Friday, June 29, 2012

How to Behave in a Catholic Church

This article should be printed, photocopied and handed out to every church-goer in North America as compulsory reading. Then they should be quizzed on it.

About the lack of silence in church (one of my pet peeves):

The great offenders are, first of all, the clergy. We used to be silent in prayer and preparation for Mass. Sacristies were places where you could compose yourself and realize the amazing thing you were about to do. Now we scan the gathering crowd to see if we can catch the president of the finance committee before he ducks out early for his golf game. We yak with the best of them. We modern clergy are always “on” always ready to do the entertaining. God forbid that someone shouldn’t like us!

The next bunch of offenders is the ushers. They generally stand in a clump at the back of church, whispering at the top of their voices because, as ushers, like the clergy, professionalism makes them exempt from the rules. And then there is the blue-haired brigade, little old lady land, as Max Bialystock called it. I have great sympathy for them.

They are the saints who keep the church going. Their generosity makes everything possible, but they don't get out much and half of them are deaf as stones. They are the sweetest people on earth and the joy they have at seeing someone they care about in church is genuinely touching. HOWEVER, they cannot resist chatting with the girls. They sit there talking over the week’s news with their “homies,” thinking they are whispering, but the batteries in their hearing aids must be dead because they too are whispering at the top of their voices. This is not as I remember it from my long distant youth. I ask myself, "How has it come to pass that the moments before Mass have come to resemble a cocktail party after the second martini?"