I don't know about you guys but my newest pet peeve is clapping in church. It gets on my very last nerve. I want to scream "DON'T CLAP THIS ISN'T A PERFORMANCE HALL!"
I am not alone in this sentiment. According to Catholic Answers Apologist Michelle Arnold:
"Applause that is meant to critique a performance is
inappropriate at Mass because it gives the impression that
the Mass is a performance offered to them for their approval
rather than worship that is offered up to God for his glory."
Pope Benedict XVI had this to say while writing as Cardinal Ratzinger in The Spirit of the Liturgy in 2000:
“Wherever applause breaks out in the liturgy because of some human achievement, it is a sure sign that the essence
of liturgy has totally disappeared and been replaced by a
kind of religious entertainment. Such attraction fades
quickly – it cannot compete in the market of leisure
pursuits, incorporating as it increasingly does various
forms of religious titillation.”
I don't know if it's more prevalent now or if it's just recently started to truly get to me, but within the last year I'm seeing it more and more. It's not only in my parish but other parishes as well. At the end of mass, a holy sacrament, people clap after the recessional. What is with that? The mass is NOT done for your entertainment. The music is not meant to be enjoyable it's meant to praise God.
I think the false impression that the mass is their for entertainment may stem from the fact that the music tends to have an underlying contemparary/pop music tone to it. I feel that Protestant praise and worship songs DO NOT belong in mass. They do possibly belong as an alternative to the secular cultures idea of music. I would prefer to hear Christian music over the majority of the immoral pop and alternative music being blared on the radio waves.
If you would have told me three years ago that I would be pleading to hear chant I would have told you that you were crazy. More recently, I have discovered that chant is a very nice alternative to the poor and often heretical things being sung during the majority of Catholic masses and practically all "teen" masses. I am not saying that Chant is the only form of music appropriate for the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, but I am saying that it was written specifically for the Mass with the idea of praising God as it's sole purpose.
According to Sacrosanctum Concilium from Vatican II:
"The Church acknowledges Gregorian chant as specially suited to the Roman liturgy: therefore, other things
being equal, it should be given pride of place in
But other kinds of sacred music, especially polyphony,
are by no means excluded from liturgical celebrations, so long as they accord with the spirit of the liturgical action, as laid down in Art. 30."
I think if chant was done more often during mass we would have less clapping for the sheer reason that the congregation would be more inclined to exercise fear/ awe of the Lord, one of the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit. I know that I feel much smaller in comparison to the greatness of God everytime I hear chant during a mass. At those masses you could hear a pin drop. Even the young children tend to feel the difference.
In comparison, at my local parish I wait to see how many people will clap this week. It is disappointing, the numbers grow every weekend. I am unsure if people are just ignorant of the inappropriateness of their actions, or if we as Catholics have stooped so low to think our approval is needed.
More disturbing to me is the clapping and dancing in the pews at many "teen" masses. I know I was guilty of this as a teen because it was almost expected at my former parish. I always felt that it was wrong but was already enough of an outcast that I didn't want to dig myself in farther by not "participating." Now, that I am a more informed Catholic adult, I realize that we should have left such actions for the Protestants, dances and parties. Cardinal Francis Arinze, former Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, talks about the inappropriateness of such actions in the western Latin rite mass and the reasoning against it. Hear what he has to say by watching this YouTube Video. I have to totally agree.
I am now getting off of my soap box. Please comment. I want to hear what my readers have to say.