Q - I get angry when I see people at Mass that talk, text, etc. - just a general lack of reverence before God in the Blessed Sacrament. I just get so frustrated and hurt that people come to Mass and act the way they would during a lecture or class, and are ignorant that others may wish to try to grow in holiness and closeness to God (so that they might “sin no more”), let alone care about their own relationship with God. Can you help?
A - Thanks for the question. It isn't uncommon for people to carry on a conversation quite loudly before, during, or after Mass while still in the sanctuary. Before I address any other issues, I would like to say quite plainly that this kind of behavior in any Catholic Church before or after Mass is inappropriate. These kind of conversations should not happen in church. Even if you are visiting, not praying, bored, etc. there are still others that would like quiet time in prayers. We should always respect others enough to be quiet while in church.
Also, using your phone in church is inappropriate as well, unless you are using it to pray or get the readings. Lastly, if you are a parent and you have a young child who can be noisy, please take them to the back if they get noisy (here are some practical guidelines for noisy kids).
These requests might seem like common sense to some, but not to others.
So, why would people act in this way?
- Maybe they don't understand what is going on with the Mass - so they are ignorant of the sacredness of it.
- Maybe they are visitors and people at their local parish do this all the time and they are used to it.
- Maybe they are uncomfortable in church and want to talk to comfort themselves.
- Maybe they are hard of hearing and don't know how loud they are being.
- Maybe they like attention and having others hear all about their lives.
- Maybe it is some other reason.
Not long ago, I had to deal with loud conversations before Mass. It took a lot of effort, but I offered up my frustrations and ended up having some great prayer time.
Now if this is a continual problem, I would voice the issue with your pastor and let him decide how to best handle the situation, which is really his problem, since it is his flock that is having the issue.
The exception to this rule would be those that are frequent repeat offenders. If someone is continually talking in Mass, I would politely (very politely) ask them to please continue their conversation outside of church so you can pray.
I hope this helps.