clapping at mass

I have been to some parishes recently that applaud individual achievements. I have always refrained from applause, however, I feel pressured to do it as every one around me claps. Furthermore, I feel if one feels compelled to applaud what would stop one from jeering a homily that was not very appealing to the ears? What is the correct approach during the liturgy? To clap or not to clap? That is the question.

You don’t need to clap if you don’t want to. That’s all. But it really is a stretch to say it can lead to jeering at the homily. I don’t think an exaggeration like that is helpful. Although anything is possible, esp. if there are unbalanced persons around, most people have enough common sense and respect for a priest and not to jeer at a homily. This isn’t a political gathering, it’s Mass. You should think more highly of your fellow parishioners than that.Don’t overreact to the clapping, even if you don’t like it.

I really didn’t think of it as an exaggeration, but the other side of the coin. Honestly, if one can applaud why wouldn’t one be allowed to jeer or boo? I realize it wouldn’t be nice, however, it is fair. If you can receive applause you should also be open to accept jeers.

Which is precisely why applause at Mass is frowned upon!

In his book “The Spirit of the Liturgy” the then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger wrote: "Whenever applause breaks out in the liturgy because of some human achievement, it is a sure sign that the essence of liturgy has totally disappeared and been replaced by a kind of religious entertainment"

Peace, Mark

Thanks for reinforcing what my conscience was telling me, Mark. I am open to correction or rebuke if I am in the wrong but it does reassure me to hear support from Benedict.

The clapping at our parish is not during the liturgy.
It’s after, during the announcements
Still don’t like it, but I’m guessing this is an after Mass thing at the OPs parish.

same here.

and our priest explains it this way, clapping is also considered a form of gratitude in our culture. so if clapping happens for the choir after mass, it’s a way to thankthem for their service or to thank someone for giving an announcement.

I don’t really know what “clapping for human achievement” entails exactly, but those are the only instances where I’ve personally witnessed clapping. really doen’st bother me one way or the other, but to each their own I suppose

I have witnessed this in my home parish as well, after the Mass. I still don’t clap but I understand it’s after the liturgy and not quite as bothered. My issue is during the liturgy. Actually today the priest highlighted parishioners who walked about 100 miles for a pilgrimage and asked everybody to congratulate them for their work. I just didn’t think it was appropriate.

So what would be the alternative that you would personally approve of?
A note in the bulletin?
A reception after Mass?

How many people in your parish do pilgrimages?

My usual reaction to this question is something along the lines of “I’m glad to see that we’ve solved every other problem in the Church such that we are now able to focus on utterly trivial things like clapping at mass”. If you really don’t want to clap, then don’t - it really is just that simple. I don’t see that jeering is the other side of the coin at all - clapping is a polite and (usually) respectful way of expressing ourselves (at least in Western culture) in a variety of situations and, in many of those, the idea of jeering wouldn’t even i=enter your mind.

As far as the classic Ratzinger quote is concerned, I do wish people would do two things (a) actually bother to quote it in its original context; and (b) remember that, although the Cardinal (as he then was) is a devout and highly learned man, this comment is merely opinion and nothing more. As it happens, the original quote referred to professional dance troupes and the like turning the liturgy into some sort of stage show. So while I don’t believe that applauding the homily should be the norm, if such applause should break out spontaneously then it could arguably be attributed to a divine achievement rather than a human one. Similarly, the ordination of a priest can scarcely be described as a human achievement (to put it another way, I can’t do this all own my own) although there is the small matter of the appropriate time in the rite…

Ultimately, it’s important to remember that liturgy is a messy thing most of the time - this thought occurred to me during a recent mass when a small child wandered into the sanctuary during the eucharistic prayer! the more we try to make it neat, tidy and supposedly perfect the messier it seems to get!

As then Cardinal Ratzinger noted, applause is rarely appropriate at Mass. It is not a performance or show.

The announcements are supposed to be made before the Last/General Blessing. In that case they are part of the Mass, one would think.

The only times I would feel comfortable applauding in a church would be if a concert or recital was put on during non-Mass times.

I was for a while living in a parish in a Latin American country where the announcements would run nearly as long as the homily and involve birthday wishes / singing (every week- not from time to time)…it was always distracting just after receiving communion and I couldn’t leave as the announcements come before the final blessing.

Same here. I believe in what Fr. Groeschel used to say. The only clapping that should be heard in Church is the sound of one hand clapping.

Clappping is a method of expression for a crowd.

Jeering is an action of individuals. Just as people in a liturgical assembly should not be calling out “boos” or “hisses” neither should there be people calling our “encore” or “bravo”.

I don’t know the current custom in the United States but there was a moment in the Rite of Ordination where they had the provision that when the ordinand(i) is/are presented to those present, the response of the people was applause to show their approval that the man had been elected for ordination in the presbyteral order.

It was, of course, an understandably charged moment given who was present in the assembly…his family, friends, teachers, classmates, parishes where he had lived and worked and so forth.

I remember assisting at some ordinations at which the applause was quite prolonged and even enthusiastic.

On the other hand, I had occasion to say to more than one newly ordained priest after the ordination to simply file away the memory; I could reasonably assure him it was all but the last time he would experience such unrestrained and unmixed enthusiasm in his favour for the remainder of his priestly days.

When I would preside at weddings in the United States, I similarly found that there was even a spontaneous applause that would occur as an expression of the assembly’s joy/approbation that the event had happened. I was never disquieted by it.

There have been a few occasions over the long years where I have found myself the recipient of applause…I have found it more surprising to me than evocative of anything else.

I agree with pianistclare and others.
Clapping in the all of the parishes I have belonged to always happen outside of the liturgy.

Just this morning we welcomed our brand new priest (so new, he just offered his12th Mass to us!)

Our Pastor introduced him to us before Mass began, gave us a little background and asked us to welcome him warmly. Naturally we welcomed him with a big round of applause. After Mass ended (during announcements) our new priest expressed his gratitude and we actually applauded him AGAIN!

Shocking but true.


As St. Pius X once said, “It is not fitting to applaud the servant in the house of the Master.”

Forgive me, but I disagree with you: I think the context of Ratzinger’s quote does not limit the quote in the way you are asserting.

I suppose the whole point it…if one is the type of person who really has a problem with this, the proper thing to do would be to speak to the Pastor. Not much we can do about it. :shrug:
Although I imagine those who complain the loudest probably wouldn’t approach the priest.
That’s the way it is in my parish anyway.

We congratulated a newly Baptized baby girl today. It was glorious. :slight_smile:

Well…you know, there is what he noted. And then there are simply those moments where the situation overtakes one or one is overtaken by situation.

Before the final blessing:

“Do we have any visitors?” Our city always has visitors…(People raise their hand, priest walks over to them) “where are you from?” (Clap, clap, clap for each person he speaks to)

“Any birthdays this week?” (Hands raised again, or people ratting each other out.) “What day?” And the fine line of asking how old they will be. (Clap, clap clap for each.)

“Any anniversaries this week? What day? How many years?” (Clap, clap, clap)

It’s a bit much. :blush:

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