Talking, Laughing and Ridiculing Family During Holy Matrimony Mass


Colin B. Donovan wrote the “Talking in Church” response below. My question is, could not this be especially the circumstance within sacred sacramental events as Confirmations and Holy Matrimony? The jokes were directed at the groom (his cousin) and my immediate family. I could not ask him to stop as I was in the front pew. No one told them to stop. The Mass was beautiful. Their sinfulness was not in my humble opinion. I tried to show grace. They demonstrated no remorse, no apology. And it continued at the Wedding Reception this past Sept. the 6th.

Talking in Church

Assuming that what is being said is not itself sinful, it is morally neutral to talk. However, Catholic moral teaching tells us that “circumstances” change the moral character of actions.
Talking in Church when not demanded by necessity is at least venially sinful for the following reasons:

  1. It is the Lord’s House, which Jesus taught was “a house of prayer” (Mt 21:13) and thus should be used according to its purpose. This is a violation of justice against God, for whom we should have reverence.
  2. It is a violation of justice against actual neighbors who are trying to pray. Again, necessity permits talking, just as it permits practicing the music before Mass and so on. However, most conversations are trivial and could gone on elsewhere at another time. This puts them in the category of unnecessary. The truth of this is shown by the strict guard for silence maintained in the chapels of the Roman basilicas where people are praying. Even in the areas where the tourists are viewing the architecture and art, talking above a whisper is not permitted. This is an accurate reflection of the Catholic respect for the church and for others.
  3. Finally, it is a violation of charity, since as Christians we should be going “out of ourselves” to look after others first. (*My question is, could not this be especially the circumstance within sacred sacramental events as Confirmations and Holy Matrimony?) If a person crassly and knowingly disregarded others trying to pray, or worst of all did so with malice or contempt, it could even be a mortal sin against charity.
    These are basic principles of Catholic moral theology and need no other authority than that.
    ________________________________________Answered by Colin B. Donovan, STL


What is the point you are trying make?

We are surrounded by rude, ignorant people in our society all the time. This should not be a surprise to anyone. Lecturing ignorant, clueless people that they are violating moral law is a waste of time in my opinion. Do you REALLY think they are worried about their actions? In their worldview, YOU are the one with the problem.

Love them, pray for them, and leave to them stew in their own social squalor.


They did the wrong thing. You should do the right thing and pray for them and forgive them.


To DennisCoach and StFrancis: Agreed and I did that day, night and the following morning at a breakfast I hosted. Peace.

I was simply asking, (with a clear description of the events) " If that behavior, in that setting could be defined as a mortal sin?" That’s all.


I think there’s a principle that anything can be grave matter, given the right circumstances. That’s why we have to try to avoid even sins that are stated as venial sins. At what point do they become grave, I don’t have the answers to that and I doubt if anyone else on the internet does either. But one of the tests I use is to see if anyone in the family was injured by the ridiculing or other things going on. I mean put yourself in their spot and how would it feel to you. If someone hurt you, you as a victim could probably better assess the damage than the one who has hurt you.

I used to think stealing small things was venial until someone stole my bike. Yes, it was easily replaceable but that bike held a lot of sentimental value to me as well as being broken in properly, etc. It really hurt that that bicycle was stolen and in my mind anyway it was terribly grave. Probably not so in the mind of the thief. I’m sure you and others here have experienced the pain of having something stolen from them or someone trying to damage their name. Would you as a victim consider them venial sins?

But I’m no moral theologian, so they’re are just my thoughts since you asked for comments.


In order to answer that, we would have to know their hearts. And we can’t.


Thank you for some excellent, real world thoughts.


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