Mass behavior for all


I feel as you do I was just trying to share some things here for all of us, ME INCLUDED, to learn from.


I think your intention was good, but I think it puts many, myself included, in a very defensive and frustrated position.

When you’re a teenager and someone makes a big fuss about your friend in a dress but sneers at your (rather nice) slacks.

When you’ve just worked 8 hour shift, been up since 5am, done homework and are attending a 7pm Mass and have the usher say that you smell of friench fries.

When you’re in the workforce for the first time and trying to hold everything together and some self-righteous usher points to the sign about “inappropriate” tees and all yours is…is one for your work…that you HAD to wear…and is in no way inappropriate.

When you’re 7 months pregnant, wrestling a toddler and just can’t kneel and the old biddie behind you stage whispers to her husband “See, I told you, young people, today just don’t have the same respect. We’re kneeling and you even have a new hip.”

When you’re like my mom and needing to take care of an elderly person and wear clothes to ensure that they can be supported right and someone makes a declration about how EM’s should do XYZ…even though my mom was an EM in an emergency.

I think many of us, especially those who have little to no control over our situation have either felt or outright been judged by people who truly believe these things and wish others did as they did.


A couple of thoughts, and I admit they are half-hearted: First, aren’t these kind of preaching to the choir? Secondly, I think what bugs be about such articles is that they focus on externals and superficial stuff. I could walk into Church dressed in whatever way a random person thinks is appropriate, present a reverent posture… but you wouldn’t know in my heart the harsh, hateful thoughts and behaviors I barely left at the door. One is visible and the other invisible and people seem much more interested in the first. Why? Because it’s easier.

Yes, how one is dressed for Mass can represent one’s disposition but what they don’t acknowledge is how often the former has little to do with the latter. And the ones who seem to notice this are the ones well versed in the correct dress, behavior, and comportment but lack mercy and won’t hesitate to grumble to friends or worse approach the busy Mom with busy kids or whom-ever.


Thank you for this!

My teenage daughter came to me in tears last week, telling me that she doesn’t want to go to our church anymore. She is very sensitive to sounds and scents and prone to migraines. Sometimes the incense and constant chanting are overwhelming to her and sometimes they even trigger a migraine. Sometimes her over sensitivity seems like a cop-out, but I’ve spent 14 years learning that sensory processing disorder is very real. We decided that she will start out the Liturgy sitting with us, but when it gets to be too much, she can get up and sit at the back of the church if she needs to, or even leave the church at times. I’ve encouraged her to rejoin us when she feels like she is able. I’m sure seems like a lot of in and out. In fact, our Cantor, who stands at the back of the church, once gave her the affectionate nickname “in and out girl”. Perhaps others have been less affectionate and more judgmental. Regardless, she is learning to do what is best for her own health and well-being. She tries to come in and out in an unobtrusive manner, but I’m sure somebody is distracted by it. I know that having an older sister who goes in and out a lot effects my other children, who also would like to leave. It makes my job more difficult in a number of ways. This is my daughter’s cross to bear and it is a heavy one. It effects every aspect of her life . It would be helpful if we always try to look at people with kindness and compassion. I know this isn’t easy and it often feels like making excuses for people, but making excuses for them has got to be better then being judgmental.


I was visiting a parish and there was a mother in the back with her very much adult autistic son calming him. Little one was being an absolute nightmare. The mother looked at me and sighed–“people understand so much better when kids are young”. I told her, “It’s up to us moms to do what our kids need”…for the benefit of not only her but the mother with 3 little girls who was nearly in tears trying to get them to behave. The oldest was furious she wasn’t allowed to stay in Mass by herself (she HAD her First Communion last month, after all, how DARE her mother to deprive her of Mass), the middle seemed to have issues (dad was dealing with her) and then the toddler, like mine, had lost her mind.

Had I not be wrestling with my own, I’d of offered to sit with her eldest daughter in Mass.

Today we understand SO MUCH more about human physiology (like a preschooler needing to pee) and psychology (like spectrum disorders). My niece has no sense of time. Typically a sense of time is developed between 18 months and 3 years. Having a 10-year-old who didn’t understand time at all is ROUGH. She could read a clock but unlike a child who can grasp “fun things make time go fast” she could not. Trying to explain the thought process of someone who cannot understand time is really difficult. When she had a random thought pop into her head, sometimes she HAD to say it. She couldn’t help it. She had waited and waited what she felt was already an unfair amount of time–even if it had been minutes. Letting her talk helped her sanity.

100 years ago, there’s no doubt my niece would of been beaten and shamed into compliance. But that wouldn’t change the fact that she dosn’t understand how time works…it would of just abused her into being in a prison of her own mind during Mass—and inhibited her from actually focusing when she could.



I was very worried when I had to show up for mass in my cargo pants and polo and whatever dirt I had on me. It wasn’t “appropriate.” But it was the option I had.


Imagine what my high school friend when through when she biked to Mass from her job as a paintball referee. Her mom couldn’t take her because her autistic little sister was having issues riding in a car. When she was at the paintball club she was 3 miles closer to Church. My parents took her to Mass with us as she didn’t live far, but sometimes things didn’t work out. (before we could all drive)

I’d of wanted to get into it with whoever tried to tell her what was and wasn’t appropriate. How.dare.they.

Sometimes life happens.


I’ve heard people say, “People didn’t have these problems in my day. Parents just made their children behave.” Well, yes they did exist. The more severe cases were institutionalized from a young age and most people never saw them. Certainly, nobody would have thought to give them religious instruction and bring them to Mass. More moderate cases we’re often marginalized by our society. Also, the noise and bustle and never-ending busyness of our modern world can tend to amplify the symptoms, even in milder cases.


A LOT of parents give their kids food and sippy cups during Mass.


No. If you think you may need to pee, sit in a place where you can get out easily and get to the restroom quickly. Plenty of elderly people sometimes need to potty during Mass too.

If one is going to encourage Catholics to have several children and also encourage them to attend Mass, then kids needing the bathroom, even if they just went before you left home for church, is a fact of life. I do agree that parents need to control their kids better in the pews so they aren’t running up and down the aisle or climbing the pew like it’s a jungle gym or kicking the seats, but potty breaks don’t bother me. In fact it can be a relief to have the kid be gone from the pew for the 10 minutes it takes them to be escorted to the bathroom and back.


I agree gum should not be brought in, but a non-messy snack or sippy cup for a small child or for any person with blood sugar issues is normal. My mother always brought saltines for me when I was a preschooler and gave them to me at communion time so I could eat them in the pew while she and Dad went to Communion. It kept me from bugging them about why I couldn’t go up to Communion too.


Indeed it does not… I’m not saying this to anyone in this thread, but the overfocusing on ones neighbor seems to provide a great deal of fodder for sanctimoniously complaining about fellow parishioners on message boards like this one.

Again, that’s not addressed to anyone participating here.


Well I am a type 1 Diabetic and I had to have someone drive me to Mass last night because I was experiencing a serious low in blood sugar . So I brought food with me in a lunch container that included orange juice Pepsi cola a couple of sandwiches and some pretzels and I ate just about all of it before and during Mass because it took that much to bring my blood sugar up to normal. The priest even came and gave me communion in my pew. Before Mass he even had me sit in the front row so he could keep an eye on me. Oh and I did leave the area clean.


Food and drink have become entertainment instead of nourishment. They spread out a picnic in the church pew, makes me wonder what illness makes these kids (above the age of an infant who is fed on demand) unable to go one hour without a bag of cheese crackers, cheerios, candy, juice, etc. Not to mention the mess they leave behind.


You have an illness. You are the exception to the rules, and even the Church documents wrt fasting are clear that those with illnesses are exempt.


I don’t judge, I’m happy to see anybody and everybody at Mass in whatever state in life they are in. I’m no perfect daughter, sister, wife or mother believe me. I do NOT have it all together as a person or as a Catholic but I am continually striving to do better. I am the least worthy of many to be going up for Communion. But by God’s grace, love and forgiveness I am able to receive Him.

I posted the links JUST to share how important the Mass is and what we ALL, MYSELF INCLUDED should try to remember when we are there. NO JUDGEMENT, NO spying from the pew to gossip about later, NO comparing me to anybody else or anybody else to me and DEFINITELY NO way saying I am better or do better than anybody else—HECK NO I’ve been right where you all are with the work and the kids and the life issues. It was just something I thought we could all use here.


What I don’t get is those who can not even acknowledge the validity of the items on these list. Is every person going to follow every single one 100%? No, that would be ridiculous. Instead there are many excuses of why they can’t follow this one or that one because they have a “special circumstance” going on.

We all the ability to dress nicely when going to Mass. We all the ability to control the behavior of our children at Mass. We all the ability to conduct ourselves in a manner that shows reverence to God while at Mass.

Quit making excuses for why you feel you should be exempt. Quit feeling as though every single post is a judgement about you personally. Quit thinking this all about you. This is about God and celebrating the life of Jesus. This is about the one hour per week you give to God. Does it mean so little to you that your needs come before God? Before the Eucharist?

I can make a great deal of excuses about why I don’t do this or that, but I will never make an excuse when asked to give God my time. I’ve also learned in my many years that excuse making it a waste of time. One is better to own their behavior as they then learn to change the behaviors.


The reason I’ve reached the don’t care/flip answer point about it is I’m tired of listening to people whine about whatever little habit of their neighbor is supposedly wrecking their Mass experience. Most of the time, churches are big enough to allow a person to pick a seat in an area away from whatever the distraction is, and a lot of us have access to more than one Mass especially on Sunday and more than one church. We don’t all want the same experience when we go to Mass, nor are we all equally bothered by the same stuff. I have no idea why people constantly moan about it on here and have the same discussions over and over. Even though I have a short list of pet peeves myself, I was taught to “offer it up” and if need be change my Mass attendance to an experience I liked better. Furthermore, if a mature person cannot manage to focus on Jesus and set aside the noise or the clothing or the fact that their neighbor is drinking some water, I think that person needs to learn some patience.

Complaining constantly is not going to make everybody change their behavior to suit you. Mass is a communal experience and I am willing to bet the same amount of bickering and complaining went on among the early Christians and in every other era, because when you have a crowd of people, someone is going to get on someone else’s nerves. Since we cannot control other people, I have no idea why people don’t control their own reactions to it. I reckon some people just get a big charge out of endlessly complaining and then also complaining about those who don’t agree with, sympathize with, or give a hoot about their complaint.


I’m not asking anyone to suit me.



The church is made up of people who are going to have a “special circumstance” such is life.

The point that @darklight and I were trying to make is that NO, we don’t always have the ability to “dress nicely” (which to some means suit and tie/dress) when we go to Mass.

The point @babochka and I were trying to point out is that NO, you CANNOT always control your child.

We are not pointing out why we should feel exempt but why people should be less crass about things that they do NOT understand in the slightest. And in all actuality, the CCC DOES understand when your needs come before God and the Eucharist. This is why it makes it clear that there are exceptions for health (mental, physical and neurological). Like I said before, pre-1950’s it was unthinkable for a mother to leave the house with a baby under a month old. Most mothers did not attend Mass until their child was done “exclusively breastfeeding” which was anywhere between 5 and 9 MONTHS. Today we do not have such a culture. Mothers of infants are expected to go to church, period. That means taking a week old infant.

You are seeing “excuses” and many of us are just seeing ----life. There is no “better” way for my niece to act unless I was to hide her in a broom closet (she’d miss Mass in that case). There was no “better” way for me to dress in my early working days unless I was to miss Mass entirely.

You are asking people to agree to the self-rigdgous proclimations of those who have no mercy on people who are already up against a rock and a hard place.

Sorry, I cannot and will not do that.

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