QUAERITUR: children at Mass

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!

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126 Responses to QUAERITUR: children at Mass

  1. mrsmontoya says:

    Since I have children I am no longer qualified as an expert on children. :D

    However, the reason we attend our particular church is that they have great ‘baby room.’ It’s located in the space next to the sanctuary, and has a large thick glass window so one can see the alter. It also has speakers connected to the audio system in the main space, so one can hear the service. Finally, it is well stocked with toys and books and is a safe, clean, comfortable space for babies and toddlers.

    If we had not found this church we may not have continued attending mass after our twins (second and third children) were born.

    Blessings on the woman who takes care of this room, it is a wonderful ministry that kept 5 people in the Church!

  2. Richard says:

    Agree with all you said. Have stood in the vesibule with a cranky baby more than once when the church did not have a cry room. On the other hand, Jesus welcomed small children when the apostles wanted to shoo them away, so it makes sense, if necessary, to cut the kids a little slack – Jesus did.

  3. kate says:

    My parish doesn’t do a TLM,so Sunday Mass is,well..noisier anyway.No priest has ever been less than generous in his understanding that parents can’t just switch small or disabled children on and off at Holy Mass.By coming, week in week out the children learn when and what to pray, and when to be silent.
    Parishioners though….no, erm, I won’t go there!

  4. Ray from MN says:

    I don’t mind children at Mass as much as I used to. I find that most parents know what to do when their child starts acting up. Frankly they are often so sensitive to disturbances that they might act too quickly.

    In many respects, I find the children who have 20 pounds of books, toys and games to keep them occupied (and silent) are more of an irritation than the criers.

    I really admire the parents who can silence or calm down their noisy or fidgety children with a “look.”

    These young children are the future of the Church and we should welcome them to our liturgies.

  5. Ed says:

    Yes I agree that there are some dour, and sour, folks who attend TLM. I’ve experienced that, as I only attend the TLM–but it is a very small minority. I had the experience of sitting next to one man last week who was quite grumpy, and made a somewhat loud comment about a crying child during mass. I looked at him and said “shhhhhh” and he appeared outraged by my ‘shhhhh’ by the look on his face–but he stop grumbling. Kids don’t bother me at mass, I really think it is great to see families together at mass–that is a good thing!

  6. Father of Three says:

    Thanks for the response Father,

    IMO, if a particular person wants a perfectly quiet Mass, then said person should think about a cloistered, consecrated life. How can a person expect children not to be at Mass otherwise? How will my children want to attend Mass in the future if I don’t start bringing them now? In my experience, those who have no patience for children, either don’t have children themselves, or their children don’t go to Mass. Either way, they are in no position to speak up about it.

    And who could shush a child who before Mass has even begun, points to our Lord and says, “Baby Jesus”?

  7. MargaretMN says:

    Well said Fr. Z. We have not been blessed with children but my attitude about kids making noise is entirely based on the attitude of the parents. If a kid is having a meltdown or repeated loud noise and the parents appear to ignore it and don’t take the kid out or shush them, it’s distracting and annoying. Random outbursts or stage whispers by small children are not so bad. We all had to learn to be quiet in church at some point. I am also not a fan of stricter parents who decide that if child is misbehaving to discipline them right then and there. What usually happens is tears and more noise which is often worse than the original offense to the rest of us.

  8. richard says:

    At 62 years of age, I still haven’t forgotten what Fr. Madigan used to say some 50 years ago: ” Children are a gift from God. Never think they are not welcome in His house. If the adults are bothered by the cry of one of these, let them remember He created that sound.”

  9. Allison says:

    Certainly, we all need to be compassionate to one another.

    At our weekly TLM we have a beautiful mix of families with young children and older parishioners. I’d say, for the most part, we get along wonderfully.

    Perhaps part of the reason is that when our beloved Pastor, Fr. Breslin sights a parishioner getting a little agitated about a young one’s noise he derails his homily. He will start saying things like, “don’t try to silence the babies, that’s what planned parenthood tries to do!” He says this in a gentle way that brings tears to your eyes. He also reminds us “why do you think you should be so comfortable? Catholicism isn’t about being comfortable..we need to suffer a little and offer it up!” He seems to have a wonderful way of putting everyone on the same page…and always with a memorable line to repeat.

    Having come from the Novus Ordo experience, a TLM is MUCH quieter. Our children’s behavior is much better at a TLM, as if they can sense that something special is going on. Of course, the more they go, the better they get…and we need to be a community that is raising up it’s youth to appreciate, and respect reverently the Mass of Ages, our Catholic identity.

  10. JD, Esq. says:

    There are too many pro-life people that seem to dislike children in church. Strange.

    It’s one thing if your kid is screaming, it’s another if they are fidgety or simply making a little commentary, like “there’s Jesus!” People have to get over themselves if they get annoyed by that.

    One thing to keep in mind is that the sacrifice of the Mass is NOT fundamentally personal prayer time. It is the communal worship of God, which should include the whole community.

    We could learn some things about the proper posture of the congregation from our Byzantine brothers and sisters. I’m not at all sure the introduction of pews into the West was a happy development. It certainly has created an overly formal atmosphere where everyone sits quietly and tries to follow along one way or another. That goes for both forms of the Roman Rite.

    It seems the Byzantines have achieved a better balance of both dimensions of active participation (exterior and interior) that steers nicely between a hushed extraordinary form where kids disrupt the “silence,” and the ridiculous notion of participation found in the Novus Ordo.

    There’s my controversial, thinking out loud comment for the day. Fire away!

  11. Simon Platt says:

    Small children must go to mass. Small children should be quiet in church. Small children must go to mass even if they’re not quiet in church.

  12. John says:

    The problem isn’t the children, the problem is that parents these days rarely no how to control their children in public. I’ve seen so many times in public places where children do over the top routines involving invading people’s personal space, screaming, throwing things, jumping on things they aren’t supposed to, and so forth — without any real rebuke from their parents.

    All of the things I see from children are things I expect from children, I don’t blame the children. It is the responsibility of the parents to try to teach politeness, civility, and self-control, though. These should all be teaching moments.

    I understand children are a work in progress, but it bothers me when I just see the parents chuckle, completely ignore the malstorm, or make an ineffectual off-hand “Hey don’t do that” comment and then continue what they are doing ignoring that the children are ignoring them.

    Then we are surprised when children who aren’t taught manners and respect become teenagers who play cruel pranks and scream obscenities to passersby on the street, and eventually adults who cheat on their partners and commit crimes and behave in other selfish out of control ways.

  13. brian says:

    Let ‘em cry and shout! We need all the people we can get in our churches – especially families. We can always sing louder!

    Brian

  14. Elizabeth says:

    Children at Mass are a VERY touchy subject for some. I just want to make a comment about what the writer of the note states “…so none of them have reached the age of reason as of yet…) Children do not have to be at the age of reason to learn how to behave. If this was the case, we would be in diapers until the age of reason as well. (Sorry for the crude analogy.)

    There is a family in my parish that have three children in the pew (one is an altar boy), and two of them are under the age of two (one is actually 8 months). All their children are very well behaved. One day before Mass, however, I had just arrived when the father was in the foyer with the youngest at the time (his sister hadn’t been born yet). When he came out of the church he didn’t let the boy down to start running around to burn off the energy the child seemed to have. He continued to hold him and treated the foyer as if they were in the actual church. I also know of a family who are having trouble with their two year old to get him to behave in church. When the father takes him out of the church, however, he lets the boy run around outside the church to burn off energy while Mass is being said. It made me wonder if the training outside of the body of the church is just as important as inside.

    As the writer said no child (I remember my childhood) will perfectly behave until they are older so I totally agree that we need to have patience on both sides. I never begrudge parents who are trying to train their children during Mass. It just hit me that maybe a good service for single ladies in the parish would be to offer assistance to families with small children in the pews. I wonder…

  15. mrsmontoya says:

    John – I’ll respond as a parent: I have felt fear at the thought of disciplining my children in public when they were small, for fear of some nanny-police-state citizen accusing me of child abuse! However, my alternative approach was to immediately remove myself and children from the area, on occasion even abandoning a loaded shopping cart at the store!

    Happily the kids learned that admonishments to behave were serious. But that doesn’t change the nature of the society I live in, where ‘civic-mindedness’ has created a social police state.

  16. John Penta says:

    When I go to Mass…It always feels a bit odd to me if there aren’t kids making noise. It feels sad, actually. I find I can’t go to Mass if the primary population is old(er) people, even; it just feels too odd to me to be surrounded by graying heads and silence.

    Maybe because at 25, I still fidget at Mass, despite myself (and it’s always helpful to have fellow fidgeters, to know you aren’t alone?), but still: count me as one of those who *likes* the noise and fidgeting and…chaos of kids at Mass. It doesn’t feel like a properly Catholic Mass without at least one kid making noise to me; the Mass could be in English or Latin or Martian for all I care, traditional or Novus Ordo or whatever…but without kids being kids, it just doesn’t feel right.

  17. boredoftheworld says:

    As a father of 5 ranging from ages two to nine I have enough to worry about with my own children, everyone else is on their own. Happily the two year old has finally learned to whisper so nobody else has to put up with his stream of “is that Jesus?”, “where’s Jesus?”, “there’s Jesus”, “are we done yet?” and of course the ever popular “I poop”.

    I have yet to figure out if that last one is a threat or a cry for help.

    What really drives me crazy is when my wife and I are utterly exasperated with our kids and think they’ve been absolutely horrible during Mass and after Mass someone says “Your children are always so well behaved”. One time I actually rounded the kids up and said “ok, THESE are our kids, whose kids are you talking about?”

  18. Cortney says:

    I love to see children and babies at Mass, even the crying ones. Most often, they are quiet, fresh-faced and filled with wonder, perhaps more open to the mysterious than us “civilized” adults. One Sunday the small child in front of me (perhaps two years old) was “singing” along with the Sanctus in a sweet voice. Woe to anyone who would shush that. At many Masses, alas, there are sights and sounds more troublesome than crying children.

  19. Susan says:

    God Bless You, Father! I am a mother of 6 (one in the womb!) and definitely have an opinion on this. Unfortunately, “cry rooms” have become “socialize rooms” and are not fun to be in. They are hot, smelly, and many parents let their children run and eat, etc, because it is easier. I try desperately to teach my kids to be respectful while in Church. It is nearly impossible to teach this in the cry room. I have found they do better the more masses they attend. (More than one Mass a week is good for them.) Our family has two churches we attend – I will call them the orthodox one and the not-so-orthodox one. Unfortunately, at times the orthodox one has been the uncomfortable one because of the looks and sometimes comments about any PEEP (and I mean peep, not screaming) a child makes. Sometimes we forget that charity means bearing with the faults of others and some people are quite intolerant about little noises that “distract” their prayer. I always take my child out when she gets out of hand or decides to talk to me above a whisper. Fortunately little noises are tolerated at the not-so-orthodox Church. This has been our experience. I only give this example in hopes that all can recognize that children indeed belong in Church, and perhaps that little distraction could turn into more fervent prayer. Something like, “Lord, thank you for that sweet baby sound. Please bless that little vixen and help her mother deal with her firmly and kindly!” will do nicely. ;)

  20. a catechist says:

    I think it’s part of a larger picture. What’s our hospitality like? Frankly, having someone gripe about a kid might be the only way some Catholics ever acknowledge the presence of others. Maybe it’s just the American Midwest, but it’s often been my experience that Catholics don’t have the first desire to talk to others over coffee and doughnuts or in the foyer if they haven’t knowen them since birth.

  21. Andrew, UK and sometimes Canada says:

    JD, Esq:

    I have never heard a child cry at the Divine Liturgy. There’s just too much beautiful soothing sound to bother them and glorious vestments and icons to intrigue them.

    Mind you, the sheer volume of incense (!) might have a soporifc effect… :)

  22. Chris says:

    This isn’t that difficult. And I can say that because we have suffered at the hands of a jerk who screams at us at Mass.

    If your child is truly being “bad,” take him out. If your child just says “Jesus!” or is happy, keep them in the back pews close to the door.

    If we are truly “pro-life” people, then we must realize those unborn children become REAL children. And children ain’t quiet.

    If he continues to be a jerk, get your pastor involved. If he gets in your face, call the police and have him arrested for assault. Assualt isn’t physical harm — it’s someone making you feel threatened.

    We’ve had to do this in the past. And the whole church is better off because of it.

    Stay strong and defend your children! They’re not here to be beaten into submission to stay “perfectly” quiet, or God wouldn’t have given them voices.

  23. David says:

    I’m more upset by parents who use their children as an excuse not to go to church.

  24. kat says:

    God bless all the commenters here. As the mother of 5 who attends the TLM and a new life who will hopefully be born and baptized in the next month, I have had my share of glares and stares. The worst was a priest who stopped Mass (2 days after my mother died) because my 9 month old had to be taken out several times. When he was in the vestibule he was good, but as soon as I entered the pew he would start fussing again.

    My husband is so good, I don’t think he has sat through an entire Mass in 10 years because he feels it is his job as Daddy to take them out if they do more than squeak. I remind him that one day the youngest will be 5 and Mass will be much more prayerful. Right now my prayers at the beginning of Mass consist of, “Please Lord help me to cope. Help these children be quiet. Give those around us the opportunity to pray. Give us all the graces we need this week. Amen.”

  25. David says:

    “Maybe it’s just the American Midwest, but it’s often been my experience that Catholics don’t have the first desire to talk to others over coffee and doughnuts or in the foyer if they haven’t knowen them since birth.”

    Wow. That is certainly NOT the case here at the TLM in South Bend.

  26. Jordanes says:

    I have five kids ages 9 and under, with no. 6 due next month. We\’ve rarely used the \”cry room,\” because it separates children from the needed experience of learning how to sit still and be quiet during important occasions, and it encourages them to treat Mass as playtime instead of holy time. When we have to take a kid out of Mass, one of us will just go back to the vestibule for a few minutes until the child is quiet again, and then return to our pew. Everyone compliments us on how well-behaved our kids are at church: they\’re a band of wild savages at home, but they look like darling angels at Mass because we\’ve taught them the importance of behaving themselves at Mass. In fact every time we head to Mass, we remind them (have them remind themselves, in fact) what we do and don\’t do at church, and why. (\”Pray when it\’s time to pray, stand when it\’s time to stand, sit when it\’s time to sit, kneel when it\’s time to kneel, pay attention to what Father is saying and doing, especially at the Consecration, don\’t fight, don\’t play with the missalettes, don\’t run before, during or after church. . . .\” \”And why do we do all these things?\” \”Because God loves us and we love Him. . . .\”)

    I had the experience once, when our firstborn was about a year old, of stopping in for Adoration with him. After a while he got fussy and noisy and I prepared to leave, but Father, who was kneeling before the Sacrament, turned around and said, \”Don\’t do that! Children should be here.\” So I stayed, and the little guy settled down. I\’ve never had anybody complain about our kids making noise, but understandably we have gotten looks a few times.

  27. Margaret C. says:

    One of the things I love about my church is the mix of old people and young families. After 30+ years of Episcopal Church congregations made up almost exclusively of college-educated baby boomers, I appreciate a more realistic mix.

    My experience is that babies and toddlers who are just making normal baby noises are not all that disruptive. The kid may just be singing along to the best of his ability. I remember one little girl who kept singing the Gloria after the rest of us were finished. Her parents shushed her, but gently. Don’t lean on a kid who’s praising God.

    That said…If the child is truly having a melt down, is ill, needs to potty, etc., trying to keep him in place and quiet is just cruel. Go deal with it in the name of charity. People in the congregation should also consider this a chance to exercise patience and charity.

    My pastor, by the way, has absolutely no problem with small kids in church. Admittedly he has a fine, resonant voice…If the babies start tuning up, he just talks louder.

  28. Mike says:

    Echoing a few commentors, it really is the parents fault. I understand that kids will make noise, but it amazes me that some parents won’t give ANY discipline. I’ve seen, on more then one occasion, toddlers running up and down the row, laughing and screaming and pulling missalettes and hymnals out of the holders and banging them against the pew…. All while the parents stood there completely ignoring the child.

  29. Ben Trovato says:

    Our kids are getting older now (18 – 10 years old) but I well remember those days when we had to decide at what oint to take them out.

    It is important, though, that they should get used to being at Mass, and to being quiet at Mass, and the only way to do that is practice and training.

    It is a difficult balance: I love a quiet Mass myself, and find others’ noises distracting: but it is so important to pass on the Faith to the next generation, and we won’t do that by excluding young kids from Mass.

  30. cathomommy says:

    Ok: I’m the mother of four little boys age 6 and under with another baby due any day now. I have never, NEVER, seen children behave badly at a TLM without their parents dealing with it appropriately (i.e., taking them out when they need to be taken out). This does not mean taking them out at the first peep, or if the baby is happily gurgling. That is not misbehaving. At Novus Ordo masses, yes, I have seen poor behavior go unchecked. But generally, any person dedicated to their faith enough to seek out and attend the TLM is similarly dedicated to raising their children right….so, please, cut them some slack!

  31. Well, basically, for me it works like this :
    Do screaming, uncontrollable children irritate you beyond measure ?
    Yes.
    Are other adults apparently happy to put up with it ?
    Yes.
    Then, frankly, the only thing to do is stay away from the places they (and their parents) frequent.

    Perhaps churches should have a “quiet room” for oldies.
    Just a thought …

  32. Fr Smith says:

    Let me be the minority voice on this issue. As a priest I often have several Masses on a Sunday in both Ordinary and Extraordinary Forms, and celebrate for Traddies, Anglos and Hispanics. The vast majority of parents are conscientious about this kind of thing, but not all of them. For the Extraordinary Form, the occasional whimper or baby cry is no problem, because active participation does not depend on being able to actually hear and understand what is said. That is also the case for the Ordinary Form, too, but the wordiness of the Novus Ordo means that many people often become uncomfortable when a family decides to let their child continue to cry or act up to such an extent that no one in the congregation can concentrate or even think. In my Spanish Masses, I have children wander around inside and outside with no parental supervision, and the sound of thirty or forty babies screaming at the same time means that I have to stop several times during Mass before I can go on. I don’t glare or call people out, but I do stop. I also have ushers trained to gently approach families in difficulty to suggest retiring for a moment to various “escape hatches.” No one complains, because I patiently and consistently try to preserve a space for quiet in the church. But let’s look back a few decades. How many large families 40 years ago did not bring their smallest kids to Mass, but one parent stayed at home with the littlest ones and then they switched for the next Mass. Now, devout parents think they are being irreligious if they are not always present with their smallest children in church all the time. When I was a child in the Baptist church, we knew better than to make a sound in God’s house. There was no noise, even from the smallest children, because we were scared to death of what would happen at home if we acted up in church! The Baptist and Anglican churches of my childhood always had nursery and preschool programs for children that should not be dismissed outright by traditional Catholics. There are ways of encouraging families in gentle ways to remove their children when they become too rambunctious, and giving age-appropriate ways of helping our children worship. We must put ourselves in the shoes of the young families, but they also should put themselves in the shoes of their priests and their fellow Mass-goers, as well. The Me generation assumes that its behaviour is always infallible, while good manners, at least where I come from, dictate that one always avoids giving offence to others for any reason, a principle which reigns over both sides of this question. Maybe I’m wrong, but that’s where I’m at!

  33. Ryan says:

    I wouldn’t worry about kids doing kid things. Just shush the shushers right back and tell the old fogies to shut up because they are disturbing you. You’re the one footing their social security anyway.

  34. Sid says:

    Before we take the splinter out of the little kid’s eye, we ought take the beam out of the ADULTS’! It seems the rule now in OF Masses for adults of all ages to chat and yap before and after Mass when in church — with no sense that one is in a sacred place. They wouldn’t dare do this in a courtroom! — which suggest such types don’t take church seriously. In the liberal Pink Palace seminary that I attended, some seminarians would coo about how oh-so-wonderfully friendly such chatty churches be. “Why, it builds such LOVELY community!” (At the Pink Palace one needed only to keep muttering 5 words to get ordained: “open, grow, share, community, ministry”). Point of fact, it’s the Sacrifice of the Mass and Holy Communion that build “community”.

    Kudos to the priest in Dunn, NC, who insists on silence in church, before, during, and after Mass — indeed, at all times; and he has instructed the ushers to shush talkers and has signs out demanding silence. Good for him.

    I usher at an EF Mass. We chat and visit also — OUTSIDE!

    I wonder if the problem is more omnipresent. I really haven’t been to picture shows — cinema to y’all Yankees — for some time, largely because of the talkers during the show.

    I’m not trying to win the sour grapes award, mind you!

  35. Cathy says:

    I have a somewhat different point of view, but maybe I\’m wrong since nobody ever brings up the things that concern me regarding children at the Mass. I don\’t take my young children to Mass because 1) I don\’t think it\’s good for their spiritual lives because all they can see is how hard it is to get through that hour 2) I can\’t pray the Mass well, which is why I am there in the first place 3) I don\’t think it is good for someone to be at Mass and hating it; it\’s place to honor and worship God.

    I think if children actually want to be there and worship God in whatever way they can, then certainly they should be there as long as they’re not preventing others (including their parents) from praying the Mass. Isn’t what we’re doing at Mass important enough that we should give it our full and undivided attention? Not only is it our duty to pray the Mass, but we need to pray the Mass well so that we can receive the fullness of grace available to us through the Eucharist.

    All that said, I wish that people wouldn’t give parents with young children such a hard time. That’s really rude. They might gain more graces if they would show mercy than if they prayed without distraction. When children are behaving badly, we really have no idea what the root cause is. It can be a rash judgment to assume that it\’s poor parenting.

    I\’m not saying all this from the point of view of a lax parent. I teach my children to behave well in public. They are well catechized and believe our Catholic faith. They’ve all just had a hard time sitting still through Mass when they were young. When my older three children were little, I took them to Mass and taught them to be quiet and reverent. They behaved very well – and they hated every minute of it. I think that for some children they are better off learning to love God and be reverent in other ways. My younger children who didn’t go to Mass until they were old enough to pray it are now very devout. My older children say that my younger children (ages 9 and 5) are much more devout than they were at this age. My older children are doing fine now, too, so I guess I didn’t do any lasting damage.

  36. I grew up in the pre-vatican church. Children had problems being quiet during mass, but parents were there to control them. It helped that parental supervision was re-inforced by the parish Sisters who had their own means of getting across their point through instruction.
    If I found myself distracted by a child who was communication with his mother, I learned to tune it out. That helped me focus on the mass and hopefully was a learning experience for the children as they grew older and became less disruptive during mass.
    Let us not forget the words of our Lord, “suffer me not the children”

  37. Evelyn says:

    I go to a reverent NO, and have found that what really helps my kids is daily Mass once or twice a week. It’s shorter, the people there are the “die-hards” who think it’s great to have kids there, and they have much more chance of hearing everything. Afterwards is a good time to ask questions, and we can grab clergy if I don’t know the answer. There is something about being there with a smaller group, maybe because they can’t blend in and be invisible, that keeps them on their toes.

  38. mrsmontoya says:

    Adding, after time to think because kids are out of the house, that we found our children much better behaved once we began sitting up front where they could see what was going on. I also told them ahead of time that we’d be up where everyone could see us so they must behave. Now the second pew on the left side is considered ‘our’ pew, but there is plenty of room for another family if someone wants to share.

  39. What Jordanes said. Parents need to be responsible and teach children how to behave in mass. For the youngest, just step outside if they are having trouble. It is not hard, but I guess it might be if you don’t have any authority with the kids outside of mass either.

    Sadly, this is not the norm (in the OF, at least). We have found that we (with our 4 kids under 7–3 of ‘em boys) don’t want to sit near parents with kids. Last week, for instance, the mom and grandma were letting the kids eat out of loud crackly bags of some sort and talk at normal voice..

    It’s just a simple matter of courtesy. Mass should be a place where people can worship God with minimal distractions. I don’t care if you’re a parent with small kids, teenagers who don’t dress appropriately, people who don’t bother muting cell phones. It’s all the same. Be reverent and let others be reverent, i.e., be courteous.

    That said, we do have to be charitable even to those who are not courteous. Stinks, but it’s true. :)

  40. Matt says:

    Here’s a simple solution:

    1. Bring the kids to Mass
    2. If they make a continuous disturbance, then take them outside.

    I’ve found that random kid noises aren’t that big of a problem. But kids who continuously make noise without their parents intervening can become very distracting.

  41. momoften says:

    I do NOT agree with everyone. Trust me I have 13 children. I have had really bad little ones, and very angelic ones. You really have to know when to take them out. I have NOT had the convenience of a cry room, and quite frankly think they are lame. I have taken little ones back to the church when they are cranky and hang on to them….esp if they are noisy, or irritable close to the homily. The benefit of taking them is by the time they are 3 or less, they know they are not to talk out of line in church. They watch what is going on. They try to sing. They are trying to be like you. I have had many OLD people in disbelief at how well behaved they are. Too many times I see parents who let their children run around in church, eat in church (not bottles)bring coloring books. I guess they are looking out to make sure their kids are being entertained. That is setting them up to misbehave or act badly. I had a priest stare at me and my large group of children and husband telling me he DOESN’T tolerate bad children in church in his first homily at a new parish. My children were NOT doing anything wrong, but he categorized us. I never went back. It may mean while you are training them-and
    spending quality time in the back of the church you may feel like your prayer life is in the dumps. Offer it up, go to another Mass alone-but, take those kids to church. You are building a Cathedral. Whoever said it was an easy task.

  42. Tzard says:

    I have 4, and after a while, if they got too fidgety, we would take them outside. Then they learn – and at least once, I went to take my kid outside – he said “Please daddy, can we go back in?”. They learn (by 4 usually).

    It also helps to visit more often – so it’s not so new a place. What about Saturday afternoon before confession? Every week?

    Lastly, there’s an attitude that may not have existed “way back when” – I find some otherwise faithful Catholics when their children are grown and gone, take the attitude “I’ve paid my dues I don’t need to hear children anymore”. Really, I heard someone say that. It could be a bit (just a bit) of the culture of death seeping into people’s imagination. They need a bit of praying for.

  43. momoften says:

    Ps …we sit in the front of church too. When can see what is going on, it is much more interesting. Especially if they can
    see their older brothers serving Mass…we had 11 boys out of the 13

  44. Maynardus says:

    Fr. Smith commented:

    “How many large families 40 years ago did not bring their smallest kids to Mass, but one parent stayed at home with the littlest ones and then they switched for the next Mass?”

    True enough, but I’d ask: “how many large familes drive over 30 min. to attend a T.L.M. or that rare species ‘the reverent Novus Ordo’?

    It’s really not the large familes that are a problem in my experience, and at the T.L.M.s the only problem 99% of the time is few self-appointed beadles for whom the priest is constantly apologizing!

    Our pastor was asked a few years ago to install a “cry room” but he refuses to consider it, he says he wouldn’t be able to hear the kids! As parents of four young boys we strive to keep them under control at Mass but one of us usually spends half of the time in the narthex with the youngest. All of the good priests I know really encourage parents to bring their kids to Mass and are quite willing to deal with the consequences.

  45. Jennifer F recently posted on this at Conversion Diary; here’s the URL:

    http://www.conversiondiary.com/2009/02/getting-kids-to-behave-in-church.html

    The commentary is FULL of suggestions, many of which seem very sound to my (non-parental) eyes.

  46. People like that (the SHHH er) are why people think all traditionalists are Cooks. Be happy a child is at mass,,, and a traditional mass at that

    At our Novus ordo, there is one family who feeds the child crackers and cookies….

    I think that is a little worse then someone being excited about their Lord and Savior in a manifestation that is on their level.

  47. Cathy says:

    Patrick,

    I think maybe you meant “kooks”. I’ll admit to being a cook, but I still haven’t fully accepted my identity as a traditionalist kook :)

  48. Former Altar Boy says:

    “some people who attend TLMs can indeed be a little sour”

    Boy, you hit that nail on the head, Father. The Frozen Chosen! I’m sure their kids, if they ever had any, never cried at Mass or they left them at home. We’re the PRO-LIFE Church!! We give birth to CHILDREN and, hopefully, expose them to church at an early age (along with discipline appropriate to their age). What was it that Christ said? Oh yeah, “Suffer the LITTLE children to come unto me.”

  49. Danby says:

    Those who don’t like the sound of children at Mass can always to my sister’s church. 800 families, and the average Mass has more children on the altar platform than in the pews, literally. Once we went with half our kids and we had more than half the children in the church. Very quiet service, once our two youngest were outside. Of course, quiet can be a sign of dignity, but dead things are even quieter than dignified things.

  50. Subvet says:

    The wife and I bring our three developmentally delayed toddlers (aged 5, 4 & 2) to Mass every week. The show is described here;

    http://texassiren.blogspot.com/2009/01/taking-hooligans-to-mass.html

    Funny thing, the place is loaded with oldsters who just adore the batsnot out of our kids and give the wife dirty looks if she swats one for misbehavior. Tantrums result in ejection with yours truly dragging the little darling out. Usually the ushers are dodging out of the way, except for the one time a pacifier was fired over my shoulder for about ten feet and the usher retrieved it.

    The pastor is adamant about children attending Mass and refuses usage of the crying room for anything except volcanic meltdowns. He’s also a convert from Episcopalianism and knows all about noisy small kids at church, him and his wife had three of their own. His basic attitude is, “Get used to it.” if anyone complains.

    We’re a Novus Ordo parish and the Mass is always PACKED!! So the loudmouthed little darlings aren’t driving too many folks off.

  51. Origen Adamantius says:

    Why stop with children?

    What about that old polish lady who says the rosary loud enough to drown the Gospel? What about the mentally handicapped person who sings vigorously off key? What about the guy who smells kind of funny of had gas problems?

    Yes, there is a lack of courtesy among some parents, who let their kids roam free or toss Cheerios across the pews; however, most parents seem to have some sense.

    Community means that we have to be willing to sacrifice some of our comfort for others–whether we are priests or parents or childless. The idea that the any recognition of people around me at Mass interferes with my relationship with God, is rooted in Protestant theology and not Catholic theology.

  52. Joe says:

    little children crying “baby Jesus, baby Jesus”? That’s how Worship and Gather got their start, I think. Just keep the babies away from guitars and drums.

    Andrew: I’ve been at DLs with kids. The noisy ones disappear into the mass of skirts on the North side of the Nave, and often are not seen again until the Cherubicon starts.

  53. Tom S. says:

    As a Father of three (6, 3, & 2) girls, there have been a few times when we have gotten the hairy eyeball from the occasional grumpy old timer, but most are very kind. Of course my wife and I are pretty conscientious about the kids, and if there is a Sunday where one is especially cranky or wide-open, we go to mass in shifts to just avoid the difficulties. Kids will be Kids, but if Parents are Parents then they will be (usually) reasonably behaved.

    And the whole cry-room concept only works if there is a “marshal” to keep out the older kids. At my church the cry room (converted from part of the choir loft) has become a dumping ground for (much) older kids, whose parents want to be “pious” down in the congregation without having to be disturbed by their own children. The result is something like a McDonalds PlayPlace free-for-all.

  54. kat says:

    Sid said, “Kudos to the priest in Dunn, NC, who insists on silence in church, before, during, and after Mass—indeed, at all times; and he has instructed the ushers to shush talkers and has signs out demanding silence. Good for him.”

    That was the priest who was rude to us on several occassions about our toddler. We had to drive an hour each Sunday to go to the only TLM in the diocese. It was the worst year for me, having Mass at noon (naptime), little socialization with the other parishoners, and enduring mean people. There were a few other families there, but many have been scared away by the glares and stares and nasty comments. Odd that my children are constantly complimented in other parishes for being “so good”, but in that church they could apparently do nothing right. If that was my only experience with the TLM I would have thrown up my hands and gone back to being a Protestant.

  55. James says:

    My wife and I take both of our young children (ages 3 and 1) to Mass on Sunday and sit in the front pew. We always have taken our children with us; the only exceptions are when the children or my wife and I are sick. In the sacrament of marriage, my wife and I took on the promise to bring our children up in the Catholic faith. At Baptism, we re-affirmed that commitment for each child in a new way. Each person, no matter how big or small, how old or young, is made in God’s image and needs God’s grace. Does my 3 year old and 1 year old need grace? Absolutely. The same goes for my new little one – only 20 weeks old in the womb. Going to Mass, actively participating in the great prayer of the church, my children take in the graces that God gives. Do they understand anything going on? I cannot presume to know how the Holy Spirit works in them to illuminate their beautiful minds and hearts. It is our responsibility to make sure that they are open to God and learn how to form the good habit of attending Mass and behaving well at Mass. That excellence does not come about just with the age of reason; it comes about with loving patience and charity to properly form one’s children to behave well and to know and love God. I think too many people are far often narrow-minded about the need for children to receive God’s graces and to participate in the ancient, sublime prayer of the Church. I wish people recognized it better.

  56. SR says:

    I have five children, and another on the way. We attend a reverent NO Mass, and sit in the front row every week. After Mass we make sure that all the children greet Father– the younger ones give him a big hug. Our former pastor was very insistent that children were to be in Mass, but if one of the children acted up, he (gently) chided them about it afterwards (their eyes would get like dinner plates when Father mentioned it!). When the kids were around 2 years of age, I not infrequently had to take them to the narthex for the homily, but after a few months they learned to behave. They are not always perfect, but they make little more noise than many of the adults around them!

  57. Chris says:

    Father Smith, what do you expect those of us with children to do who won’t go to the NO Mass? Yes, we won’t go, you need to get over that.

    So now do we take shifts driving the two-hour round trip each Sunday? Is that your answer?

  58. Fr Smith says:

    Chris, I have no problem if you don’t go to the NO Mass and I applaud your decision to make the sacrifice to go to the Extraordinary Form. Remember when I said that the vast majority of parents are very conscientious about these things. But there are some parents who aren’t; that’s the reality of it. After my posting last night, I celebrated Mass in which I had children break-dancing in the aisles, running up and down the church, and parents who refused to do anything while their kids banged the hymnals against the pews and literally screamed for minutes at a time. Those are the things which are frustrating to people, not the kids who make a little bit of noise here and there and whose parents have the good sense God gave them to take them out when they need to. No one should get upset at them! I am wondering why the strident tone in your comment. Some give and take, charity and common sense will do us all much good. It need not be an either or, us vs. them mentality. But I am off to celebrate Holy Mass again. Gladly, children and all.

  59. Margaret C. says:

    One more comment…I find babies and toddlers much less annoying than the dorks who let their cell phones go off during Mass. Unlike the kids, these people have (supposedly) reached the age of reason.

    And my pastor, who tolerates babies very well, has a particularly pointed look reserved for these people.

  60. Chris says:

    Father, we have to put up with “jerks” as Fr. Z. calls them at church all the time. Not because our children are “bad” but because they’re children. Our child, under 2, also looks at statues and says “Jesus!” and “Mary!” That causes not only stares but men coming within six inches of my face and threatening my wife and me.

    So when I priest so flippantly reminds people that mom and dad used to take shifts, that puts pressure on us to do the same.

    Yes, some took shifts. And, that’s when the true Mass and not a circus took place in every Church. Now we have to travel far and wide to find the TLM. We do not have the option of shifts.

    If what is going on at your Masses bothers you, then I would recommend, in my humble opinion, that you start dedicating homilies to proper behavior in Mass. This is on your shoulders father to teach. Tell them where the breaking point is because normal baby babbling and disruptive screaming and that, at that point, they must take them out.

    It’s your responsibility to teach. And if you’re not goingto do that, or to speak to each of these parents afterwards and teach them one-on-one, then fine. Just don’t put this on our shoulders to come in shifts.

  61. Joe says:

    When I was a little more than a year old in 1964 (no NO Mass then) I grabbed my mother’s hat and pulled it down over her face during Mass. Everyone around wanted to burst out laughing.

    I have a one year old whom I have to hold all during Mass. As long as he has a toy to put in his mouth, he’s usually quiet.

    What annoys me is that I want to receive Communion on the tounge (and not from a eucharistic minister, but the priest). It’s tough because we have too many of these ministers. There shouldn’t be any.

  62. Mitch says:

    Yes a crying child can be slightly disturbing, however it happens in many environments..Cranky people should let it go. You do not want to alienate new folks who are coming and building the parish and the faith and health of the TLM for future generations long after we and our annoyances are gone. Be patient. If a ridged, cranky person has grandchildren and they are in a store shopping I am sure they would feel terrible if the lady on line in front of them turned around bitterly and told their maybe crying grandchild to be quiet or gave a scornful look. Granted Mass is different than a store but the link I am trying to establish is the general attitude of respect and tolerance that should be afforded to all humans in any setting. I guess the question is whether you would like it done to you or one of your own somewhere else…

  63. Mitch says:

    My fealing on Children at Mass coming from a Parish where there is maybe 5-10 people younger than me at any given Mass (I’m 20 by the way)is that I want to hear kids crying a little. Crying babies is a sign that you have a living parish, old men snoring and well… future’s bleak. When I attend the parish attached to my college their are usually more children and some cry, some are obnoxious (and parents ignore them). I still remeber my behavior during Mass as a Child. I was atrocious, and my parents (although I love them dearly and dont want to dispariage them) did not do a good job of controling me or my brothers. I am one of three, so my mom and dad would plant themselves inbetween us, but we would still hit, and tease each other. Our parents would for the most part ignore us figuring we just wanted attention (we didn’t, frankly we were bored, no one ever streesed how important the Mass was, I was never really told about the real presence until I was around 16, CCD around here is aweful, so why would I care to pay attention given all of that?). Looking back I wished my parents would have stressed that all to me more back then.

    I think cry rooms are an aweful invention. But Parishes should ban cherios, coloring books, crayons, and toys. A bottle and pacifier for the baby, but thats it. Parents need to be active not passive in their parenting during Mass. I occasionally will drop in the SSPX chapel by my home, or to the diocisan TLM across town and the kids at those are always well behaved, but if they start acting up their parents take them outside, they deal with the issues there and now, and I have never seen toys with the kids in Mass only Childrens Sunday Missals!

    Deacons would be the best people to speak on children’s behavior. I know priests would be very well intentioned on this, but so many parents would be very arogant about this issue, and likely ignore a priest, because what does he know about parenting (forgeting that his the spiritual father of his parish and has to deal with obnoxious children like the above mentioned person… :-) But a deacon with kids could really speak to parents about this on a very personable level. Just a thought, and sorry for such a long post.

  64. Mitch_WA says:

    An Aside:

    Other Mitch, we should do something with our posting handles so we have different ones.

    I will volunteer to change mine to Mitch_WA if you would also change yours slightly so our posts don’t get confused as being from the same person.

    Thanks,

    Mitchell from Washington

  65. Maureen says:

    I suspect the reason that “shifts” aren’t as popular as they used to be (putting aside the cases when people are traveling too far to Mass or there’s only one Mass for them to attend) is that people want to spend as much time as they can together, as a family. Back in the day, people could assume that they always would be together, and shifts were just a good way to give Mom a break and get her out of the house without worry. Nowadays, people feel the precious rarity of being a two-parent family, and may get more relief from demonstrating that.

    Of course, “shifts” were always easier if you also had Grandma, Grandpa, Aunt Susie and Uncle Joe, and the girl cousins who were old enough to watch the kids, all deployed as needed. We mostly don’t have those forces all in the same town and parish, these days.

  66. William says:

    Wow! Amen to what John said about parental responsibility over the conduct of their children in church. These mothers and children so no respect for others, but are self-created victims. Another collateral effect of Political Correctness. If we made noise in church when we were kids, we just got a good slap and shut up.

    The mothers and babies are not victims, but create the nuisance itself.

  67. Chris says:

    Wow, William, how many kids do you have?

    So that’s your answer, we should slap our kids, not just take them to the vestibul?

    Maybe the reason you are how you are today — which seems rather sad and full of issues — is because you were slapped so much. Wonder what unconditional love, coupled with educating you on how to act in church without the slap, would have done for you?

  68. Danielle says:

    I think it is pretty commendable of the parents and grandparents that a ONE YEAR old child know “baby Jesus”, and was able to point out other Saints!

    My two and three year old can barely do that!

  69. I have to agree with Father Smith about taking very young children to Mass. It’s not so bad when there’s only one, but two or more tend to be a problem, as one will compete with the other for attention. I was a toddler in the late 1950s when Dad took only me to Sunday Mass with him, as my younger siblings stayed at home with Mom. If I was good, Dad would take me on a tour of all the statues after Mass, until I memorized their names.

    My Dad very strict, even relative to those days, but he couldn’t hold a candle to how tightly wound certain people are at some TLMs I’ve attended. I’m pleased to say that wasn’t my experience then, nor is it my experience now.

    When I was raising Paul, it was in the Byzantine Rite of his mother. For those who know of that experience, there appears to be more to watch and more to engage the child, what with the priest going up and down the aisle with the kadila (thurible), the minor and major processions, all that sort of thing. My son rarely if ever misbehaved.

    Well, that MY story at least.

  70. Jayna says:

    I don’t mind children at Mass. There’s a family that sits across from me every week (I’m neurotic enough to sit in the same exact seat every Sunday) and they have a little girl that usually gets a little fussy right around the distribution of communion, so they take her out until she quiets down. That’s fine with me. Sometimes kids make little noises here and there, it’s the ones that are incessant about it or are screaming bloody murder that irritate me.

    Last year at one of the Masses during the Triduum (don’t remember which night), there was a woman sitting across the aisle from me who had a few children with her and she wasn’t minding any of them. Two of the girls were running all over the place, screaming, and pushing around the stroller the mother had for the youngest child. I have never seen my pastor make any remarks or give any looks to anyone whose child was being disruptive, but while our hispanic priest was giving his homily in Spanish, he (our pastor) stared at this woman with this look of utter disbelief at what she was letting her children do in the middle of Mass. This was definitely an occasion when a shush would have been warranted.

    When I was kid, I attended Mass at the cathedral with my grandmother. I never recall a time when I even entertained the idea of being disruptive. The thing is, I also don’t recall ever having to be told that I should be quiet, it just seemed like the right thing to do.

  71. Treasa says:

    As one who has been irritated by REALLY noisy children, undisciplined in Church etc. I remind myself of something Fr. Pat Martin (blind priest) said at the start of a mission in Calgary: I want you all to come, bring the babies too rather than not come, better the cries of the little ones than the silence of the aborted ones. Also, attending a Mass in Haarlem (Holland) a few years ago I noticed, when leaving the church, the sum total of young was: two teenagers with their parents and one child in a stroller. Everyone else was old. That community was certainly dying. Please join me in not being grumpy with noisy little ones and try getting to know some of them, perhaps even offer help to the parents.

  72. Jenny says:

    Here is a wonderful article called “avoiding Mass hysteria.” Lots of useful information, novel ideas.
    http://www.elizabethficocelli.com/avoiding_mass_hysteria.htm

  73. Joanne says:

    It seems to me that there are reasonable and unreasonable on both “sides” (for lack of a better term) of this issue, as it is with any other issue. I think also that both sides tend to exaggerate the bad behavior of the other. Most parents know when to bring a child outside, and I doubt it’s the norm within any parish for adults to be angry with children who say things like, “Baby Jesus.” What people might understandably be irritated by, however, is a small child crying or otherwise being distracting.

    I like Fr. Smith’s posts, as well as Cathy’s and David L Alexander’s. Reading threads like this makes me grateful that my parents did do the Mass “shift” thing when we were little. I respect the maturity and consideration that my parents showed by not expecting others to be distracted by their very small children at Mass, and then simply grin and bear it, or be called a jerk. I admire them for not feeling that : “Either way, they are in no position to speak up about it.”

    I am not married and have no kids, and it happens that I’m not typically bothered by children at Mass, and in fact have complimented many parents at the parish I attend on their beautiful families. Whenever this topic comes up (as it has on another Catholic board I have visited), what I find more disturbing than any child could be is the attitude of some parents. I know, as we probably all do, which parents I would like to emulate, and I know those that I would hope not to be like.

    And Chris, I wouldn’t say this otherwise, but since you evidently feel it’s fair game to say that someone is “full of issues,” I will say that I was wondering as I read this thread what your issues are.

  74. Richard says:

    I have children, aged 5 and 2, so have had to give this some thought.

    Yes, they do behave far better in a TLM than a Novus Ordo; the feeling of quiet and sanctity seems to be catching.

    But no, young children will never really be quiet for long. And I know, from before I was a parent myself, just how disruptive they can be (although I would never have let a parent know).

    My belief, from observing my own children, is that it is a bad idea to take children to Mass regularly until they are of a sufficient age. They cannot participate (in the traditional rather than Novus Ordo sense of the word) in any meaningful way themselves, they can make it very difficult for the parents to properly participate themselves, and they disrupt the prayer of many people around them.

    What’s more, the children disrupt each other. My son was able to follow the Mass, and behave well enough to avoid disrupting others, when he was 4 – but not when his younger sister was present.

    The Church says that they must attend from the age of 7, and in fact most children should be able to go earlier than that (certainly by the time they start school). But if they are disrupting other people and not benefiting from it themselves, and they are not obliged to attend, is it really right to bring them?

    As for the idea of “getting them used to it”, 5 is quite early enough for that.

    So what about the parents? The Catechism says that the “care of infants” absolves us from our Sunday Obligation – and it is wrong of us to ignore that.

    The vast majority of us can arrange to go in shifts, so that there is always one parent not at Mass to look after the children – even if it means one of us going to a Mass that we don’t really find very helpful (take it in turns to go to the decent one). But if that is truly impossible, then there is no obligation for both parents to attend Mass. Once there are none breast-feeding, why not take it in turns with each parent going every other Sunday?

    I know there are all sorts of reasons for the family going to Mass together. But we must not put our cosy family image before others’ (and indeed our own) proper active participation in the Mass.

  75. Richard says:

    Oh dear, that was rather a long comment. Apologies.

    In summary:
    – they don’t have to go
    – you don’t have to go
    – they can’t genuinely participate
    – you can’t genuinely participate when they’re with you
    – they stop some of the rest of the congregation from genuinely participating
    So don’t bring them!

    Once you think they are ready (or they reach the age of 7) then bring them. It’s not really long to wait. Much better for the children, you, and the rest of the congregation.

    (Yes, I’ve got young children myself. No, I don’t give other parents nasty comments or dirty looks when they bring their brats to church)

  76. Father of Three says:

    Richard,

    What do you mean “they can’t genuinely participate”, “you can’t genuinely participate when they’re with you”? Do you not understand the nature of participation? And no, i don’t mean the “I must be doing something at Mass” kind of participation to which you are referring. I mean participation by offering the Sacrifice in uniting our prayers to the prayers of the Liturgy. Do you really think that a parent, who has to balance budgets, cook meals, do laundry, etc. etc. at home, cannot multi-task at the Liturgy? I gaurantee you that children, in view of their Baptism and freedom from sin, add more to the graces of the Liturgy than you or I do. Their participation in offering the Sacrifice is always perfect, insofar as they comprehend it. This is why the East distributes Holy Communion to infants even. Children belong at the Liturgy. Certainly Our Lord would not share your sentiment based on his words in Mark 10:14. Where else do little children meet our Lord? Where else do they ‘touch’ Him as the Gospel says? Children belong in Mass. Families belong together.

    When I first began to attend the TLM, I didn’t bring my 2 year old son. Then my priest told me I needed to do so, and I have done so ever since, and I will keep doing so. I take my children out when they are unruly, but not at the first peep. And I will certainly not chide my 1 year old daughter for being excited at seeing the Baby Jesus before Mass has even begun. If others don’t like it, then they are the onces who need some discipline.

  77. Amy in NJ says:

    My husband and I take our 3 children to a NO mass every Sunday and our kids do well now. Another mom gave us some advice when our oldest was 2 and it has worked well for us: sit in the front so the kids can see (Our church also has exit doors in the front of the church, making it easy to escape when necessary), give them a reward for their good behavior (We go to a local bakery and the children are allowed a small treat), and stay out of the cry room (for all the reasons previous commentors said to stay out of there). We don’t bring toys. We don’t bring food. They get a good breakfast before the Mass (so important-a child cannot properly behave anywhere on an empty stomach).

    I also say a prayer asking the intercession of St. Michael to keep the evil one from using our children as a distraction to others during the Mass. And I can only count two times in the last liturgical year that my husband or I has had to remove one of my children from the Mass, and both of those times involved one child slipping off the pew and banging their heads (they’re fidgety but quiet-generally).

  78. Ohio Annie says:

    The only problem I have seen with small children at Mass is that sometimes parents don’t realize how disturbing it is when the crying, yelling, pew kicking, etc. goes on for many minutes. I saw an exasperated look on Father’s face once when there had been a lot of noise and it continued through to the consecration. A yell or two is okay but letting it go on and on is not.

    At my parish, often families with small children sit up front in a misguided attempt to either endure their good behavior or allow them to see better. But this puts them in what I consider to be the hearing aid section, thus making it impossible for the hearing impaired to sit anywhere in the room and be able to hear. The church is old fashioned and built like a whispering gallery, being built for the TLM with the traditional rounded area in front by the high altar. Any sound carries throughout the room.

    When I go now I turn off my hearing aid and pray that God will have me hear the things I need to hear. I have even suggested they turn off the sound system completely and when people realize they can’t hear there might be some peer pressure about the noise level.

  79. Ohio Annie says:

    Oops, that was “ensure” their good behavior. I gladly “endure” good behavior from everybody!

  80. Richard says:

    Father of Three, yes, I do “understand the nature of participation”, and I was refering to “participation by offering the Sacrifice in uniting our prayers to the prayers of the Liturgy”.

    It is precisely that that I (and many other people) find extremely difficult when with small children (whether my own or others). And precisely that that I do not believe small children are capable of.

    One can easily to do the “I must be doing something at Mass” type of “participation” with children (not that I would want to do so either with or without them). But trying to pray and join one’s prayers to the Holy Sacrifice is far more difficult.

    As for suggesting that it is my fault for being unable to “multi-task”, and that it is those who are distracted “who need some discipline”, that may be fine for those of you who find prayer easy. For the great majority of us, it sounds insufferably smug.

  81. Father of Three says:

    Richard,

    The Church is very clear in her practice and beliefs that children can participate in the Liturgy. They are Baptized in the Liturgy at infancy. They receive Holy Communion at infancy in certain Liturgical Traditions. And the quote from Mark’s Gospel could not make this more clear. Do you think the Moral Sense of that verse does not somehow include the Liturgy?

    What is astonishing to me is that you don’t believe this. Honestly, I am sincerely not trying to be smug, but I am most certainly dumb-founded. It is hard to convey tones in writing, so I apologize if I sound rude. I am trying to understand how you could think that children don’t belong in the presence of our Lord at Mass.

  82. kat says:

    Richard, I can’t understand your logic. If caring for small children (I think it would logically mean newborns) then many mothers would not be obliged to attend Mass for 10-18 years. It would be foolish to assume that any person, parent or otherwise, would be able to continue to be a good “practicing” Catholic if they didn’t attend Mass for over a decade so pompous jerks didn’t have to listen to or see little children in church. In attending the TLM for almost 7 years now I can count one family that let their children act up and the brats were 7 and 9.

    I think everyone needs to take a big deep breath and PRAY for the people around us in Mass. Pray for the priest who leads a diverse group of souls, pray for the old people who might be very close to standing before the seat of judgement, pray for young people and adults who have need of many graces in their vocation, and pray for the children who are the future leaders/religious/teachers in the Roman Catholic Church.

  83. Ed Francis says:

    Funny, it’s really not necesary to formulate a personal position on this question. This may simply be one of those “get over it” issues, where we trust Christ’s Vicar on Earth to clarify the Church’s teaching for us:

    “Parents, therefore, are called to help their children to discover the value and importance of responding to the invitation of Christ, who summons the whole Christian family to Sunday Mass.”

    “From this moment I entrust this meeting to the Virgin Mary, so that she may teach us to love Jesus more and more, in constant meditation on his Word and in adoration of his presence in the Eucharist; I also ask her to help us enable the young generations to discover the “precious pearl” of the Eucharist, which gives life true and full meaning. With this intention, we now turn to the Holy Virgin.”

    from “BENEDICT XVI

    ANGELUS

    St Peter’s Square
    Sunday, 12 June 2005″

    I do notice that Pope Benedict XVI uses the word “summons,” not requests, and “whole,” not just those members of a family who are convenient. Though perhaps not “mortal,” there is surely “grave” matter involved in this question and our responses to it.

  84. Chris says:

    Joanne: And Chris, I wouldn’t say this otherwise, but since you evidently feel it’s fair game to say that someone is “full of issues,” I will say that I was wondering as I read this thread what your issues are.

    Joanne, my problem is with so-called “pro-life” Catholics who forget that, once children are born, you have to continue to love and accept them.

    My child has never once screamed at Mass where I haven’t taken him out. I’m talking about people at Mass — usually older, single men — who scream at people whose babies are simply cooing or, as I said in my previous post, say “Jesus” when they see him on the Cross.

    These people driving young families from Mass and cause great anxiety.

    Now, if at the NO Mass kids are nuts and screaming, and mommy and daddy in their jeans and workout gear laugh at their antics then, yes, these people should be criticized.

    But we go to the TLM and, as much as I love my fellow traditionals, a few go crazy over babies and cause great stress on families over children who are almost, but not quiet, perfect angels in church.

  85. Father of Three says:

    Ed Francis,

    That is an EXCELLENT quote! Thanks for finding it.

  86. Richard says:

    Dear Father of Three,

    The Church is quite clear “in her practice and beliefs” that children do not have to attend Mass. The absence of their own Obligation until the age of 7 and the removal of the parents’ Obligation whilst caring for them together show that it is considered perfectly acceptable for them to not attend – whatever certain priests may say.

    But yes, equally they are not banned from Church.

    So they are neither banned nor commanded to attend. So we as parents have to decide.

    But decisions must be made responsibly. We have to weigh up our child’s capacity for understanding participation against the damage he may cause to our own prayer and that of other members of the congregation.

    It is highly irresponsible, and selfish, to wash your hands of the issue by saying “if others don’t like it, then they are the ones who need some discipline”. If I cause other people to fail in their devotion by choosing to bring my under-7 children to Mass, then I share the moral responsibility for that. True, they should not be distracted by children – but we all have to live with the fact that many, many people will be.

    If you are truly confident that the benefit to your children is greater than the harm that they cause to others, then by all means take them to Church. But you should think about that very carefully – and be aware that a reluctance to complain means that the harm will be greater than you may realise.

    If your 1 year old is truly capable of an understanding participation without significantly disrupting others, then I congratulate you. Having tried it, my son wasn’t until the age of 3, and certainly my 2-year old daughter isn’t (and she might not be until later than he was).

  87. doing the best we can says:

    Well Andrew in the UK obviously you were never at the DL with MY family. My son, about 2 1/2 (now 12) looked up at the massive mosaic of Mary holding Jesus after the crucifixion and hollered loud enough for everyone to hear, “Mary change Jesus poopy!!!” Jesus’ loincloth looked like a diaper to him.
    He is the same child who a year later (at a TLM parish) insisted that we needed to take Jesus to see our pediatrician to fix his owies.

    As a mom of many and having attended many parishes (TLM and one DL) most of the time normal ‘kid noise’ was not a problem. Snuffling, shifting, whispers here and there etc…are not an issue. Three parishes children weren’t welcome. Really. One was a Catholic TLM parish with a nursery (??) and you were expected to leave your pre-age of reason children there-the priest set that tone and the other two the priest loved children, preached they were welcome from the pulpit but there were enough people in the pews who felt church was only for those who understood it that the vibe (and sometimes direct comments) was ‘no children allowed’

    I’m a BTDT mom now and do the best I can to help out the younger moms who are stressed about their little ones. I’m to the point that if someone gets bent out of shape because of my 4 year old whispering a question about something Father is doing I just let it roll off my back and try not to sit near them next week. Jesus loved the little children, my priest loves the little children and that boy who hollered “Mary change Jesus poopy!” is now an altar boy who serves almost every week and is one of the boys called to do funerals.

    So to the cranky people who don’t want children in Mass, remember that little boy you shush could be serving your funeral Mass or even offering your funeral Mass. That little girl may be the person holding your hand as you are in your last moments, or may be your granddaughter in law someday. These children are the future of your church. Don’t forget it.

  88. Ed Francis says:

    Father of Three – you’re very welcome.

    It’s become my habit to check in with the Holy See on questions and topics that seem to call for more than my opinion.

    The Vatican website has a very useful search engine, making it a simple matter to explore a given subject:

    http://www.vatican.va/phome_en.htm

    In this case, typing “children mass” led to pages of information, easily scanned by topic.

    This is a tremendous resource, available to us all in our search for Truth.

    Richard – Harm? These young children are causing “harm”?

  89. doing the best we can says:

    PS. Any sound much above a whisper and we take our kids out. I don’t tolerate a normal speaking voice let alone screaming.

    It is a rock and a hard place sometimes when considering your own spiritual needs and the needs of those around you.

    How sick is too sick to go? How loud is too loud to stay in? What about parents of autistic children, children with Tourette’s and other ‘distracting’ disabilities? Of course the other parishioners deserve a Mass without hearing expletives or sitting next to someone who won’t stop rocking but the child and parents of this child need the graces from attending Mass too. It isn’t always a cut and dry situation.

  90. Chris says:

    Richard: If I cause other people to fail in their devotion by choosing to bring my under-7 children to Mass, then I share the moral responsibility for that.

    That is absolutely absurd.

    If a child coos and some grumpy guy nearly breaks his neck to yell at the parent, then it’s his lack of discipline that is the cause his own failure of devotion.

    For Pete’s sake, soldiers went to Mass on battle fields during WWI and II!!! They were being shelled and could still pray, so I think a control freak can get past a child cooing — if he wants to get past it. Most of these people are just looking for fights

  91. Father of Three says:

    Richard said:

    So they are neither banned nor commanded to attend.

    True, but referring to Ed Francis’ post, one could say they are ‘summoned’, which is good enough for me.

    Also, who is easier to discipline, a child, or an adult? My children are well behaved for their ages, they are not perfect. They are quiet when they need to be. They are not unruly, but if they get that way, they are removed. I would think an adult should have the sense of mind to not get distracted by such things. They should have the discipline to endure distractions at Mass, be it the sounds of children, or coughing, traffic, sirens, etc. If they don’t, then it should be something they seek. What they shouldn’t do, is tell a 1 year old girl not to say “Baby Jesus” before Mass has even begun. I need not quote what our Lord said about those who would harm children. Suffice it to say, he who would harm the faith of my daughter for his own misguided sense of perfection should stay away from mill stones.

  92. Richard says:

    doing the best we can said:

    “So to the cranky people who don’t want children in Mass, remember that little boy you shush could be serving your funeral Mass or even offering your funeral Mass.”

    Yes, but is he really any less likely to become a priest if you wait until he is 4 before taking him to Mass regularly?

  93. Richard says:

    Father of three, I am not trying to “harm the faith” of your daughter – or that of my own. I just can’t see that it does her any harm to wait a couple of years before bringing her to Mass regularly.

    Also remember that the group most distracted by children is other children. Certainly the ability of my 5 year old to participate meaningfully in the Mass is greatly reduced by the presence of his 2-year old sister.

  94. Chris says:

    Richard, again, for those of us who travel hours back and fourth to the TLM, how do we do shifts?

  95. Richard says:

    Chris said:
    “If a child coos and some grumpy guy nearly breaks his neck to yell at the parent, then it’s his lack of discipline that is the cause his own failure of devotion.”

    Sure, there’s a question of degree here. That’s why I said that it depends on the individual child. The Church is very sensible not to lay down any rules until they reach the age of 7. But many toddlers seem to make rather more noise in church than a coo.

  96. Richard says:

    Chris,

    Wonderful as the TLM is, it isn’t the only way to fulfil your Sunday obligation.

  97. Chris says:

    Richard, we go to the TLM. Period.

    You can choose to start the coversation where it starts or not.

    But we don’t do NO Mass. And, unless our neighborhood disaster of a parish, er, “Christian Community Center” is taken over by the FSSP or ICR, going in shifts is just not an option.

  98. Father of Three says:

    Richard said,

    I just can’t see that it does her any harm to wait a couple of years before bringing her to Mass regularly.

    As a person noted earlier, if we did this, then my wife would have missed Mass now for 5 years, and according to what you are suggesting, it would be at least a few more still. Are you seriously suggesting, contrary to what the Holy Father says, that I should have my wife stay at home with any children under the age of seven? If that doesn’t harm my children, it would certainly harm my wife.

    Also, what harms the faith of my daughter, is a rude man who wants her to stop paying her own form of adoration to our Lord, when Mass has not even begun. As I said above, they are quiet when they need to be. The bottom line is, children belong in Mass. Again, I am just ASTONISHED, truly astonished, that you do not see this. How do you read Mark’s Gospel? How do you understand the Eastern Tradition of infant Communion?

  99. irishgirl says:

    I go to a TLM in a small chapel, and there’s a family that has four [or is it five?] little kids. They sit in the back. I sit up in front. One time last summer one of the kids acted up, so the father took him behind closed doors in the vestibule. I heard an almost inaudible ‘slap’, and the kid was screaming bloody murder! But I think he got the message! The kids still make noises, but I think of St. Therese and how she reacted to the Sister who nearly drove her nuts, and so I ‘endure’.

    Yeesterday I went to Mass at an Eastern Rite [Maronite] church. There was a family behind me with kids who wouldn’t shut up! I kept getting hit in the back when they moved around in their pew! After Communion the priest made some announcements, and I half turned around and put my index finger to my lips to tell them ‘shush’.

    Next time I go, I’ll sit in the front pew…

    As one or two posters said above, parents should be responsible to make their kids behave in church.

    BTW-I’m not married, and have no kids….

  100. kat says:

    Mental reminder: Don’t sit near Richard at Mass next week.

  101. Richard says:

    Thinking about it, young children seem to be a lot like guitars.

    The Church does not (despite what some priests seem to think) say that they have to be brought to Mass. But nor (despite what some people would like) does she actually ban them.

    Some people say that bringing them to Mass encourages active participation. Some people find that they are a distraction from true participation.

    Some argue that they bring more people to Mass, especially families. Some say that they drive people away from the Church.

  102. Father of Three says:

    Richard,

    The problem with your ridiculous, and it is ridiculous, comparison is that children are encouraged to go to Mass, guitars are not. And children have traditionally gone to Mass. By traditionally, I mean the 2000 year tradition of the Church, which has welcomed well-behaved children of all ages, not a warped notion that comes from the 1950s Catholicus Americanus breed.

  103. Richard says:

    I must remember that Americans are incapable of telling the difference between serious comments and facetious ones.

    For the avoidance of doubt, the guitar one was facetious, in the vain hope of lightening up a debate that was starting to become a little heated. The previous ones were meant seriously.

  104. Richard says:

    Thanks Chris, that’s good to know.

  105. Richard says:

    Next time I (and my children) are trying to put up with the distraction caused by a yowling toddler at Mass, I shall remember Chris and that its parents think that I am a “jerk” for wondering if it would be better to wait until it was a year or two older before bringing it.

  106. Any more name-calling and I will send the culprit to a quiet corner where he cannot even read this read blog anymore, much less post.

    So, boys and girls, don’t make me come back here!

    o{]>:¬(

  107. Bill says:

    Cell phones that don’t get turned off before Mass and that ring/chime/play music during Mass, bother me far more than crying babies. I admit that I get annoyed when I hear the sound of a Nintendo DS or other game being played coming from a back pew (though I’m more annoyed at the parents for allowing it than with the child).

    When I hear a baby crying during Mass, I try to remember to say a prayer for Mom and Dad, and then just refocus on the Mass.

  108. boredoftheworld says:

    The old guy who is driven to distraction by the antics of your precious little snowflake has his own issues and casting him into outer darkness for looking at you cross-eyed isn’t particularly Christlike. Other people are allowed to have a point of view and occasionally other people are right.

    If more than one person has ever said something negative to you about the behaviour of your children at Mass then it’s time for you to seriously consider the possibility that your children may in fact be disruptive.

    If it’s just one person giving you the evil eye then pray for that person and for goodness sake try to minimize the damage but don’t get all self-righteous about it. On the other hand if you’ve got priests and laypeople signing petitions and sitting on the other end of the nave just so they don’t get covered in cheerios and spit get off your high horse and don’t be the kind of parent that drove our own parents to drink.

    And btw, your kids ARE loud. Deal with it. If anyone ever was annoyed enough by my children to say anything to me about it the child in question would ride home on the luggage rack (I’ve discovered that the two year old has an exceptionally strong grip).

    I confess I don’t understand the point of view of a person who reacts with outrage and indignation in cases where I would react with shame and embarrassment. I’ve tried but I can’t do it.

  109. Richard says:

    boredoftheworld said:
    “If anyone ever was annoyed enough by my children to say anything to me about it the child in question would ride home on the luggage rack (I’ve discovered that the two year old has an exceptionally strong grip).”

    Damn, I knew I shouldn’t have sold my MG when we had children.

  110. Cathy says:

    Fr. Z,

    Thanks for letting people discuss this issue even though it isn’t very pretty at times. I think it’s good to get this stuff out in the open and discuss it.

    I’m in the middle of transcribing a retreat Fr. John Hardon gave for women in 1998. In it, he says that we are in the midst of “the gravest crisis in the history of Catholic Christianity”. Those of us who are trying to keep the faith alive where it sometimes seems all but dead need to work together. We need to deal with our differences both small and large and find ways to help each other get through this.

    Another thing Fr. Hardon said was that we need people who offend us so that we have people to forgive; in this way we obtain God’s forgiveness. A lot of priests avoid these kinds of discussions because of the controversy. It seems like there’s a lot to be gained from a little controversy.

  111. mightymom says:

    Bill said: When I hear a baby crying during Mass, I try to remember to say a prayer for Mom and Dad, and then just refocus on the Mass.

    THANK YOU BILL!!!

    This mom needs all the prayers and understanding she can get, each and every Mass.

    I am Subvet’s wife, he put a link to my first of three posts relaying our Mass Adventures in his earlier comment.

    Folks, we do the best we can. But these kids are not going to be still or quiet. Is that a reason to ban them from church? Frankly, these kids are never going to be able to be still and quiet, not at 5, not at 7, not at 15. That’s life with Autism does that mean that we can never go to church as a family??

    What say you?

    Richard??
    Fr Z??

    And yet, at 2 my oldest could recite the Our Father. It was the only time he’d say more than 5 words at a time. At 4 He knew the Hail Mary, and understood that Jesus had died on the cross and had booboos. At 5 he now knows all the prayers of the Rosary and we’re working on coordinating the beads with the prayers. The ONLY place he has learned these things is in church. And it ONLY comes with repetition. Many weeks of going to church every Sunday and hearing the same things over and over again.

    “People were bringing even infants to him that he might touch them, and when the disciples saw this, they rebuked them. Jesus, however, called the children to himself and said, “Let the children come to me and do not prevent them; for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.” Luke 18:15-16

    Can you not find it in your hearts to do the same for God’s children??

  112. mightymom says:

    correction:

    I was at 3 he could recite the Our Father…..at 2 his only words were Mama, Daddy, Kitty and cup.

  113. mightymom says:

    correction:

    It was at 3 he could recite the Our Father…..at 2 his only words were Mama, Daddy, Kitty and cup.

  114. Joanne says:

    “The ONLY place he has learned these things is in church.”

    Just curious, but why is that? As I noted above, my parents went to Mass in shifts, but we had pictures, statuettes of the Blessed Mother, and certainly crucifixes around our home. We must have been taught prayers very early on – I never remember NOT knowing the Hail Mary and the Our Father. Is it really true that the ONLY place small children can learn about their faith is at Mass?

    It COULD be…that all these grumpy old men that everyone seems to be encountering left and right are going through something themselves, like caring for a terminally ill spouse, dealing with a drug-addicted adult child, bad health of their own, etc etc etc etc. And yes, EVEN your child might be a bit irritating to someone who just wants to assist in the Mass, worship, be spiritual, and have a bit of peace for an hour. Sorry, but no one is an unreasonable jerk for expecting that.

    Richard, imo the unpleasant feedback you’ve gotten here is completely over the top and undeserved. From reading this thread, I would say your wife and children are very blessed.

    Take care, all -

  115. Joe R. says:

    I so love the TLM that I am willing to drive the several hours at least once a month.But to get there and be perpetually interrupted by not just a crying baby, but a cooing, babbling little one is very distracting especially when there is a cry room for these darlings who are really not old enough to be expected to be quiet.The selfishness and gall of these TLM attendees with young children is appalling.I have even seen mothers nursing their infants during Mass, not even bothering to leave and go to the restroom.Just like hippies. At my NO parish, the babies are in the cry room and it is not unusual to see families going to different Masses. Believe me, if you have to do shifts and one parent has to go to the TLM and one to the NO, neither parent will go to hell over this temporary adjustment until the babe is old enough.

  116. Subvet says:

    “Just curious, but why is that? As I noted above, my parents went to Mass in shifts, but we had pictures, statuettes of the Blessed Mother, and certainly crucifixes around our home. We must have been taught prayers very early on – I never remember NOT knowing the Hail Mary and the Our Father. Is it really true that the ONLY place small children can learn about their faith is at Mass?”

    Hey Joanne, I’ll gladly answer that one for ya. Mightymom is my wife and currently going through RCIA to enter the Church. She’s doing this because her former denomination has come down foursquare in favor of women’s “reproductive rights”. Her background doesn’t include the athome focusing on the faith that many Catholic ones do.

    As for myself, I’m a revert who got tired of sanctimonious holier-than-thou types always finding I wasn’t “Catholic enough” for their tastes and left the Church for a few decades. I came back after realizing the word “Catholic” means everyone (even me) is invited. During those decades I didn’t spend time in the choir loft, as a perusal of my blog will attest (shameless plug? You betcha!), so daily prayer, statues at home, holy water dishes by the door, are still something I’ve got to get back into the habit of.

    As Mightymom said, we do the best we can and if that isn’t good enough for certain folk they can put it where the sun never shines (everyone on this blog excepted, of course.)

  117. Subvet says:

    Addendum: For those who are irritated by small children at “your” Mass, offer it up for the suffering souls in Purgatory and give thanks we provide that opportunity for you.

  118. Matt says:

    Joe,

    neither parent will go to hell over this temporary adjustment until the babe is old enough

    Nor will you go to hell if you are forced to “endure” these distractions for the sake of our future.

    I find it rather curious to make such a conclusion…

    The selfishness and gall of these TLM attendees

  119. Catarina says:

    I’m wondering whether the kiddos who can’t behave at Mass are the same ones who can’t behave in other public places — restaurants, stores, theatres. I’m so sick and tired of parents who turn a blind eye to the antics of their little brats. BTW, you may want to check out this interesting post: I Hate Large, Homeschooling Families: http://catholicinformation.aquinasandmore.com/2006/10/15/i-hate-large-homeschooling-familes/

  120. Father of Three says:

    Joe R said,

    I have even seen mothers nursing their infants during Mass, not even bothering to leave and go to the restroom.Just like hippies.

    I will simply summarize what a Traditional European Priest once had to tell a typically puritanistic American who said almost the same as you have: Only a pervert would look at a woman breastfeeding her child and find it to be scandalous.

    If I were you, I wouldn’t visit Europe anytime soon. You might happen upon one of the many images of our Lady doing the same for the Christ Child.

  121. Joanne says:

    Hi, Subvet:

    Thank you first of all for your service to our country. Actually, your response doesn’t really answer my question, but I’m always happy to hear about those who are reverting/converting.

    Best again to all -

  122. Ed Francis says:

    mightymom & Subvet -

    I look forward to seeing and praying with you at Mass. Please bring your children.

    If you need any help managing, you have only to ask. That’s what we’re all here for, after all; to love one another as Christ has Loved us.

    Anyone who’d deny that, isn’t Catholic. Any one who’d flat out refuse to act on it needs our prayers badly. Meanwhile, pay them no attention. Come to Mass. Bring your kids.

  123. doing the best we can says:

    I don’t think anyone is arguing that a screaming baby or tantruming toddler shouldn’t be taken out at Mass. No one is endorsing bratty behavior or children running up and down the pews. Simply, that fellow parishioners tolerate a small amount of movement and sound.

    I’m surprised some posters here can manage to get anything out of any Mass. There are many distractions that have nothing to do with children. Guess we should keep the older folks with their beeping hearing aids at home, oh and the old man whose scooter beeps when he backs up after Communion, the janitor with a million keys on his enormous key ring needs to go and so does the cop whose gun belt squeaks every time he shifts. Let’s not forget anyone with allergies or a slight cold-sniffing, coughing, sneezing, blowing noses is certainly a distraction.

    Parents of small children are selfish?

  124. Brian Mershon says:

    We go to Mass together as a family regardless of how old the children are. They are of different temperaments and sometimes act up. Everyone has experienced that. There is a difference between making noises, singing chant out of turn (as does Fr. Smith’s Godson–OOPS!) and really getting outrageously noisy, especially during the sermon.

    Others making rude comments or glances are simply out of turn. You are not supporting the culture of life and are not being indulgent, charitable or Christ-like. It is that simple. Yes, there are some parents who let their kids go to the other extreme. We should pray for them and shout our mouths and give them a warm smile of understanding.

    Perhaps the reason everyone is so touchy about noise is because so many Catholic congregations are used to the gray-haireds with very few children–Novus Ordo!

    Priests need to spend more time teaching the Faith, living it and being open to pastoral requests of Catholics who desire timely (early) baptisms and less time with their “off days” written in stone.

    Everyone’s children act up. When you have more than two or three, then things can get choatoic. The only way they learn to behave is by going to church. Regular daily Mass attendance helps them learn how to act much more quickly also. Now if we could only get the TLM on a daily basis.

    I think priests should spend more time explaining to the women that their plunging neckjllines and backless dresses and whore-like short skirts are not appropriate in church. Much more time. Of course most priests won’t touch that one with a 10-foot pole.

  125. sacerdos in germania says:

    As a priest who has been there and back…if I may…

    bring your kids to mass…definitely!
    leave your cell phone at home or turn it off…please!

  126. Ed Francis says:

    sacerdos in germania -

    Yes. You may. You must. Thank you.