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.