Crying Children

I thought about a couple of solutions to the crying kids in Mass problem. For all intents and purposes, we’ll just pretend I’m married with kids.

Solution #1:
Call someone who’s already been to Mass (or who isn’t Catholic) to watch the kid, and boom: problem solved.

Solution #2:
I can stay at home with the kids while my wife goes to Mass, and then we switch.

With respect to Solution #1, I think the only substantial question we need to ask is:* Is it a sin to leave your baptised infant at home every Sunday and not take it to Mass?*

With respect to Solution #2, I think the only substantial question here is: Is it a sin not to attend Mass as a family unit?

Any thoughts?

Your child is not under the obligation to attend Mass until he or she attains the age of reason (7, or thereabouts).

It is not a sin not to attend as a family. Did someone tell you it was?

Of course it is not a sin to not attend Mass as a family unit. I am the oldest of 5 children and my parents split going to Mass for many years, until my youngest sister was old enough to sit still for an hour and we could all go together. Many parishes have a crying room or family room set aside in the church for families with babies or restless toddlers or they may even offer free babysitting during one of the morning Masses. My old parish had a “stepping out” program for children under the age of 6; before the homily, they would leave with adult volunteers and have a little catechism lesson for about 20 mins or so and return at communion time. The little ones had their first exposure to a structured lesson about the faith and the adults could focus on the rest of the Mass.

I love to hear crying kids - that means couples are choosing to have children! :slight_smile:

There are numerous reasons it could be incredibly impractical. Yes, care of young children is a valid reason to miss Mass; however, for some families you’re looking at possibly decades where a family doesn’t attend Mass together - e.g. first baby born when parents in 20s, last baby born in 40s. Some may choose to do that if it’s a dynamic that works for them, but there are practical and spiritual reasons it may not. I think it would be a disaster to tell families this is what they “should” do.

Many children grow out of childish behavior, but not all do for various reasons or they take longer than others. Should people with autism or other issues that could cause noise or disturbances at Mass be banned from attending? Or should we foster an environment at Mass that is compassionate toward those who literally not capable of silence and their caregivers?

Most people I know who care for the disabled and very young are painfully aware of the disturbances caused and work hard to curb them.

Well, it’s a tough situation. I do sometimes get distracted from the mass when I hear crying nearby. At the same time, the parish probably does not want to do anything that will discourage parents from attending. Secularism already has a negative impact on attendance.

I don’t think what you mentioned above is a sin, and I understand your frustration. I do think one should walk the baby outside, but keep in mind the general downward pressures on attendance.

It’s really hard to imagine you with a wife and children if these are the only solutions you can come up with. You assume that every family has a substantial pool of volunteers who are able and willing to come to their home and watch their kids on a Sunday morning. I propose a third solution. Families with children feel absolutely free to bring their kids to Mass and spend the time in God’s presence together. They do their best to keep their children quiet and if they get too wound up, they take them to an appropriate place to calm them down. Then the rest of the congregation realizes that the world doesn’t revolve around them and that they need to discipline themselves to focus on their prayers without being scandalized by the smallest occasional giggle or whimper from a child. If they are a fully functioning adult they ought to be able to control themselves better.

Not so easy in real life.

Crying children are NOT a bother.
You’ll see when you have children.
Until then, why don’t you volunteer to run the nursery at church? :wink:

Although, the “world doesn’t revolve” concept could be applied to both parties


So very well said.

Sometimes my wife and I are able to have someone like grandma watch our four month old daughter. But mostly we’re not and the three of us go to Mass together.

I think we’re perfectly capable of making a distinction between normal baby noises and true distractions. We’ll try our best to avoid the latter, but folks need to remind themselves that we’re not going to uproot our lives to avoid the former.

Here’s a fourth solution.

When a crying baby bothers you at Mass, offer it up in reparation for all the children who are murdered in their mother’s womb, and who have absolutely no chance of ever going to Mass in the first place.

First thoughts? How arrogant for you to imagine that no couple ever thought of those solutions themselves. For one reason or another they don’t work in every situation.

Trust me, parents are going through far more stress attempting to keep their little ones quiet than you are during the 8 seconds one of them is distracting you.

Since he does not have children, I think it would be an excellent idea for him to run the nursery at church. It would solve all of his issues and prepare him for fatherhood so he will have the most mannerly children in town. It is a win/win for everyone in the Parish.:thumbsup::):smiley:

I guess A+ for effort to those parents I see calmly taking the child for a walk

I raised 7 boys and took them to Mass with us all the time, even before cry rooms were “invented”. I do believe kids were better taught to behave (all the time, not just in Church), then. Today I see so many kids that are “out of control” and the parents don’t seem to know what to do. When I was raising my kids, a good swat on the behind worked wonders .And they didn’t have to actually “feel” it to know I meant business. The younger ones learned as they grew that minding Mom and Dad was tops. They followed the example of their older brothers also. And they were helpful in guiding the younger ones. God Bless, Memaw

Right, and A+ for those parents whose hearts you don’t see or whose struggles you’re not privy to.

I never said I didn’t sympathize. I do. I just can see both parties’ perspectives.

I’m not sure it helps to jump on the OP’s frustration with folks’ own frustration.

A crying baby is a normal part of life. And should be included in the family attending Mass. That’s how they learn. I started with my first and would say prayers with him aloud from the time he was born. He learned all the prayers I knew, (by heart) before he was 2 years old. (They also knew all the nursery rhymes, baby songs etc.) Just by hearing me repeat them. Each additional child learned the same way. Also make the Stations of the cross with your little ones, You will be surprised how fast they learn. My 2 and 3 year olds could lead the Rosary. I did the same with my grandkids and I babysit them all while moms worked. We used to “act out” some of the Bible stories. They loved that. They learned so fast and easily. Just takes a LOT of Love and a little time and patience to work with them. Lessons they will never forget. God Bless, Memaw

Yes, but I’m trying to get across that one party is far less concerned with “the world revolving around them” than your original comment insinuated. :thumbsup:

I likewise sympathize with those who have to suffer whatever sort of distractions they suffer during Mass.

But I likewise know that the Christian life involves adequately dealing with suffering.

My biggest concern is not which of the two parties has the fairest perspective.

My biggest concern is that those who complain are missing the point of the cross, and I would like to encourage them to consider that aspect of spirituality a bit more closely.

But when we talk about bearing the cross of listening to a crying baby for a few seconds here and there during Mass, I think we’re being absolutely over the top should we consider that cross to be somehow worthy of being beside ourselves in frustration over.

If a crying baby is making someone incapable of focusing on Mass, perhaps the problem isn’t the crying baby.

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