Locked In For Mass

So, I live in a small, rural parish that shares a priest. Previous priests have at least tried to give us our own service on one day of the Triduum, but not this year. So I’m looking around at the schedules for my usual backup parishes.

I’m looking at the bulletin for one church nearby, and it says, “Hey, don’t forget-- make sure you’re on time because, as you all know, as our new security measure, we’re locking the doors once Mass starts!”

And I’m like, :anguished: , because I absolutely hate being locked into a building. Yeah, I know it’s not going to be the Triangle Shirtwaist Fire all over again, but I have absolutely zero desire to be in a place that I can’t get out of in an emergency.

So that church is pretty much permanently struck off my list of parishes to visit. Which is a pity, because it’s a beautiful church with lovely priests.

But it’s a parish-specific policy, not a diocesan policy, because we’re all in the same diocese.

Is that something that other people have going on at their churches?

Is that legal, considering the fire code?

Just curious as to what other people have encountered.

Never heard of this. Might possibly be illegal. I take it the Altar of repose is within the Church proper?


Due to fire codes, I would think the doors would be locked to get in, but not to get out




In public buildings all exit doors have to have a means to get out. I’m sure they are locked from the outside only and can be opened from the inside.


They’ve got a sliding glass door for the main exterior door, although the other doors may be the push-a-bar type.

Locking the doors in a Church means you can’t get in from the outside.

But you’re still able to get out from the inside…

You won’t be locked in.


Is this parish in a high crime area?


Thanks. Maybe I will give them a visit, just to check it out! :slight_smile:

I was having visions of deadbolts and everything. :slight_smile:

No, it’s a teeny little dairy community in a town of, like, 400. :heartbeat: Beautiful church; my town is 3,000, but their church dwarfs ours.

Our parish has done this for awhile now. Exiting isn’t an issue. Entering is prevented, and even then we have a person at each door to let in late comers.


Thanks! That’s very reassuring. :slight_smile:

What a fascinating security measure. I wonder if the ushers at the door have any sort of training on who to let in late.

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Why would they be locking the doors then?

Are you in Texas?

My Cathedral is in the inner city in a high crime area of the largest city in Northern New England (a large area comprising 3 entire States) and we don’t lock the doors…

Seems your Pastor may be just a tad bit paranoid.


I said out loud “perfect love casts out all fear”.


Yes, it’s in the Diocese of Fort Worth, in Texas.

It was kind of funny, with the timing. Texas is an open-carry state, so the Diocese went ahead and spent $$ on posting 30.06 and 30.07 signs at the entrances of every single church in the diocese after open-carry passed. :slight_smile: Then a bit later, you had the Sutherland Springs shooting, and it’s all, “Go to these classes to learn how to react in an emergency situation!” And when parishioners pointed out, “Uh, you know, you could just take down the signs, and everything would be normal?” the priest is like, “Nope! Because no one can tell the difference between a good guy and a bad guy in a shooting situation! And they’ll blame all the bullets on the good guy! So go to the class!” :face_with_raised_eyebrow:

A few months later, they followed it up with, “We’re going to train our greeting ministry to recognize weird people who have no business being here. And we’re going to train another ministry to act like security, and escort weird people out of church. And we’re going to have a medical ministry, too, in case Bad Stuff Happens.” And I’m like, y’all are making this way too complicated… we only have, like, 60-80 people attending on Sunday. :face_with_raised_eyebrow:


Ah, okay.

Then since it’s in Texas, I can certainly understand the extra security measure.

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Preferably instead of locking the doors, I’d rather just have a couple well trained ushers carrying .38 revolvers in ankle holsters.

That would make me feel more secure than locked doors would.

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Heheh. Could you explain a bit further? :slight_smile:

Around here, it’s normal for churches to be locked, except when there’s a Mass imminent, and then the church gets locked up again about 20 minutes after Mass has concluded. So you don’t get the kind of drop-in-and-pray ability that you might get in other places. I thought that was a bit overboard (and sad) when I first came to Texas. But I’m not used to Texans absolutely losing their collective minds because of the smidgiest possibility of a threat… All of the security measures have been from the diocese, and the parishioners just kind react like-- “Really?”

I was reading the “Letters to Santa” when I first moved to this town. The first year, it was like everyone from K-4 was wanting a gun of some sort. Several of them had a list of six or seven guns. When I go subbing for the teachers, I see they’ve got photos of their nine-year-olds posing next to deer they’ve shot. Ducks and dove and hogs are also big business around here as well. The people in this town know their guns, and they know how to use them, and they know the difference between a circumstance that requires a gun, vs a circumstance where a gun isn’t necessary.

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