Please explain this tradition of certain church goers

I come from a country where a church is supposed to be silent unless there is a service/mass/concert going on/being celebrated. At the local parish some people start talking in church after Mass. Here in Sweden going go church has often been a “serious” thing. I really like the “seriousness” of going to church.
Suits me well, I think.
I was told by one of the parish Priests that in Spain or Italy people actually do talk in church and the people of those cultures talk in church after Mass. Why do they/you have this “weird” tradition? Are you even allowed to speak in the church at all unless you really had to, but then only in a low voice?

There are many cultural differences between North and South, and feeling free to talk in church before and after Mass could simply be one of those differences. I certainly don’t see anything “weird” about it, and I don’t think it’s a theological difference, though conceivably it might have something to do with Lutheran influence.

Another very noticeable cultural difference between North and South has to do with drinking. In Sweden and some other Northern countries you see complex legal restrictions on where and when you can buy beer, wine, and distilled liquor, while in the South you just get them in the supermarket along with the rest of your shopping.

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But why? Why talk in church? Why isnt it considered rude for them to talk in church? I dont get it.

Who are people being “rude” to, if everyone present in the church agrees that it isn’t rude to talk before Mass has begun or after it has finished?

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As Ronald Reagan used to say, “Well, there you go again…”

In the USA, people are not silent in church either. They usually will be mostly silent before Mass (there are sometimes a couple of people whispering or chatting very softly), but will often chat after Mass as they are leaving the church, be catching up with friends they see, etc.

And yes this happens in some countries in Europe as well.

Not every culture is the same with respect to its social interactions. Northern European culture in general tends to be much quieter than many other cultures, and that would include in church.

We all think of other cultural customs that are not our own as being “weird” because we are not used to them, but it is a bit rude to say so. The mannerly thing to do is to follow and be tolerant of the customs of the culture you are in. “When in Rome, do as the Romans do.” If I were to attend a church in Sweden where people were expected to be quiet, I would try to be very quiet. If a Swedish person were to attend a church in USA where people chatted after Mass, I would expect them to be tolerant of people chatting and not complain about it.


Why? Perhaps the question should be “Why not”?

St. Augustine spoke of the balance between a life of contemplation and action. To the strict contemplative, action might seem irreverent, but to those who are more extraverted in their approach of spirituality, the lack of action might equally be viewed as irreverent.

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I mean, to me the thing about using the church as a social room is a bit “weird” when we have other places for it…but then agaim I am no Italian.

Well, look at this
Not all Americans seem to enjoy talkative people at church.

While you like the solemnity of going to church, others appreciate more the chance to have some fellowship with their fellow church-goers.

I think there is room for both. Solemnity during the mass. Fellowship before and after. It isn’t and either/or situation.

Yes, but you have separarate buildings or room for that. This is why I dont understand the talking in church. The Priest actually told me you have other rooms for talking.

I guess those who like to talk consider it a multi-purpose room when mass isn’t in session.

People are all different. Some people like to talk in church and others don’t. Culture has a lot to do with it. I don’t see anything weird about people having different preferences.

Yes, there are people in USA who complain about those who talk in church, the same as there are people in USA who complain about

  • people who aren’t friendly at church
  • people who pray out loud at church
  • the music at church
  • the shoes the priest is wearing at church
  • literally everything about church.

That doesn’t mean their complaints/ views are shared by others.

When Mass ended yesterday, probably 80 percent of the several hundred people there said something friendly to their family member who was at Mass with them, or their friend they saw in the next pew, or the priest or deacon or lector or choir singer who were all greeting people as they left.
This is what typically happens after a Mass in USA in every parish I have been at, except for very, very traditionalist parishes.

Based on my observations of this over many decades, I think it is safe to say that the majority of US Catholics, who mostly do not post on this forum which attracts a very small and often rather extreme/ fringe element, are fine with some chatting after Mass.

It is part of the culture, which you don’t seem to understand.

Many if not most US churches do not have a separate room big enough to hold everyone who wants to exchange a brief “Hello”, or “I heard your mom was in the hospital, how is she doing?” after Mass. Some of the old churches, which mine is (it’s from the 1800s), barely have any vestibule. It would maybe hold 50 people comfortably, whereas there are several hundred people at the Mass.

Nor does everybody feel a need to go into a separate room to have a conversation that lasts 2 minutes.

It seems like Catholics are constantly getting complaints about how we’re “not friendly”, yet when a church full of people are being friendly, having a couple minutes of “fellowship time”, after Mass so it’s not a case of disrupting anyone’s prayers, now you are complaining that people talk in church and saying it’s “weird”. It’s like we can’t win.

In any event, it’s the pastor’s church and he is fine with people chatting, he’s usually in the aisle or near the door chatting with people himself - as are the other priests, deacons, lector, usher, choir singer, anyone else involved in the Mass.

It is normal behavior.


So we have people who want the social part of Mass and others like me who want the seriousness.

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“Serious” and “social” are not mutually exclusive terms.


Good question; the proper place would be at coffee and donuts (if available after mass) so people in between masses can pray or enjoy the silence.

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At many Masses I attend, there is no “in between Masses”. The Mass is the last one of the day, or the last one until much later in the day, and the church will be locked shortly after the Mass concludes.

In the cases where there is another Mass happening after the one that is letting out, the people who are chatting are there for maybe 15 minutes at most after Mass ends, allowing about a half hour to 45 minutes (or more) of relatively quiet time for the people who are coming in for the next Mass. There will be a few people talking as they come in, but it’s not the norm.

I hope you are not implying that that people can only be one or the other and not both.

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We have one mass on Sunday morning. Our parish is made up of older people that sometimes get out of the house once a week for mass. They see people there they have known for 60-70 years. Should they not talk after mass? Surely it would be kinder to just remain in church until they all shuffle out if you wish to pray after mass.


Give them a place to socialize afterwards so they can meet with the padre too; that would be really nice.

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Our priest has other places to go, other things to do. We live in a semi rural area. The seniors are not going to go over to the “place to socialize” after mass. If it does not bother the pastor of any parishes where people are talking, what business is it of anyone to suggest they need to do things differently?

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