Perfume and cologne-free mass?

(No, I’m not concerned about incense. While I’m sure there are people made ill by incense, this is not nearly as heavily concentrated a set of chemicals as the average cologne or perfume.)

I just called the local Diocese to ask who’s offering fragrance-free mass in town, and they acted like they’d never heard of such a thing. Since so many people are made severely ill (asthma attacks, migraine, seizures, vomiting, dizziness and falling, etc. etc. etc.) by cologne and perfume, it’s continually amazing to me how few people know that this is a major problem. It kept my mother from participating in Catholicism at all, and since I’ve been trying to return to the Church, I’ve been playing Goldilocks trying to find a seat where I can breathe (even at the early service, which is the least crowded).

This seems like an important enough issue for the U.S. Bishops to take it on. I’ve not seen a single Church in town that doesn’t have wheelchair access, so how come there aren’t any that offer even one fragrance-free mass? (The only reference I found on line was for one service at one church about 900 miles away.) I desperately miss the Church, and want to particpate, but how can I if doing so makes me Ill, or if I have to constantly change seats, or get up and leave in the middle of the service? Who needs that much constant stress, and none of it’s exactly conducive to contemplation.

I’ve not mentioned anything (yet) at my local parish because I’m already fighting this war in at work as a result of a heavy user who’s moved into my work area recently (and, yes, there’s a Union lawyer involved). I’m assuming best practice would be to not “go over anyone’s head”, but I don’t want to get a reputation as a trouble maker when I’m still one of the new kids and nervous about everything anyway.

Help? :blush:

Well, as a completely un-biased outside observer, it sounds to me as though you’re just a tad more sensitive to these kinds of fragrances than most other people.

I’ll just add…don’t expect anything from the USCCB on this any time soon.

Speak to your Pastor, perhaps he can suggest the mass with the lowest attendance. Usually, this is the earliest Mass on Sunday AM, with many empty pews you could sit a distance from other people who may have offending odors?

As Priests are stretched to the limit, they can only celebrate so many masses each day, to get a mass added to the schedule is not very likely. Your Pastor will have the best advice for you.

I’ve never heard of it either. I’d call around to different parishes and find the least-attended Mass in your area; there’s certainly some somewhere. It’s probably the best you’re going to get.

If it is a serious problem for you, you can probably get a dispensation to miss Sunday Mass and attend a less-attended Daily Mass instead.

I’m not talking about adding a service; I’m talking about have one Sunday mass declared fragrance-free.

I already attend the earliest, least crowded mass. I am already moving around constantly to get away from the users. That’s my point. Why even bother going to Church at all if it’s just stressful and migraine-inducing, and it I can’t relax at all worrying about who’s going to sit down where next? Why not just take society’s orders, i.e. that disabled people deserve to be socially isolated?

To Passus:

Some estimates conclude there are at least 50 million of us in the U.S. alone are made ill by fragrances. At least 26 million Americans alone have asthma.

So, you’re saying you approve of Churches that aren’t accessible to the disabled? Or, are you saying that God hates migraineurs, et al., so it’s perfectly understandable that we don’t get to play Catholic with the normies?

Most, perhaps all, people shouldn’t be exposed to many of the poisons in perfume and cologne. In fact, because many fragrances are now benzene and gasoline-based, it’s quite likely that heavy users are addicted to the high they get from spraying up in the AM, and this is one reason they refuse (or are physcially unable) to not wear the stuff even for a couple of hours.

A site with more info on the subject.


Oh, you’re one of those. I don’t think anyone was rude until now, but if that’s what you want, I’m happy to oblige. :slight_smile:

I assume that this isn’t about worshipping the Almighty Lord; it’s about some cause you’re promoting.

Let’s not speak for God, thankyouverymuch. I doubt that He’s ever written extensively on the subject of migraineurs (I learned a new word today!), so it’s a bit disingenuous to say that He hates them. In fact, based on the handful of comments in this thread, there’s only one individual who seems to have “hate” on their mind. And it’s not me or the omnipresent Lord.

But if you have some agenda to push, the proper place would be to take it up with your diocese rather than an internet messageboard. Trust me, if I had the power to hold Masses that excluded undesirable things/people/situations, I totally would. Alas! I have no such authority. Still, I suspect that you diocese will probably give you similar suggestions as above.


I am also sensitive to cologne, perfume, scented candles, and many other “unnatural” scents. They tend to give me migraines. The stronger the scent the more pounding the migraine.

The previous pastor of my church would place something in the bulletin similar to “Please be aware that some people in the community are extremely sensitive to colognes and perfumes, please keep usage in moderation.” or something like that.

I wasn’t the person that complained but I was grateful to whoever did. I haven’t seen it in the bulletin since we got our new pastor a few years ago but most people at my church keep it light.

My husband is allergic to perfume. It gives him asthma. So we sit in the least populated section of the church, the front row. This works for us.

Can I add this to the “only in America” list?
Because really, only in America do you find this foolishness. And you might find it rough, but it is exactly it. God does a lot for us, he is ardent to come in contact with us, He loves so much that He would have died for just one of us that would have sinned.

And you are all indignified because the bishop’s office has never hear of a fragrance-free mass?

I’ve never heard of a fragrance free Mass but scented products (including deodorant, lotion, aftershave, cologne, perfume, and the like) are usually not appreciated in choir areas.

If you lived in Europe, you’d appreciate good smelling people.
Geez how Europeans smell! No joke, only in North and South America are daily baths a given in life.

In summer, oh you wish you could throw some Oust! on them!

Snark? Verbal Abuse?
In what posts, before this one, was their either?
People offered you solutions to your problem.
And personally, I think that sitting up front, at the first Mass, is going to be your best bet.

I was going to suggest that the person attend a Mass where the choir is not present and, with the permission of the pastor, sit in the choir loft. That is usually far enough removed that scents are not an issue. Then the only exposure would be at communion time.

As for a “perfume and cologne-free Mass” – it probably won’t happen. First, those who are sensitive to these scents do not qualify under the ADA which is about all parishes can afford to worry about. The problem is that the church is “accessible” by all ADA definitions and cannot require other people to follow any particular guidelines.

This is not a matter of “hate” at all – it’s a realistic understanding (and, just as a side not, I do not find strong scents particularly appealing and can actually become quite ill if forced to be around them more than a few minutes).

Deacon Ed

haha I have to agree!

I have never heard of perfume/cologne-free masses, and honestly, even if one was enacted, it wouldn’t work. Even as a musician, where it is usually a rule that no musicians are to wear any kind of perfumes/colognes and such, there will always be at least one person who does and then at least one person will have some sort of allergic reaction or asthma attack.

My mother has severe asthma and is especially allergic to certain perfumes and cigarette smoke - even if it is just on the clothes of the smoker. Many times has she had horrible attacks due to someone around her wearing a very strong perfume or cologne. We just try to find a place in church that doesn’t have the smell of perfume/cologne or cigarette smoke (the latter is rare).

I’ve seen some churches put something in their bulletins about being aware of people with allergies and asthma when coming to mass. I think that is the best one can do in situations like that. You really can’t decree a perfume-free mass.

Well, you can issue a decree. :smiley:

But if passing laws and issuing decrees was all it took to change things then the world be a much different place.

I know where you’re coming from. I suffer from severe allergies, and i can’t stand to be around people with heavy fragrance. This is a problem during mass. The older ladies seem to like putting on the Elizabeth Taylor :wink:

But, I don’t see how they could stop people from putting on perfume and cologne for a mass, as nice as that would be. I’d say go to the least attended Mass. Also, if you are next to someone with a heavy fragrance and feel bothered, step outside and get some air. Do what you need to do.


haha! Yeah. But, personally, even though a part of me wants to protect my mother from asthma attacks, I don’t think I have the right
to tell others that they can’t wear perfume or not smoke or not wear hair gels, shampoo, hair spray that might have chemicals in the perfume which can spark off an asthma attack. If it was for a music job, then yes, I would have that right since I’m hiring those people or since I’m part of the music group.

So true. It’s human nature for people not to follow laws, especially ones that may not be just or right either in everyone’s eyes or in that individual’s eyes alone. :stuck_out_tongue:

I suffer from this problem too. (Not as bad as my allergy to incense, since I’ve never had my throat close on me due to perfume, but it’s bad enough.)

I just try to sit far away from anybody who smells “strong”, and I carry benadryl strips in my purse. (They usually work for me, even when the pills don’t. Go figure.)

This may sound like a weird suggestion, but could you sit in the choir loft? (If your church has one?) I remember when I was a kid, one of the parishes always had this guy in the choir loft. He had some sort of acute anxiety problem, and couldn’t manage being in the pews so close to the crowds. So, he stayed in the choir loft with the organist, and someone bought communion up to them. :shrug:

Or maybe find some other “out-of-the-way” place to park yourself, if the perfume is causing that many problems??

Did I say this?

Did I say this, either?

Excuse me, but I don’t consider “Catholic” something to be played. But, that certainly does say a lot about you.

First of all, how do you know these individuals are wearing fragrances that actually contain poisons? You probably wouldn’t know the difference between an entirely natural fragrance of essential oils and the cheap drug store spray.

One could make a stronger case against cigarette smoke and fuel emissions.

Oh, goodness.

You wouldn’t happen to have a source for any of that, would you? (Particularly the part about the morning highs…)

I’m going to keep my mouth shut. :stuck_out_tongue:


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