Examination of conscience: talking in church

I realize there are probably numerous threads on talking in church, but this may be a little different.

My 1962 missal poses the question in its examination of conscience, giving a clear implication that it is a sin.

I’m working with my son in preparation for his first confession and communion using The New Saint Joseph First Communion Catechism. It also mentions the “talking in church” issue in its examination of conscience. I think this book does have an imprimatur.

A Catholic coloring book I bought for my son has a page with a picture of a church, underneath is written something to the effect of “We should not laugh or talk unnecessarily in God’s house.”

Why is this very basic teaching not being reinforced in parishes? Why does it seem like the older folks, who probably grew up under this “regime”, have seemingly forgotten the importance of silence in the church?

I would say it’s because Christians love each other and when they see each other in Church, they want to express that love to each other. The Bible says that the world will know we are Christians by our love for one another.

Does the current Catechism of the Catholic Church say that talking or laughing in Church is a sin?

Frankly, I would not base my assessment of “sin” on a child’s coloring book that is attempting to train a child in good manners.

Nor would I base my assessment of sin on a forty-five year-old missal.

No. The CCC does not say its a sin.

Why? I’m not saying current materials are wrong, but is there anything to say that posing the question of whether talking in Church is sinful is incorrect material for an examination of conscience? :confused:

I’m glad there are so many people who talk in church,…I’m especially grateful for the all the parishoners who think it’s ok to do “what ever feels good”.

If it weren’t for them, we might not have the Motu Proprio.


We’ve had a message in our bulletin the past few weeks asking us to read certain articles taken form The Long Island Catholic regarding behavior in church. The first article was on not talking and mainting a sacred silence in the church. I have not seen much of an improvement. I really think we need to have these things mentioned from the pulpit.


I’m not posing the question based on a coloring book. You seemed to have not noticed that its also in my son’s First Communion Catechism book, which has a nihil obstat and imprimatur. As far as not considering the 1962 missal’s examination of conscience as credible, why? The church does not change on matters of faith and moral…liturgical practices are a different situation though, and “sin” isn’t really considered a liturgical practice.

I think what the “no talking in church” is referring to is excessive, ridiculous, obnoxious and loud chatting. Is there anything wrong with a quiet whisper between a couple people, subtle and not distracting?..No.

Ecclesiastes 3:7 A time to rend, and a time to sew. A time to keep silence, and a time to speak.

Habacuc 2:20 But the Lord is in his holy temple: let all the earth keep silence before him.


The Bible also says that we are to maintain a holy silence before God, as other posters have pointed out. The best way to express love for one another is to maintain a proper atmosphere of prayer in God’s holy temple in order to foster a true spirit of prayer and piety in our brethren. Carrying on and yaking in Church is usually just idle chatter and pointless gossip and even if it isn’t-take it outside. If one needs to talk in church, it should be in a hushed tone and to the point.

Does the current Catechism of the Catholic Church say that talking or laughing in Church is a sin?

The current CCC doesn’t mention a lot of things, because it wasn’t intended as a moral theology handbook. It is, by design, extremely general. Nor does the CCC intend to make anything tha came before null and void.

Frankly, I would not base my assessment of “sin” on a child’s coloring book that is attempting to train a child in good manners.

Nor would I base my assessment of sin on a forty-five year-old missal.

True is true, no matter the source.

I definitely don’t think it should be labeled as a sin, but wow, it sure is distracting to those of us who are praying and/or diligently trying to pay attention to the Mass.

Example: I’m kneeling praying. Two older ladies are sitting a few pews behind me discussing hip replacements and how so-and-so is doing with hers.

It’s irritating to say the least.

Maybe when you’re an old lady, you’ll be glad that someone is interested in your hip replacement.

I agree that people should take their extended conversations out to the narthex or lobby or to the restrooms. And I agree it would be better to hold loud, hilarious conversations after Mass, perhaps at someone’s home or at a restaurant or other public place.

But a hushed whisper in the pew-- “Hi, how are you feeling?” or “I heard Mabel is home from the hospital now after her hip replacement.”-- these are not sin. They are expressions of love and concern for our fellow Christians.

If a person tripped and fell down in the aisle as they walked into the sanctuary, you would help them up and make sure they were physically OK, wouldn’t you?

Then why is it wrong to pick someone up who has been “hurt” by surgery or an illness by inquiring briefly as to whether they’re doing OK and asking if there’s anything you can do to help them?

I agree.

Laugh, but this isn’t how it happened, nor did I say that it should be a sin. It was probably 10 minutes long and it wasn’t in hushed voices. Trust me, if it would’ve went down how you described I wouldn’t have bothered mentioning it.

Of course, let’s not be silly.

I’m not sure where you’re getting that it happened briefly (and in hushed voices) since I didn’t imply this in my initial post. Of course what you have said here wouldn’t be wrong in the slightest, but I never said this is how it happened. Obviously you didn’t read my post thoroughly.

Obviously I didn’t, Lorrie.

But again, I would say that perhaps you will feel differently when you are old and have had a hip replacement. It is a dreadful, horrible surgery that has a long, painful recovery. The risk of infection and the consequences (often death) are frightening to the elderly. And the worst part of the whole ordeal is the possibility of losing indepedence and ending up in a nursing home.

I say, give the elderly a break. Be charitable. Try to put yourself in their shoes. They are a lot closer to heaven than those of us who are younger.

Many of the elderly spend a great deal of their private time in prayer. We have a group of elderly ladies and gentlemen in our parish who have committed to praying for the conversions of poor sinners and Protestants. I owe these old ones my salvation and my Catholicism. If they want to talk about their scary surgeries, then that’s fine with me. As our priest often says, “God love 'em!”

I say go for it. Invite them out for coffee. Offer to pick them up and take them out for coffee or lunch. I am sure they would greatly appreciate this gesture – where can really take time taking about the surgeries etc.

if shows of emotion are not to be had in God’s house. Would that include crying? when we cry at funeral masses, but head on shoulders… comfort… would that be covered my the 62 missal as well. there is no reason to think it wouldn’t be. if laughing is a sin, then crying should be as well.

That is such a nice idea. My husband and I were talking a few days ago about inviting some of our elderly “pew mates” out after Mass. I may be wrong, but I think that some of them don’t go out very often due to limited income. Such an invitation would be welcome, I’m sure.

Most things don’t divide neatly into “sins” and “non-sins.”

Why were you talking? To help someone find the right place in the prayer book? Explaining something to a visitor? Greeting a parishioner returning from a long illness? Discussing the Super Bowl?

Most unnecessary talking (in church or elsewhere) is not so much sinful as rude, or so it seems to me.

Can someone who doesn’t think that any talking in church is sinful, please address the issue as to why a Catechism instruction book that has the issue in the examination of conscience, with a nihil obstat and imprimatur, is not to be followed? These designations guarantee that the book is free from error in regards to the teaching of the Church, no?

Perhaps it was in a child’s catechism book because children see things in “black” and “white.” They may, for example, not be able to see the distinction between quietly asking someone how they are feeling in church vs. carrying on a conversation with their brother about Star Wars.

Kids need to know that in general terms, Mass is not the time or place to be “gabbing.” It is a time to worship, reflect on sins, partake in God’s gifts, and generally be reverent.

As they age, they will be able to understand distinction, but as kids, just tell them “be quiet in church!”


:smiley: ROTFL:D

That’s exactly how I feel about ADULTS talking in Church!!


That does make sense, but because a 1962 missal I have asks the same question, I have to wonder if its really just a youth issue.

My 1962 missal is the Angelus Press version, without an imprimatur. Does anyone have an original Tridentine mass missal or the newer Baronius Press missal? I’m wondering if the issue is likewise in those missals.

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