applause line

By Diogenes (articles ) | Jul 02, 2007

Since I wasn't at Mass, I didn't hesitate to break out in applause reading this passage from a refreshing column by Bishop Arthur Serratelli of Paterson, NJ (with a tip to Father Z):

Today it has become commonplace at the end of the Liturgy to recite a litany of gratitude for all those who, in some way or another, have made the celebration beautiful. No doubt there is a way to express gratitude at the end of Mass. But is it possible that each time applause breaks out in the Liturgy at the end of the Mass for someone’s contribution, we lapse into seeing the Mass as a human achievement? Sometimes even during the Mass after someone has sung a beautiful hymn, there is spontaneous applause. At such a moment, does not the real meaning of Liturgy lapse into some kind human entertainment?

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  • Posted by: - Jul. 05, 2007 11:53 PM ET USA

    And this applause business really puts you in a bad light, if you don't want to do it. "Here's little Johnny back with the altar servers again after pulling through that horrible car accident. Let's give him some applause." Well, the saintly among you may just offer a silent prayer, but I don't want to look as if I wished him dead, so ... Of course, we're expected to praise the choir too, but to be fair, they are not the ones requesting the applause.

  • Posted by: - Jul. 04, 2007 9:49 AM ET USA

    Since the Eucharist has been moved to the side in so many Churches (quite deliberately) the building has become a meeting and performance hall, and the Holy Mass becomes a kind of play, like in a theater. The semi-pro musicians and singers then look for applause. And if they are applauded, why not the priest? So the kid in the pew thinks, "Oh, I get it, its just a kind of school play!" How many go to see the same play twice, even on Broadway (the Cathedral)?

  • Posted by: - Jul. 02, 2007 6:31 PM ET USA

    On February 10, 2007, Bishop Serratelli offered a Pontifial High Mass which I attended in the Tridentine Rite. It was the first Tridentine Mass he had ever said and the four priests (three from the Fraternity) and Fr. Ken Baker (yes,HPR!) who are assigned to our chapel, taught him the rubrics. We are seeing very positive changes here in north Jersey as Bp Serratelli's articles on the website will attest.

  • Posted by: - Jul. 02, 2007 3:59 PM ET USA

    I will stand and appaud--loudly--when many choirs, cantors and other entertaining litugical forms of muzak, including the nefarious liturgical dancers are put in their proper role, the last group having no role whatsoever. I will applaud when priests and deacons only give the homily, when nuns wear habits befitting religious and not JC Penny sale items, when announcements at the lecturn are made by people modestly dressed, and when only males serve the mass.

  • Posted by: - Jul. 02, 2007 3:58 PM ET USA

    Applause? I must confess that the only time I make noise during Mass is when I speak out very loudly (actually, almost scream) during a homily. Three times in my life already. A few weeks ago it was when the Priest recommended that we give money to Amnesty International (right after the Vatican condemned it for encouraging abortion). I'm a big guy, so my voice booms. I wish our Bishop was less quiet. I wouldn't have such a hard time keeping my peace. Lucky you, you have things to applaud.

  • Posted by: - Jul. 02, 2007 2:29 PM ET USA

    Applause is not an appropriate response at Mass. Rather than being a positive thing, I interpet it as a negative because what the laity has experienced from day to day is so below average in singing , etc. that anything that is above average elicits a response. Too bad! Let's leave the appreciation to God. The social gathering thrust placed on worship in more recent times, treats Mass as if it were a "performance" rather than a reinactment of Christ's sacrifice on Calvary.

  • Posted by: - Jul. 02, 2007 1:28 PM ET USA

    Truly a fine column. I'm probably one of the hundreds who will read it here and print it out to send to my pastor. BTW, your link was incomplete, though it was easy enough to find. This one should work:

  • Posted by: - Jul. 02, 2007 1:07 PM ET USA

    Unfortunately, I think this is a losing battle in many places. First, it is pretty well entrenched, even at the episcopal level. Second, it is a symptom of a greater ill, so if you address it you’ll look like a pestering fool. Third, there are many believe the Eucharist is “a work of the people”, so you would have to go very deep in people’s parish/Catholic sensibilities in order to fix it. But there are miracles…the rain in Spain falls mainly on the plains…

  • Posted by: - Jul. 02, 2007 10:50 AM ET USA

    In my childhood I would have been shocked if anyone at anytime broke out into applause during Mass. Now it is common. My own parish (which I avoid) does attempt to be a popular entertainment centre. At Christmas we had three wise kings on camels putting in an appearance. Every Mass has to have a joke before it ends. First Communion has to have a cake distributed just before the end of Mass. And so it goes on. I avoid it like the Plague. Guess why!

  • Posted by: - Jul. 02, 2007 10:35 AM ET USA

    The applause is the end for many people in "public ministy". All these "ministries" are often nothing more than soapboxes for people to draw attention to themselves. We have "ministries" ad nauseum in our parish and they get commended from the altar quite frequently. And the "leaders" of these "ministries" are great delegators. But it is still the same handful of people who show up when work needs to be done. We are pandering to the vanity of the wrong people.

  • Posted by: - Jul. 02, 2007 10:15 AM ET USA

    I recently attended sacred liturgy at an eastern rite church. There was no chit-chat. People came in silently, reverened icons and lit candles. Holy Mass was celebrated with seriousness and reverence --- the congregation thoroughly involved and signing with the choir (actuosa participatio!). There was no applause at the end. It was the feast of SS. Peter & Paul. They would have been pleased.