Where are the GOOD MANNERS at Mass?

Where are the GOOD MANNERS one would expect to find at Mass?

My parents, teachers and mentors spent a great deal of time and effort instilling good manners in my siblings and I. Good manners can routinely be seen exercised in families, schools, restaurants, performing arts venues, at the supermarket, at the office and at many other places one would expect to see the practice good manners.

I don’t see good manners at Mass.

I’m not talking about getting all tied up in knots over specifications from the GIRM, RI and other documents. I’m talking about people acting with good manners based on training they should have learned while growing up.

It doesn’t seem to be age related, although I would have expected it to be. Loud talking before, during and after Mass is probably more common in my parish amongst the elderly than with younger members of the faithful. Walking into the sanctuary and using it as a stage to be seen while chatting with others before Mass is also more common amongst the more mature as well.

I don’t think it’s a matter of the form of the Mass either. I attended a Sunday EF Mass three weeks ago. I asked the person sitting in front of me in a quiet whisper a question about setting my missalette markers. She was kind enough to help me in an even quieter whisper but not until we attracted the wrath of someone sitting 10-20’ away. With fire in his eyes he approached us and gave us a loud, distracting and horribly rude shuuuuuuuuuuuush!

I do think it has something to do with one’s “place” on a parish hierarchy though. Many “permanent” readers, adult servers and EMsHC seem to treat the church and the Mass almost as if it was their own private club.

Why the lack of social grace and plain old manners?

Want to see someone with good manners? Watch someone from another faith (or no faith at all) sitting through their first Mass or attend a Protestant faith service sometime.

I agree with you in principle. The behaviour of some folks in God’s house is inappropriate. It’s rather a bold, sweeping statement to claim none of these things happen in Protestant places of worship.

That’s true. I’m a former Protestant and I brought all my bad manners with me. :slight_smile:

Seriously, that’s one of the reasons I stopped trying to pray the Rosary in Church after Mass. Over in the corner a bunch of older ladies gather around the organist and chat and laugh very loudly for the longest time. I tried ear plugs for a few weeks, but finally gave up. Now I pray the Rosary at home before Mass.

I didn’t say that, although you can infer that from what I posted. Of course there is poor behavior in some Protestant parishes (and great behavior in some Catholic parishes as well) but overall they seem to display far better manners.

Does it have to do perhaps with all Catholics’ obligation to attend Sunday Mass?

If you are Protestant or Jewish or whatever, if you don’t want to attend services you aren’t obligated to for the most part. So you simply wouldn’t be there. This is not true for Catholics. While a huge number of Catholics do ignore the obligation, I wonder if some who would rather not be at Mass but are, show their attitude through their lack of manners, whether it is intentional or not?

I will add that I realize that it’s a failure of pastors and bishops for such behavior to continue. But I’m still curious, where does it come from in the first place?

Would ALL places of worship be largely devoid of people displaying good manners unless those in charge set expectations and made sure they were followed? Is it ultimately a matter of leadership?

I really don’t think so. People should know how to act in public with social grace. With good manners. If they do not do so at Mass yet they do so at the local opera house, what gives?

To be honest, the most that happens in my home parish is people talking before Mass but once the public Rosary is begun they get quiet. There is always talking after Mass as everyone is leaving but I always thought that was normal.

In the larger and much more beautiful parish that I attend much of the time people are always very polite. There is no talking before Mass and people are mostly quiet after Mass as well.

Sometimes I think that what happens in Catholic churches isn’t about the Catholic Church but a reflection on what is happening in society in general. This topic is a prime example. I don’t think a lack of good manners in Catholic churches is anything to do with catholics. I believe it’s what’s happening in society in general. There is an increasing lack of manners, politeness and courtesy in general. I just think this is spilling over into places of worship.

Aw diddums. :console:

Perhaps because their hearing is diminished and they think they ARE whispering?

I have come across people speaking at least in a normal conversational tone, if not loudly inside the church both before and after Mass in many churches. Why does this happen? In one case, (my territorial parish) I ventured to gently remind a small group who were talking loudly that we should not be speaking unnecessarily in church. The retort was that “well, Fr. x told us that, as we are in our Father’s house, we do not have to keep silence.”
[edited] A simple member of the laity cannot address this situation alone. It needs the priest to instruct us, if we fail in reverence for God’s House. [edited]

No. Let’s see if I can explain this.

First, I see far better behavior from a wide cross section of people in a wide variety of places than I do directly before, during and directly after Mass. I suspect others here do as well. If anything, one would expect people to be on their absolute best behavior at Mass and not at the opera hall, library, Protestant church, restaurant, office, school, etc. That doesn’t seem to be the case in my experience. Why is that?

Second even if we accept that “society in general” is becoming more coarse (I’m not really sure that’s the case) why would individuals still not have the social grace to employ their best manners at Mass – particularly those that are more mature?

Another thing that comes to mind are the very strict rules (written or not) that most parishes used to adhere to. You simply didn’t talk inside church. Even whispering was verboten for the most part. You went outside. You dressed in your best, etc. Was the lack of good manners a product of rebelling against this long held culture beginning in the late 1960’s/early 1970’s? Something that took hold and grew because people viewed it as fresh and liberating?

I suspect in 1960 the atmosphere in most Catholic churches was considerably more reverent due in part to the good manners of people than in opera halls, libraries, restaurants, offices, schools, etc. of the same period. I don’t think that’s the case today.

Again, I understand why rude behavior has not been rooted-out at so many parishes. That’s due to a lack of leadership. What I don’t understand is how it got started and why so many Catholics seem to act with such an absence of good manners before, during and after Mass even if the pastor and local bishop are not providing strong leadership?

They should be bringing those manners to Mass with them and a love for Jesus Christ should make them want to exercise their good manners.

The lack of leadership is a given. It’s a horrible thing but that’s not really my question. Let me tailor it to your experience.

Even if Fr. X said that (and I’m not suggesting he didn’t), why would people act in a manner contrary to the tenants of good manners? In other words I really don’t care what Fr. X allows. I know from my lifetime of formation as a human that acting in such a manner inside of a church (any church) is simply wrong and I’m not going to do it.

If more people spent 15 minutes before mass and 15 minutes after mass in prayer, it would self-correct. I attend parishes where after the last song, essentially everyone stops and kneels and thanks God for the mass/eucharist. There is still some talking, especially if it is raining outside but it is delayed and more subdued so as to not disturb those who are still praying.

Trust me, things aren’t too different at Protestant services. At least not the ones I’ve gone to, and that’s quite a few, as I grew up in the Protestant church (switched denominations and churches multiple times)

Generally speaking, opera does not attract people who are “born free and live free.” :rolleyes:

You ask where bad manners comes from? How much time do you have? There are many reasons why manners are disappearing in the United States.

IMO, one of the main reasons is the breakdown of the family, and the lack of a mother and a father who are willing to sacrifice leisure time and patiently train their children to have good manners.

IMO, another reason is the importance in our society placed on the philosophy of “Live Free.” People in the U.S. want to be free to be themselves and do what they want to do when they want to do it. They play loud music, they eat and drink whatever they want (which is one reason we’re all so fat), they stay up too late, they spend money that they don’t have, they drive like NASCAR drivers through their neighborhoods, they voice their opinions and unfriend anyone who disagrees with them.

And above all else, when there are any negatives in their lives, they blame OTHER people or they blame “circumstances outside their control.” It’s always someone else’s fault.

As for older people, keep in mind that many senior citizens were teen and twenties in the 1960s, when the “Do your own thing” philosophy became entrenched in American thinking.

IMO, a lot of people in the U.S. have an “entitlement” or “victim” mentality. They believe that life is hard and other people have treated them badly, and therefore, “I have a right to be happy and do things that make me happy.”

It’s all about the Great Me.

But also, IMO, there are more charitable reasons why older people talk in church. Believe it or not, in this mobile society, we are all more lonely than ever. Many older people spend much of their week alone, never seeing anyone or talking with anyone. It used to be that older people lived in their homes and talked out in their yards, but now, many of the elderly have moved into group homes because their neighborhoods got too dangerous, or they simply couldn’t maintain their properties anymore. Amazingly, a “group” home can be a very lonely place. It’s no wonder that when the older person gets to church and sees their old pals, they are excited and want to connect and talk, talk, talk!

Finally, I think a lot of people just don’t have a clue. I was in a church (playing piano) this weekend where one of the gentlemen was very loud when he chatted with me before Mass. I honestly don’t think he realized it. I tried to smile and nod and not say anything, to try to give him a clue that I would prefer that he tone it down. But he didn’t get it. I think a lot of people in the U.S. have become unskilled in reading social settings, and they tend to just keep talking and acting like they do at home.

I detect Protestant influences on the Catholic Church and vice versa

I’m thinking they don’t really believe Jesus is present in the church.

I think it is just a reflection of the culture we live in now. People seem to lack manners in general and some don’t even seem to realize they are being inconsiderate or even irreverent because they just weren’t taught good manners or how to behave in certain settings. People with bad manners, or a complete lack of manners, are everywhere, so that applies to Church as well. Also, I think the concept of reverence is lacking too.

About a year ago, a couple of men sat behind my family at Church. They appeared to be a middle-aged father and his mid-20s age son, casually dressed and they seemed to think they were at a ball game or something too. They talked in loud voices the entire time before Mass began (and didn’t seem to notice that nobody else was speaking aloud and that everyone could easily hear them) and then also carried on a bit of conversation in the same speaking level during Mass. I was irritated and tempted to ask them to please whisper because it was really distracting and made it hard for me (and my family I found out later) to pay attention to Mass, but I decided to try to just “offer it up” as my mother used to say. Then they left early, even before Holy Communion, so the loud conversation stopped for at least part of the Mass.

I agree. It seems as if the elderly talk more than the younger ones. It is hard to pray my Rosary before Mass while there are people loudly talking in the back. They seem to be forgetting that the church is a house of God, not a social club. :shrug:

I usually do not like to pick on the younger children, but I do not like how parents allow their children to run around the pew and play and shout, especially during the Consecration. :eek:

This isn’t just children. I see adults talking to each other during the Consecration. :eek:

When I went to the Lutheran church, the congregation was always quiet before Divine Service, so as to allow people to pray. :shrug:

I also do not like how every time I try to pray during the Distribution and after Mass, someone thinks I am sleeping. Am I the only person that wants to pray after Mass? :shrug:

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