather than the sense, assert and teach that, when Mass has ended, no such thanksgiving should be added, not only because the Mass itself is a thanksgiving, but also because this pertains to a private and personal act of piety and not to the good of the community. But, on the contrary, the very nature of the sacrament demands that its reception should produce rich fruits of Christian sanctity." (Pope Pius XII)

"Wherefore, if there is no time when we must not offer God thanks, and if we must never cease from praising Him, who would dare to reprehend or find fault with the Church, because she advises her priests and faithful to converse with the divine Redeemer for at least a short while after Holy Communion, and inserts in her liturgical books, fitting prayers, enriched with indulgences, by which the sacred ministers may make suitable preparation before Mass and Holy Communion or may return thanks afterwards? So far is the sacred liturgy from restricting the interior devotion of individual Christians, that it actually fosters and promotes it so that they may be rendered like to Jesus Christ and through Him be brought to the heavenly Father; wherefore this same discipline of the liturgy demands that whoever has partaken of the Sacrifice of the altar should return fitting praise to God. For it is the good pleasure of the divine Redeemer to hearken to us when we pray, to converse with us intimately and to offer us a refuge in His loving Heart." (Pope Pius XII, Mediator Dei)

  • Always exercise Christian charity towards your fellow Catholics. Don't forget to practice Christian behavior in the parking lot!

  • If your parish is celebrating Mass improperly, you should discuss it with the priest or notify the proper Church authorities. If the problem persists, it may be necessary to switch parishes. One must always put God first. Note that there is much false information out there, sadly, some of it coming even from priests. Remember, you alone are responsible for your worship and piety. If others are behaving inappropriately, you might correct them in a gentle spirit, but, above all, behave properly yourself - even if it means not going along with the multitudes. At the time of judgment, you will appear alone to answer for your conduct.

"Let everything be done with due order and dignity, and let no one, not even a priest, make use of the sacred edifices according to his whim to try out experiments." (Pope Pius XII, Mediator Dei)

"It is necessary that the spirit of the sacred liturgy and its directives should exercise such a salutary influence on them that nothing improper be introduced nor anything unworthy of the dignity of the house of God or detrimental to the sacred functions or opposed to solid piety." (Pope Pius XII) 

Church Conduct "Don'ts":

  • Do not provide distracting activities, toys, or food for children (or adults) in church.

  • Do not clap in church for any reason. This includes good singing and good homilies.

"Wherever applause breaks out in the liturgy because of some human achievement, it is a sure sign that the essence of liturgy has totally disappeared and been replaced by a kind of religious entertainment." (Cardinal Ratzinger, the future Pope Benedict XVI)

"It is not fitting that the servant should be applauded in His Master's house." (Pope St. Pius X)

  • Do not laugh in church.

  • Do not eat or drink in church.

  • Do not chew gum in church.

  • Do not allow children to run around in church, climb on pews, crawl across the floor, make distracting noises, face backwards, or otherwise distract other parishioners. Remember that the church is the Lord's house, not a playground.

"An unruly child is a disgrace to its father; if it be a daughter she brings him to poverty." (Sirach 22:3)

"Train a boy in the way he should go; even when he is old, he will not swerve from it." (Prov. 22:6)

"If you have sons, chastise them; bend their necks from childhood." (Sirach 7:23)** (See note below)

"He who loves his son chastises him often, that he may be his joy when he grows up." (Sirach 30:1)

"He who spares his rod hates his son, but he who loves him takes care to chastise him." (Prov. 13:24)** (See note below)

"The rod of correction gives wisdom, but a boy left to his whims disgraces his mother." (Prov. 29:15)** (See note below)

"Correct your son, and he will bring you comfort, and give delight to your soul." (Prov. 29:17)

"... rather die childless than have godless children!" (Sirach 6:3)

"He who spoils his son will have wounds to bandage, and will quake inwardly at every outcry. A colt untamed turns out stubborn; a son left to himself grows up unruly. Pamper your child and he will be a terror for you, indulge him and he will bring you grief. Share not in his frivolity lest you share in his sorrow, when finally your teeth are clenched in remorse. Give him not his own way in his youth, and close not your eyes to his follies. Bend him to the yoke when he is young, thrash his sides while he is still small, Lest he become stubborn, disobey you, and leave you disconsolate. Discipline your son, make heavy his yoke, lest his folly humiliate you." (Sirach 30:7-13)** (See note below)

** The reader is reminded that discipline of children should obviously be done within reason.

  • Do not talk or allow children to talk in church. Note that besides being disrespectful to God, talking in church is distracting to your neighbors.

"How much vice among the youth! What sloth in the old! No one takes due care of the education of his children. If we see a man truly devout in his old age, he is imitated by nobody. I see persons behave disrespectfully and without due attention in the church, and even when the priest is giving his blessing. Can any insolence be found equal to this? Amidst such scandals, what hopes can we entertain of the salvation of many? At a ball everyone dances in his rank, everything is regulated and done without confusion. And here in the company of angels, and singing the praises of God with the blessed spirits, you talk and laugh. Should we be surprised if thunder fell from heaven to punish such impiety?" (St. John Chrysostom, Doctor of the Church)

  • Do not try to out-sing the choir. It may be very distracting to your neighbors, even if your voice is very good.

  • Do not receive Holy Communion if you are not properly disposed to do so.

"Therefore whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord unworthily will have to answer for the body and blood of the Lord." (St. Paul, 1 Cor. 11:27)

"No one who has a mortal sin on his conscience shall dare receive the Holy Eucharist before making a sacramental confession, regardless of how contrite he may think he is. This holy council declares that this custom is to be kept forever by all Christians." (The Council of Trent) The Council also says that "If anyone presumes to teach, or preach, or stubbornly maintain, or defend in public disputation the opposite of this, he is excommunicated by his action" (Council of Trent)

  • Do not become distracted or distract others from the reality of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass as the re-presentation of Calvary. It is not necessary (and may be positively wrong) to engage in actions at church that distract you from the Lord (e.g. hand-holding or other physical contacts with one's neighbor that are not strictly necessary). You may engage in such actions, as appropriate, after Mass outside of the church. [Note: The 'kiss of peace' of old was for those who were in the peace of Christ. There is no true peace of Christ for those who violate Christ's law (e.g. those engaging in contraception, divorce, abortion, etc., those failing to believe in the Real Presence, etc.). Therefore, to indiscriminately offer a 'kiss of peace' to those opposed to Christ's peace is certainly most unsuitable. This is why some traditional Catholics prefer to kneel and adore the Holy Eucharist during a prescribed 'kiss of peace' rather than engage in such activities. Traditional Catholics also tend to engage in silent prayer while others exchange distracting 'greetings'. For more on this topic, please try here]

  • Do not leave Mass early. Remember that the first person to leave Mass early was Judas. [Note: Unfortunately, however, there may be situations (e.g. cases of extreme abuse - such as the intentional use of invalid materials, the pseudo-consecration by those not in Holy Orders, etc.), where it may be appropriate or necessary to walk out. Contact an appropriate Church authority for further assistance.]

Note that the above apply to the back as well as the main area of the Church and also to other Church activities (i.e. Confession).

Remember that if you aren't quiet and well-behaved, you may prevent others from contemplating and praying. "It is not right Christian behavior to unfairly take from someone that which is profitable to his soul." Also, please remember that your conduct is an example to others. We must not imitate a bad example, but set a good one.  

Also, we must be on guard against the common error today that considers Mass not as a Sacrifice, but as a socializing occasion or a stage show. We must keep in mind that we gather as a community not to socialize with each other or to be entertained, but to propitiate God, whom we have offended, and worship Him in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. Communion with our neighbor is always secondary to communion with God. The proper time to socialize with our neighbor and to enjoy entertainment is outside of Mass. When we are in church, we are in the Lord's house ["a house of prayer" (Our Lord Jesus Christ, Mt. 21:13)]. The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass - the true re-presentation of Calvary - is a solemn, holy occasion and it is a prefigurement of heavenly worship of God. If you read in Revelation how those in heaven worship God, you will see that they are not directing their attention towards each other, engaging in private conversation, adopting irreverent postures, enjoying 'modern music', seeking entertainment, etc... Rather, they seem to follow admonitions such as...

"Enter, let us bow down in worship; let us kneel before the LORD who made us. For this is our God, whose people we are, God's well-tended flock." (Ps. 95:6-7)

"[B]ow down to the LORD, splendid in holiness. Tremble before God, all the earth; say among the nations: The LORD is king. The world will surely stand fast, never to be moved. God rules the peoples with fairness." (Ps. 96:9-10)  

"Serve the LORD with fear; with trembling bow down in homage" (Ps. 2:11)

"All the ends of the earth will worship and turn to the LORD; All the families of nations will bow low before you. For kingship belongs to the LORD, the ruler over the nations." (Ps. 22:28-29)

"Give to the LORD the glory due God's name. Bow down before the LORD'S holy splendor!" (Ps. 29:2)

"My hand made all these things when all of them came to be, says the LORD. This is the one whom I approve: the lowly and afflicted man who trembles at my word." (Isa. 66:2) 

"The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom; prudent are all who live by it." (Ps. 111:10)

Surely we should take a lesson from the angels if we wish to live where they do.  

Did You Know? 

You can still attend the Traditional Latin Mass - the highly reverent "Mass of the Saints". It is NOT the same as the Mass said in most Catholic parishes today. 

The Mass celebrated in most Catholic parishes since the 1960's is called the "Novus Ordo" (New Order) Mass. It was concocted by men after the Second Vatican Council. There are numerous and significant differences between the Traditional Latin Mass and the Novus Ordo Mass.

The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass (The "Tridentine" Mass)Happily, the Traditional Latin Mass - in use for most of the life of the Church - is still validly said in Catholic parishes today. Contact your diocese for the nearest location of this incomparable Mass. 

If this Mass is not available in your parish, petition your pastor!

Click Here for More Information Regarding this Mass


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