Mass question: can I step out during the sermon?

Where I go to Mass I am becoming very impatient with the Sunday sermons. Not only do several of our priests waffle on, having accents make it increasingly difficult to understand the waffle. Can I step out until the sermon winds down …my Christian charity has bottomed out.

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Walking out because the priest is waffling or speaking in an accent you can’t understand is not, I believe, a good thing to do. If a priest was preaching outright heresy that clearly, and without any doubt, contradicted the teachings of the Church then that might be different, but not be because you think he is waffling or because you can’t understand his accent.

It is nice to hear a good homily that you can clearly hear and understand, but not all priests are equal in their abilities to deliver this and really does it matter that much? The homily is not the most important part of the Mass (a priest doesn’t even have to give one on weekday Masses). As for the accent of the priest, I think we should be grateful for the priest regardless of which country he has come from and if we find his accent difficult to understand then I think we should be grateful and just put up with it.


Accents become better with practice. I suggest listening instead of thinking the priest is going to be too generous with words.
Practice patience.


My hearing is not always brilliant, so I tend to sit close to the front. One thing that I do when I am struggling to hear the priest is bow my head down and listen. For me hearing with no distractions in observing the priest helps hearing. Perhaps the sound system is not the best at your church. A priest at my old church used to do 20 minute sermons, a few of the parishioners complained to priest and they were trimmed down to 10 minutes.

Walking out during sermons is not the best idea. Though I was once very close to walking out during to preaching heresy but remembered once in a discussion with another parish member that she had done this once and was seen by the priest and others as scandalous. I got through the sermon by praying the Rosary silently.


There are any number of good reasons why someone might have to leave Mass. I personally don’t think yours is a very good reason but who am I to judge your heart. If you must step out, try to minimize the distraction to others that your departure from Mass and your return to Mass will cause. I suggest you prepare for your departure beforehand by siting next to a rear exit when you first come in the church and time your departure so that it occurs between two liturgical elements, not in the middle of one, such as after the gospel reading when the rest of the standing congregation begins to sit down for the homily, not in the middle of the homily. Similarly, time your return to Mass so that it occurs between two liturgical elements, not in the middle of one, such as immediately after the homily, when the priest invites the sitting congregation to stand for the recitation of the Creed, not in the middle of the homily.


When I was an altra server as a boy, there was a period that our church didn’t have a regular priest. The old priest left and they didn’t immediately have somebody to replace him so for half a year or more we got all sorts of visiting priests and it was rare if it was even the same one two or three Sundays in a row. Many of the priests were not familiar with our church building and so as altar servers we had to do a lot of herding and showing were things were kept and how to switch on the microphone and there would sometimes be awkward situations when the priest tried to do something that we weren’t accustomed to, or would stand in the wrong place or wasn’t aware there was supposed to be a hymn and would immediately jump to the next part of the mass. Or maybe expect us altar servers to do something or get involved in something that we weren’t aware of.

As many of these priests were visiting from foreign countries it was sometimes difficult to hold even basic conversations and ask them to do this or wait with this. One of them even had somebody translate his homilies into English and would then read them off a sheet of paper while mispronouncing almost everything, so hardly anybody knew what he was talking about. And that went on for about 20 minutes. That guy was still a wonderful priest though, full of human warmth and kindness. And it came across even if we didn’t really follow what he was saying.


On the occasions when I have to sit through a homily that is too long, not very good, disturbing in some way, etc. I will usually discreetly pray the Rosary or other prayers, or discreetly read some Scripture out of the pew missal, or discreetly look at things on my smartphone, until it is over. I only get up and step out if I feel ill.

Usually the homilies are pretty good and I don’t have a problem listening to them. There is one priest at a church outside my parish who speaks for far too long, and a couple of deacons who also tend to speak too long and whose homily style or choice of topics often annoy me. Everybody else is generally okay.

Having said that, if you really feel agitated to the point where you need to step out and can’t just sit there and offer it up and pray silent prayers, then sit on the end towards the back and side and try to step out and back in discreetly.


If you sit through the homilies you could shorten your time in Purgatory. or you could shorten someone elses time in Purgatory.


Thanks Poche…yours is the response that resonated best with me. I already sit in the front etc.


Doesn’t sound anything like a mindset of a Catholic?

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Patience in a virtue. I will pray that God sends you the patience to remain in your seat during the sermon. We are at Mass to serve and glorify God, and that includes listening to the Priest.
If you want to be entertained, go to a movie.
:pray: :pray: :pray: :pray: :pray: :pray: :pray:

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Very well said!!! :pray: :pray: :pray: :pray: :pray: :pray: :pray:

I think to walk without having a pressing need (child crying, need for the restroom, etc…) is rude.


Go ahed and do it. Most people will not notice or care. Few of them will probably assume you have bathroom issues…


Can you change where you go to mass? Understanding the homily is important.

Surely, i have stepped out when my nose was running and I was desperate for a Kleenex, not thinking to bring some. I have stepped out if I suddenly didn’t feel well. But if in my entire life I have stepped out of mass more than five times, I would be surprised.

I think your reason is inadequate for leaving the mass but may be good reason to find another parish, or perhaps figure out if a particular priest is more understandable than others and make a point of attending when he is presiding.

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Wow. I grew up Protestant, and if the pastor didn’t speak for at least a half hour (45 minutes was the preferred sermon length–with 3 Points that could be written in the “Sermon Notes” section of the bulletin and meditated upon during daily Quiet Times throughout the week), the congregation started speaking in whispers about him “falling away.” If the short sermons continued for more than a few weeks, the church elders/deacons were likely to have a word with the pastor!



As we’ve discussed before, Protestant services are often like this because their reason for attending church is to hear the preacher speak. And a whole lot of Protestants just don’t bother attending services if they don’t want to hear the sermon.

When I met my husband, I asked him why, if he was so committed to remaining Presbyterian, he didn’t attend Presbyterian services. As in, he never went at all except once in a great while, like once a year or even less, he would go with his father. My husband said he didn’t like sermons so he didn’t see any point in going. He figured if he ever needed to pray or something he could just do it at home.

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I agree that if it’s that much of a barrier for you attending another parish is the best choice. Hopefully, you have one close by.

If not, try to offer it up as a penance. Just as we force ourselves to not eat when we are fasting, forcing ourselves to remain seated when we want to get up could be used as one, too.

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Not to mention that, if the OP’s problem is a lack of Christian charity, then giving into that lack isn’t the way to build up and strengthen that virtue! Imagine if everyone who had a problem with a virtue said, “meh… instead of working on the virtue, I’m gonna give in to the vice I’m struggling with!”… :astonished:

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Is going to another parish not an option?

Hrm. What denomination were you? I’ve been to a few Protestant services and didn’t find their sermons to be that long. Some were noticeably longer than the ones in a Catholic Church (Presbyterian and LCMS were of about the same length, maybe slightly longer), but I don’t think any came close to a full half hour.

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