Saturday, March 15, 2008

Obvious Commandments When Mass Starts

1) Thou Shall Turn Off Thy Cell Phones. Do you know how irritating it is to be in the middle of a prayer or reading when some lousy jingle (Who Let the Dogs Out Woff! Woff!) interrupts the silence? Not to mention how stupid you look when the celebrant has to stop the Mass and make an announcement reminding everyone to turn their phones off because of you.

2) Thou Shall Get to Mass On Time... PLEASE. It's usually just a one hour service. Getting there for communion and leaving immediately after is sneaky, slothful, and distracting to those immersed in the service.

3) Thou Shall Have Music Befitting for the Mass. I have heard just about every type of music performed during a Catholic service. About ten years ago, in my local perish, the youngsters during the teen Mass performed grunge music not unlike what you might hear from the group Nirvana. It was a murky mixture of depression and cacophonous clamor. I'm glad the Catholic Church is also catholic, but, please, limit your musical scope to songs that venerate the celebration of the eucharist.

4) Thou Shall Not Wear Skimpy Attire. Okay, I'm a guy and like any other man I have an unswerving appreciation for the female form. But this is Mass, not the beach or a night club. I don't think it's appropriate to wear revealing attire in an environment where I don't go for the glorification of your assets. Not to mention the fact that there are children present and strutin' your stuff in their presence, like you just came off a nightly rendezvouz with some public official, is just plain sick.

5) Thou Shall Not Hold Hands During the Our Father. Exactly where, when, and with whom did this start? It feels like some quasi-form of liturgical dance.

6) Thou Shall Remain Quiet (Especially) After Communion. Okay, you just had communion, do you know what comes next? How about you bottle up for a little bit and REFLECT on what just happened! You just took the body of Our Lord, Mr. Chit-chat. Save all the mumbo-jumbo until Mass is through.

7) Thou Shall Not Leave Until After the Final Blessing. You’ve been here (hopefully) since Mass began. Will it kill you to wait and leave after the final blessing? I know you’re trying to beat the wolves to their cars and avoid the traffic entanglement that clusters right after Mass, but you might find a more peaceful and complete exit if you wait for all those people to go before you as apposed to cheating yourself out of the final blessing.

8) Babies. Babies. Babies. Some people have a big problem when an infant starts to cry during some part of the mass. I can understand their frustration. But what is a child supposed to do? Some moms and dads take their children to the vestibule so they can attend to their crying while avoiding a disruption during the service. I find that keeps everybody happy. But I certainly do not want to ostracize parent and infant from the Mass simply because the baby is doing what babies do all the time....cry. Let’s have some patience with these folks.

These “commandments” are obvious to me and to most Catholics attending mass. But for whatever reason it escapes the consciousness of a few individuals who fail to consider themselves, the meaning of the mass, as well as the consideration of their Catholic brethren who want to submerge him or herself in the fullness of the liturgy.


Adrienne said...

Amen! You preach it, Brother

JustMe said...

1. Cellphonia is venial. I can live with long as they don't answer and say, "Hey. Nothin-- whatr u doin?"
3. Seriously, consider yourself blessed not to have literally heard, "Badda boom, badda bing" after a "funny".
4. Thought you were going to address the guys on that one; here's the rest of the story: I actually don't want to see abs, pecs and least of all, glutes, nor harem or posse or wifebeater shirts. As for the ladies you address, let me just say: kinda true; I've seen men looking where they ought not during Mass. Repeatedly. For an hour.
5. If someone reaches for my hand, I won't stare them down like a lizard on a hot rock they've just disturbed monumentally. But don't even think of raising that hand in the air. It'll remind me of that one "Women Aglow" meeting, and I might jump out the window right between the 6th and 7th Stations.
6. Now, that should become an official prayer. Let's print it up and give it to the choir, who keeps on keepin' on even after the priest sits.
8. Babies, fine. Babies can be consoled. Toddlers, not so fine. Ever pry a Matchbox car from your ear, or miss an entire Mass due to the little playground sitting beside you at 120 decibels?

I really feel badly for the old folks who come to Mass sometimes, because what if this is the only Mass they can get to all week? It also may be their (or our!) last Mass ever. Bottomline, yes, it's a deeply communal thing. We've all got to do our best to be present to Him, for His sacrifice for love of us.

Tom in Vegas said...

Aunti A-



You said it better than I did. And you are so right, we never know when our last Mass will be. I never thought of it along those terms.

I did miss the men on that No. 4, didn't I. They can be as bad - if not worse - than the females. BTW, "wife beater shirts"??? What man brings that s#!t to mass? Shame on them!

ukok said...

Amen to this list Tom! Every single one of the above I could have written myself!

Though I agree with JustMe.....and y'know, some men seem to go to Mass to check out the female Catholics...believe it or not! They should do their cruisin' n perusin''s very distracting to have someone gawp at you throughout Mass.

Cathy_of_Alex said...

Tom: Great list!

Diva Mom Vicki said...


During the reading of the Passion this morning guess what happened... yep, a cell phone started ringing. And ringing. And ringing. The owner was no where to be seen so the ringing continued for a good 30 seconds.

Also, thou shalt not come directly from the pool/beach to mass. Would you wear a bathing suit/tank top/board shorts to the White House? Why are you wearing it to HIS house?

Tom in Vegas said...

ukok and Cathy-

Thank you!!


Yikes! How emberrasing and disrespectful for all attending. People will never learn, will they?

Joe of St. Thérèse said...


6. I'm sure it includes before Mass.

It is far too distracting to me before Mass, when I'm trying to pray at some of the parishes I've been to.

I'll add 9. Thou shalt not ignore Jesus in the Tabernacle. I can't stand it at the wreckovated Churches how many people walk right by the tabernacle. without even genflecting to it knowing who is there. I'm sure that no one would like it if someone entered their home witout acknowledging the owner.