Chatting in Church


Absolutely not during Liturgy. I don’t particularly care for it before Liturgy either as I think the time should be spent in prayer, but many of the older parishioners at my parish do chit chat, but I don’t let it bother me.


Actually, the Holy Father just addressed this. He says, “no, it is not.”

…When we go to Mass, perhaps we arrive five minutes early and begin to chat with the person next to us. But this is not the moment for small talk; it is the moment of silence to prepare ourselves for the dialogue. It is the moment for recollection within the heart, to prepare ourselves for the encounter with Jesus. Silence is so important! Remember what I said last week: we are not going to a spectacle, we are going to the encounter with the Lord, and silence prepares us and accompanies us. Pausing in silence with Jesus. From this mysterious silence of God springs his Word which resonates in our heart…

Pope Francis, General Audience, Wednesday, 15 November 2017


There are several different questions people are answering. In addition to the initial question, I see these questions being substituted.

Is it okay to talk during Mass?

Is small talk okay before Mass?

Should we take time to prepare ourselves before Mass?

I say that because the above post by the Holy Father does not address this initial question, but the need to prepare oneself before Mass. That is a different question altogether. I do not think anyone would used the words of the Holy Father to say the rosary should not be said out loud before Mass, so to be consistent, it should not be used to answer the initial question.


So? Nothing wrong with it. Get the talkers out of the church and into a conference room so those praying in church won’t be disturbed.

Our priests arrive to the sacristy 4-5 minutes before the beginning of Mass. It’s a hard tradition around here. They have time to vest and place their notes on the ambo. That’s it. In any event, who cares if it’s the “Early Birds” who do the talkin?


Our priests don’t show up early enough to actually go into the nave and greet people. Except one. Father Mark – now laicised and married.

Father Mark would open the church a full hour before the first Mass of the day. He would ever so quietly sit next to people for a quick (and very quiet) greeting. He would only do this to people who were sitting by themselves as he did not want to disrupt others. He would also smile and move on if it was clear the individual did not want to talk for a minute or two.

In many cases he was talking to people who had not talked directly to a priest in years. Mark heard my confession in this manner at least a half dozen time. He heard other people’s confessions in this manner as well.

But it was all done very quietly and well before Mass began. It was one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen in my parish.


To say nothing of the fact that a lot of the church-chatting people are complaining about is happening AFTER Mass, when you can sometimes even find the priest and deacon making the chatty rounds in the church aisles.


I don’t think it matters unless it’s during a mass or other liturgical celebration. Outside of that it isn’t an issue unless of course there’s people there trying to pray.

However it’s usually best to leave the actual Church space. Most churches have outer rooms or church halls just for this purpose.


I attend Rosary and Mass between 2 Churches. Last Saturday, 3 women were so loud talking and laughing together, one could not hear the Rosary, I tried a loud Shh, but they didn’t hear me. This went on for 2 full decades. At the other Church, people all round would have shushed them after 2 Hail Marys… A big difference in lack of reverence from one Church to the next. The week before, prior to Mass, the organist and lead singer for the “Adult” choir, was on her cellphone on the Altar. A “look” from me did not fizz on her. In each of these instances Father was in the Confessional. Again, this would not have happened at the other Church. I believe parishioners in the plural, and/or ushers need to express politely to the offender how this is disruptive and disrespectful to Our Lord…


“for the “Adult” choir, was on her cellphone on the Altar”

Do you mean TALKING on her cell phone or looking at her phone. Because if she was looking and “typing” into her cell phone it may have been about the music.


She was on the Altar before Mass before and after I exited the Confessional, and talking on her phone.
Estimated time - 10 minutes.


There was no one in the Church other than people lined up for Confessions. This was at 4 o’clock. Rosary at 4:30. Mass begins at 5. No reason whatsoever to be on the Altar.


Still that was WRONG to do. Sad she didn’t realize that. She could have stepped outside.


Do your socializing before or after Mass outside the Sanctuary.
Some people actually use the time before Mass to pray and others will remain after Mass to do the same. All the chatter can be distracting. BTW remember you are in the Lords house and show respect.


Why? I understand why loud talking is rude in any circumstances, but I think zero social interaction between parishioners is a more serious problem. How many people come and go to Mass with no more interaction than at a fast food drive through? I have visited parishes that many here would consider reverent for their lack of interaction between people. I have felt nothing, literally nothing, between any two people. Mass is the Holy Sacrifice, but Church is family. Trading one for another is no bargain.

Yes, you are in the Lord’s house. When I go to someone’s house I do not consider it well-mannered to ignore the family there.

I would rather encourage a compromise is in order. Speak softly, including saying a rosary, so as to allow time for contemplation. Arrive early if you to visit, and wrap it all up, rosary included, to allow five minutes or so of preparation.


I found this from the General Instruction of the Roman Missal at paragraph 45:

Even before the celebration itself, it is a praiseworthy practice for silence to be observed in the church, in the sacristy, in the vesting room, and in adjacent areas, so that all may dispose themselves to carry out the sacred celebration in a devout and fitting manner.



I guess I don’t mind if people are whispering. What gets me is when people are talking loudly and disturbing my prayer time. I often pray the rosary before Mass and can’t pay attention to my prayers because of the loud talking. And it’s not the kids, it’s senior citizens, whom I assume can’t hear.


I think part of the problem is that many parishes don’t make the effort to support fellowship opportunities for their members. Talking in church however is no solution.

My brother attends a Protestant church a few blocks from my parish. The effort they put into their after-services coffee social is remarkable. The person is charge is a capable leader and manager. People actually like her, and work hard for her. There is a great deal of pride in what they do.

Yes, I know, as Catholics we’re programmed to get defensive and exclaim things like "they don’t have the Eucharist! and “that’s not way we attend Mass!” All I can say to that is “how terribly sad” and “what a shame.”

When my current pastor first arrived, he noticed the dearth of fellowship opportunities at my parish. He wanted a fellowship period after every Mass and he went about investigating it in a very intelligent manner. The Catholic HS across the street has a program in catering. He spoke to the instructor and for a very nominal fee they would supply the planning and the “labor.” I got all the information from my brother’s parish (we event went on a field trip one Sunday) and gave it to the instructor.

A wealthy couple in the parish agreed to pay for everything – literally for as long as they were drawing breath. What killed the project? The laypeople that control every such project at my parish. Disliked individuals without the skills to pull off such a project, yet would never step aside.



Keep in mind that some use the sanctuary as a stage of sorts to put themselves on display. It can get pretty ugly. Talking on the phone in the sanctuary before Mass is very bad form.


It’s interesting. My parish is a historical landmark. It gets a number of visitors each day. It’s the non-Catholic (and likely non-Christian of any kind) that act with the greatest amount of reverence when they tour the church.

There is something about familiarity with one’s parish church that seems to breed irreverent behavior.


Exactly. Wouldn’t coffee before Mass wreck the Eucharistic fasting period?

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit