I feel like I need to respond here about watching people who don’t make the responses and gestures at Mass.
I converted from the Mormon church when I was 17. Mormon services are A LOT different than Mass. You sit and listen to the Elders talk, and that’s it. Mormons don’t memorize anything or make any gestures or responses. So, as a teenager, when I went to Mass with my friends, I was a little overwhelmed by the interactive nature of the service. Later, when I went through RCIA with my mom, they naturally spent all their time catechizing us instead of teaching us how to act in the service. There were several things I didn’t really get clear on, and so I didn’t do them for fear of doing them “wrong.” Eventually, when I was on my own in the big church, I started getting nervous that people were watching and judging (by the posts on this board, I wasn’t too far off), and so I stopped going entirely. It took ten years and a major life event to get me to consider setting foot in a place of worship again.
My point is, a person has come to learn or to receive the Lord, and we sit in judgement that they genuflect on the wrong knee or show up in the wrong outfit? Come on, people. Grow up. there may be any number of reasons that they don’t respond–they’re new, they don’t know the responses or don’t know them in the right language, they can’t hear what’s being said, they can’t understand, they may have missed the last sentence, they’re preoccupied, sad, lonely, nervous, or they don’t believe or don’t care. The point is they’re present. How many other places are there that one could be on a Sunday morning? Be grateful that the person is at least interested enough in Christ to put his butt in a pew.
What was I talking about? Where did this soapbox come from? Oh well.
How “good” a Catholic you are is between you and Christ, and has nothing to do with keeping up appearances in church. Sitting in church no more makes you a Christian than sitting in a garage makes you a car.
Lecture over, go in peace.