Monday, September 29, 2008

From the Complaint Department: Gum Chewing at Mass and Other Signs of Disrespect

At Mass yesterday, I was blessed to sit behind a family in which the Mom AND the Dad chewed gum all the way through Mass! It was very noticeable because they kept turning their heads sideways to monitor their children. Each one was chewing away. I wonder what they do with the gum at Communion time. Move it to the side of their mouths?! Our priest has written about this in the bulletin. He basically let everyone know that he can see EVERYTHING from the Altar!!

What kind of a message is this gum chewing by the parents, no less, speaking to the children? I might expect to see a few teens chomping away, but ADULTS? I was also blessed to be in front of a family whose mother constantly chatted with the children. I am not talking about explaining the Mass to them, or correcting their behavior. I am talking about all kinds of crazy subjects that have nothing to do with Mass. Basically, they were having a little visit with one another during Mass, talking about all kinds of random things. I tried to tune it all out and continued to pray. Of course, when we witness this sort of behavior, we can offer prayers for the people as well as prayers of reparation to Our Lord because He is treated so poorly.

I haven't even touched upon another situation that hurts my heart, and that is people running into Church and just sitting down in the pew with no form of reverence to Jesus in the tabernacle. No genuflection or even a bow to the Altar. These same people usually hightail it out of the Church after Communion time before the final blessing. Yes, at least they have come to Mass, but what does Our Lord think? Remember what He said about being lukewarm and spewing the lukewarm out of His mouth?

Have you seen any of this? What are your thoughts?


Mary Rose said...

Oh, my...I am also frustrated by such a lack of respect! Since returning to the Catholic Church after being away for years, I am often surprised and shocked by how people act.

It is a church - not a mall or an outdoor sporting event. We are there to focus on the Holy Sacrifice of Jesus Christ and we're not doing God a "favor" by showing up. In fact, it is only by His great mercy that He doesn't zap us all into oblivion!

Long ago I viewed a video series called "The Holiness of God" by Dr. R.C. Sproul. I cannot emphasize enough the excellency of this series. After Dr. Sproul talks about the holiness of God, pretty much everyone is profoundly convicted, wondering why they're even still alive.

I have to admit that only by attending the Traditional Latin Mass do I find a sense of reverence and quietness in order for me to ponder the mysteries of our faith. The majority of people attending are present in both mind, heart, and spirit. There is no gum chewing or talking.

I know Latin may strike some as boring or irrelevant, but if they gave it a chance, they may find it spiritually satisfying in an unexpected way.

Personally, every time I visit another parish, I experience what you just described. It only makes me more thankful for the Traditional Latin Mass and the wonderful priest of that parish who has supported it!

mom v many said...

I hear your pain!
What you are seeing is a lack of guidance or mentorship between families.

We must be educated to being the domestic church first,then we can worship together as "Church".

In our home, we try to hold a prayer service that gives us the foundation to how we are to be when we have the fullest expression of our Catholic Faith at Mass.

We use the Catholic Household Prayers and Blessings and light Blessed candles. Just follow the basic's and when you get to Mass it makes perfect sense.

Then go teach another family how. They, in turn, will pass it to the next family as they grow. Next comes actually holding gatherings to talk about what the scripture means or looking closer at the CCC or other church documents.

Start small, start local...start SOON!! LOL!!!

Janny said...

There's absolutely nothing wrong with turning around and saying, "Unless it's an emergency, please have your conversation outside or after Mass." I did that with two men who, for some reason known only to them, decided to start chatting during the high school graduation Mass for my daughter. They gave me a funny look, but they stopped talking...and that, after all, is the result you want.

I don't believe we're being "nice" when we refrain from asking people to be quiet--I believe we're part of the problem. If they get their feelings ruffled, so be it. They're showing disrespect to the King of Kings at that point, and better feelings ruffled now than accounting to Him for that disrespect at judgment!

My take,