And now a reader is seeking to get me killed by asking about children at Mass.
My wife and I recently attended a TLM for First Friday, and had an unpleasant experience before Mass. Our 1 year old daughter noticed the statue of OL of Mount Carmel, and began to say, not yell, "Baby Jesus" with excitement. After pointing out a few more saints and doing the same, a gentleman from across the aisle turned to us and said loud enough for everyone in the chapel to hear, "Would you please STOP that!"
Thankfully, the priest actually made a shushing gesture toward him, and even came to tell me and my wife that we and our daughter were just fine. This was not the first time someone has commented so rudely about children, be it mine or others, at a TLM.
To get to the point: What is your opinion regarding children in Mass? Do they belong even if they misbehave? Of course unruly children ought to be taken out and disciplined, but I have 3 children under 5, so none of them have reached the age of reason as of yet, and none of them perfectly behave. Still, I feel it is important for them to attend Mass. What do you think?
Many people seek out the TLM because, when it is a Low Mass, it is quiet.
Babies and small children aren’t always quiet.
These days many people must drive a long distance to get to the Mass at the parish they prefer. For families with children, that means packing everyone up and bringing everyone. The days of people in cities being able to leave some kids at home while parents went to Mass in shifts is over.
I think another factor is that people like attending Holy Mass as a family.
In any event, this is the third rail for a priest.
I will leave you with this story, however.
A baby was fussing loudly during the sermon and the mother started out of the church with the little darling, passing right in front of the pulpit as she headed for the door.
The priest wanted to demonstrate how open he was to noisy children at Mass, no matter how distracting they might be, stopped his sermon and said "Please don’t think you have to leave. The baby doesn’t bother me."
Over her shoulder she shot back, "You’re bothering the baby!"
I think this little story is a good reminder both that we must be patient with each other, but also be aware that perhaps some people truly are bothered and desire a quiet atmosphere.
It is possible that, at times, parents are not entirely aware of the effect of their small children on others in the church.
It might not be the very best choice to sit in the front pew, far from the door. It might not be the best choice not to leave when junior is turning purple from the screaming.
At the same time, babies are our future. This is life, folks. We all have to be patient with each other.
Oh… another thing… some people who attend TLMs can indeed be a little sour. If you are one of them… stop being a jerk.
I will now back away from the third rail.
No… I will run!