Baby Crying during Mass Homily

My heart is a little heavy.

While we are blessed to have many babies in church, they fuss, as babies normally do. We have a cry room for them to go to when they get too fussy. I understand the occasional outburst. I’m think you’d have to be pretty hard core to get upset over a little one fussing a little.

This was the problem last Sunday.

A young couple who has a 2yr old and a less than a year old. Baby boy and baby girl. The little ones were fussing quite a bit during mass. During the homily, I don’t know what happened, but all of the sudden, it did get pretty loud. I’m not sure if people whispering overtop of the baby crying or what, but it reached a point where Father stopped his homily and said, Please, we have a cry room, Please take your baby to the cry room. ((crickets, nothing- still fussing)) Again- he asks ((Me ? You can’t mean me?)) The third time he says For God’s sake, take your child to the cry room. So they do.

Now, most of the women of the church act like they have to crucify Father for commanding respect during mass. I’m on the fence. I can tolerate some crying, it happens. If I were holding my baby during mass and she was crying or just fussy- I’m out the door. I really don’t feel comfortable about drawing attention to myself and I don’t want to be disruptive.

Tonight, the Parish and Finance councils are having a joint meeting and they plan to discuss the matter. During a facebook chat, the leader asks for everyones opinion. After reading msg after msg about how they feel Father was very much in the wrong about calling out this mother and father- I felt I needed to step in and say hey, Men are very different from women about the tolerance level of a baby crying. He’s from India, maybe things are different there ? Others say, we are a small church and we dont’ mind a baby crying. well, yea, sort of, but if you can’t hear the homily, why bother coming ? but who can say that to a bunch of church women ? Father’s argument is that the Mass isn’t just for a few, but for everyone and I agree.

What do I do ? I don’t want to seem to harsh ? Love always, right ? I like these women, they are good people, but our Father is new and I know he feels bad about what he said. My mind though, is blown at the quickness to raise a pitchfork at him.

Blessed are the peacemakers…

If such must be discussed – or one cannot prevent it – seek to help all understand the various different aspects.

We all have bad days --even Priests. Cultures may be different. etc

Yes - love. That is always the way.

If the priest felt like he could not effectively give a homily over the noise, there is nothing wrong with asking them to step out. If he was too rude in the way he did it, then forgiveness is in order. No one is perfect all the time.

I think the priest was wrong, he embarrassed the family even though the babies were crying and making noise. I had a priest share with me once that no matter how annoyed the priest may be at noise or people coming in later, one should never call out someone in public during Mass. Is this a young priest and inexperienced? Sorry he was wrong.

Wow, I guess I’m hardcore. If I can’t hear the homily there’s a problem. I have tolerance for fussy babies, but if gets that bad and the parents are oblivious, than I think the father was in the right. If that was me being called out I would definitely be embarrassed, but I’d be more aware next time. He also could have pulled them aside after mass, but either way it seems something had to be done.

Also, if I were you I would voice my thoughts on the matter, but that’s just me. I’m very opinionated and it has caused me problems in the past.

I was not there, I did not hear the crying, I did not hear the Priest’s words or tone so I will not comment…however, this just strikes me as wrong.

The only person who the Priest is answerable to is the Pastor, and if the Pastor then the Bishop. The finance council has zero business in this matter. The Parish council has zero business in this matter (for the record, I just rotated off our PC and I can assure you we would have killed this discussion early, especially if it was being discussed on social media).

If the noise was really bad enough to be disruptive, and made it hard to hear the homily, the young couple was absolutely in the wrong for not leaving on their own initiative and the priest did the right thing is asking them to take their child to the cry room.

If the priest did this in an uncharitable manner, a private apology for his rudeness to this couple might be in order, but by no means should he be reprimanded for the act itself.

Young children do not have any obligation to be at mass at all, and when they are severely disruptive to the prayer of other mass participants, the least the parents can do is remove them until they have calmed down sufficiently.

How can the faithful be edified if they can’t hear???

For me the issue isn’t the crying baby - its how it was handled by priest officiating. I don’t care what tone was used - singling out a family like that is inexcusable and he’ll be lucky if they come back.

The debate of crying children in church has been going on for years. Whether this family was right or wrong to stay in sanctuary is a totally separate debate IMO. Maybe they were wrong to stay, but nobody deserves that treatment in God’s house.

The fact that the family actually remained in the pew after they were fully aware of the disruption their child was causing (and also had likely received glares from the surrounding people) is the problem. Not the priest.

Further, the fact they they did not move until commanded to THREE times is the second layer of the problem

In addition, the fact that the parish council is actually convening to discuss about this priest is absolutely out of line. This parish’s reaction to this event is misguided and inappropriate.

Multiple times I’ve seen priests, from the pulpit, ask parents to remove their children, and never have I seen such a ridiculous reaction from the parish.

Eh, he might have been a little harsh, but it is the priest’s right. Some people just REALLY have trouble focusing when there’s noise, others just don’t notice it at all. My guess is that’s what’s really going on here. Some people feel like it wasn’t that loud of a noise and father could’ve kept going, but the priest may just be one of those people that really struggles focusing when there’s a loud noise.

Bottomline: Obedience to the pastor trumps social politeness. If he really had trouble focusing and couldn’t continue the homily, he’s correct to request the baby me taken to the cry room. Although, granted, perhaps there was a politer way to do it.

Edit: Oh and just a side note on the facebook comments: The homily is probably the LEAST important part of the mass. We come to mass for the sacrifice, although the other parts are still important. He’s wrong to say “why bother coming if not for the sermon?” Consecration? Heaven coming down to Earth and all that? :stuck_out_tongue:

Not really. Crying, noisy and active children are a fairly regular feature of most Masses I’ve attended here, which is most of my life. :smiley:

But I agree - there’s no need to go overboard on this one. After all, a homily is important, and if there’s a cry room (something we don’t have here!) I see no wrong in using it, or being politely asked to use it. The priest is alter Christus, and I think we can trust him to make prudential judgments on matters like these.

That’s a good point to bring up, but it depends on WHY they’re discussing it. If they’re discussing it to reprimand the priest, absolutely wrong. However, if they’re just trying to come up with ways to help out the priest, (i.e. consider posting signs or something) that’s okay.

To me, this sounds like a classic instance of useless and harmful parish drama. A baby or two were fussing and the presiding priest requested their parents make use of the cry room. That is all. No need to make an issue out of it that will harm the community ten or a hundred times more than the actual incident did.

you are correct, i agree 100%.

I guess I don’t consider being called out on my actions mistreatment. I may not like it and I may be embarrassed but mistreatment? I’m sure others could claim mistreatment as well. It’s all subjective, but in the end this sounds like childish drama. It makes me want to speak out on behalf of the priest and I feel pity and sad this is happening in the parish. Satan stays busy.

Although, someone did bring up a good point. We weren’t there so we are only getting your version of events, but based on your version this is my 2 cents : )

I might agree with this, however re-reading the OP leads me to believe this is not the tact they are taking:

Since the OP asked for advice for the meeting tonight, my advice is to drop it. Completely. Especially for a new priest (at your parish I am assuming, not newly ordained) this is a private matter between him and the pastor, more so if he feels badly about how he handled it. If Father then chooses to apologize or bring it up with the PC that is on him.

No matter how rude, he is still a Priest and not subject to laity discussion or correction. Still just my $0.02. YMMV.

There are lots and lots of threads on CAF about poor catechesis of Catholics. In fact, I would say that more often than not, when there is a problem in the Church (e.g., Catholics who believe that contraception is acceptable), then usually the conclusion of the majority of the posters on the thread is that “Catholics are poorly catechized.”

What we have to come to terms with is that for most Catholics, their sole exposure to any kind of teaching is during the Mass.

They don’t read Catholics books or periodicals (including the Bible or Catechism), they don’t watch Catholic TV or listen to Catholic radio, and they don’t attend parish studies, missions, or socials. And they never have discussions about Catholicism with Catholic friends or acquaintances.

They go to Mass, and that’s it.

Hey, at least they go to Mass! That’s good!

What that means is that they have approximately 10 minutes during the priest’s homily to “get catechized.”

Now if the priest is teaching about something very general, e.g., “love one another,” well…everyone knows that, even non-Christians. So not to worry.

But…what if a priests decides to really get hard-hittin’, and use his homily to teach about one of those topics that has been poorly-taught to most Catholics, e.g., gay marriage, or abortion, or contraception? Or perhaps he decides to teach about reverence during the Mass, and explain how people should not receive Holy Communion if they have committed mortal sin, but must go to Reconciliation first. Or that we should make a gesture of reverence before receiving Holy Communion. Or that we shouldn’t wear clothing that reveals our sexual parts or advertises questionable businesses or practices; e.g., those “Big Johnson” t-shirts.

I frankly don’t blame the priest for asking someone to please stop making a noise. People criticize the priest because the people aren’t catechized, and then when he tries to catechize them, they allow a noise to stop people from getting catechized. And then they criticize him again because people aren’t catechized.

So here’s my take. If you’re OK with crying babies at Mass, then never, ever complain again that Catholics aren’t catechized. :slight_smile: How can they get catechized if they can’t hear?!

Unless of course, you’re OK with power point projections, iPad apps, and other visual teaching aids during the Mass. Frankly, I think visual media is a great way to teach, and it would help take care of the crying baby problem. I think the Catholic Church ought to use every “weapon” in the arsenal to make sure their people get catechized about important issues.

The purpose of the cry room is for the crying babies. Not using the cry room and not bringing the crying baby to the cry room after the priest reminding them is actually very rude on the couple’s part. They brought the embarrassment to themselves, not the priest.

The priest is Persona Christi in Mass. I am amazed a group of women in your parish will “discuss” this matter. Who do they think they are??? Where is the respect to the Persona Christi???

Priest can be really annoyed when such things happen. I have seen different priests from different churches showing their objection from the pulpit. Usually they give a long look toward the direction of the disturbance. Some will stop the homily and wait, to give an obvious hint. Your priest explicitly gave the message asking them to go to the cry room, and there is nothing wrong. Today’s problem is too many people think they have more authority than the priest.

There should not be any “discussion” on this matter in your meeting. It appears to be gossiping, judgemental, knowing better, arrogant and proud. Do you think such inappropriate “discussion” will please the Lord?

The parish and finance councils should mind their own business. This is not remotely the business of a council in a parish. :mad:

If an individual feels called to have a private conversation with Father and explain that some parishioners were hurt by the incident, that’s one thing. But this Facebook messaging and bringing it up at a meeting are nothing but calumny and cowardice.

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