What is wrong with applauding in Church?

In the AAA section, a question was asked about the “kiss” during a wedding ceremony, and why there is none in some weddings. In Michelle Arnolds answer, she wrote this:

One of the advantages of omitting the kiss is that it discourages the congregation from the unfortunate modern trend of applauding in church, which is what many people now think they should do at the first kiss.

Can someone tell me what is wrong with applause in church?

This is a simple human expression of joy, and it is not disrespectful in any way to God (IMO). Am I missing something here?

The Pope has this to say about it:

**“Whenever applause breaks out in the liturgy because of some human achievement, it is a sure sign that the essence of liturgy has totally disappeared and been replaced by a kind of religious entertainment.”

Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger
The Spirit of the Liturgy (Pg 198)**

I love our pope.:love:

“Whenever applause breaks out in the liturgy because of some human achievement, it is a sure sign that the essence of liturgy has totally disappeared and been replaced by a kind of religious entertainment.”

Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger
The Spirit of the Liturgy (Pg 198)

Is baptism a human achievement? Is a marriage a human achievement?

Couldn’t applause be viewed as thanking God for bestowing a sacrament? Applause when a couple is declared husband and wife is hardly “entertainment”. Are we applauding the kiss, or rejoicing in the signficance of the sacrament? Applause when a baby is baptized is hardly “entertainment”. Are we applauding the pouring of the water, or rejoicing in the child being washed clean of original sin?

This isn’t liturgical dance we’re applauding. It’s not a choir solo. I’m not so sure I agree with Michelle Arnold or that the quote above applies in this situation.

That said- I don’t personally see the need for applause. I’m just not so sure that it’s wrong. It’s just not my style.

bluehen, I am with you on this. Perhaps the Pope’s quote is taken out of context?

I don’t see it - giving thanks God with applause? Why not applaud every consecration of every Mass then?

We thank him with our prayers, our worship and our service of him. Applause is what happens when humans recognise some achievement or milestone of other humans, it has precious little to do with God.

Applause takes the focus off of God and onto the person(s) for whom we applaud. A few years ago, we had a priest who would actually instruct the congregartion to applaud for his homilies. The focus should not be on the priest, or any other person. All Glory be to God, and Him alone!

Is it appropriate to applaud for God? I don’t have a problem with that. But we should never applaud another person during Mass.

I think at times spontaneous applause can be an expression of extreme joy when people don’t know another way of letting it out. While we may not find it appropriate at certain times, I don’t know that I would be upset with the people. I have had a couple of experiences with the Holy Spirit moving in me (the skeptic) since I became Catholic that I might have judged as fake or TV evangelist showiness in the past. Not everything from God is quiet and discreet.

There was a man at my parish who after he was baptised at Easter Vigil and received into full communion burst into what some people might call a “Holy Spirit dance” because he was so joyful. His face was lit from within with the light of God’s grace and it was beautiful. It was not planned nor meant to be disrespectful and I personally doubt that it offended God for him to have so much joy at becoming part of the Body of Christ that it burst forth briefly. However, some people might have sat in judgment upon that moment and thought only about how he did something “inappropriate” during a liturgy. It made me think of David dancing for joy in a scandalous way down the street in the Bible story.

it’s wrong on so many levels.

  1. You are not at a show.
  2. the priest is not performing.
    and the list can go on and on.

Wasn’t Cardinal Ratzinger’s homily interrupted many times during the funeral Mass for Pope John Paul II. I went back and read accounts of Pope Benedict’s inaugural Mass in which news reports stated that he was interrupted 33 times with applause in his homily. Beyond that, the reports indicated that he seemed to “feed” on the applause and showed a charasmatic side of himself that surprised some observers. Seems like odd behavior for a man who is so against applause at Mass!:slight_smile:

I have read this before as well. However, I also heard on EWTN that, in Europe, applause is used to show respect, not joy. So, the people may have been showing their respect for Pope John Paul II…not approval for anything Pope Benedict did.

Absolutely nothing.


IF the applause is truly spontaneous, then I guess there is nothing really wrong with this expression of joy. On the other hand, it so often feels staged–indeed, I grow increasingly weary of the priest making some announcement like: “Let’s thank the choir for really enhancing our worship celebration,” then starting the round of applause himself.

The whole applause in church thing more often than not smacks of more liturgical sideshowism.

Nothing is wrong with it, as long as it’s done appropriately.

Applause is an expression of joy which is appropriate on special occasions to honor people.
When we come to mass we come for God to worship Him. We should be very strict on this as it is very common for people to look for wiggle room in order to change worship of God to their own personal tastes.

I see no problem on rare occasions of applauding for stuff like a funeral, weddings or baptism. Yet this should be rarely done as we do come for Mass to worship God and too often people look for ways to make it an entertainment event.

God Bless

If it is spontaneous, applause might be okay sometimes. A visiting priest who celebrated Mass in a way that brought us all to focus on the Holy Eucharist, was applauded at the conclusion of a brilliant homily. His face showed a bit of surprise.

Applauding in church…no problem if its appropriate to the event. For acknowledging weddings and baptisms, I think it’s fine. But applause, as in “**I **enjoyed that!” at the end of mass? Nope. Its more of the “me-ism” thats eroding the American Church and cheapening the liturgy.

I generally dislike applause in at Mass (the only time in our church is just before the final blessing and after the announcements). But when I got married in a Catholic Church (Iwas not RC at the time, my wife was) there was no Mass. I vaguely recall a light appluse at the kiss (well we only had about 80 people there.) This clearly is for joy not because the wedding was so well done or entertaining or fun. If somebody thinks weddings are entertaining get a life.

The only time applause is acceptable is during an ordination or a wedding Mass, when the people are congratulating those involved who have achieved a significant milestone in their life. As an organist for many years, I have had the misfortune of serving under certain well-meaning priests who wanted the people to thank me at the end of Mass for my music. The congregation would turn around to face the choir loft and applaud. Not only was this personally embarrassing, but it completely misses the point of what liturgical music is for. I am not there to put on a concert or to entertain. I simply assist the people in prayer, and having the organ out of sight upstairs is something I strongly recommend. Unfortunately, with most modern church buildings placing the musicians physically close the altar, the tendency toward showmanship (always a temptation for our big musician’s egos) is greatly magnified. This seems particularly true of “folk” groups, who often indulge in extraordinary commentary or guitar riffs at inopportune times, not to mention the distraction of having to watch people shuffling papers and sipping from water bottles. Even some organists like to have their down-front consoles turned so that the congregation can watch their hands and feet, or be mesmerized by the light show given by the brightly-backlit stops many organs have. Applause is not inherently sinful, but should be used very sparingly at Mass, and NEVER to congratulate liturgical ministers for something they do every week. It’s time for a re-evaluation of the use of choir lofts and altars placed AD ORIENTEM!

I have a vague memory of the good sisters teaching us that we should applaud the work of the Holy Spirit at Confirmations and Ordinations. Does anyone else remember anything like this?


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