Skip to comments.Noisy Parishes (an opportunity to vent your frustration)
Posted on 07/31/2006 10:04:02 AM PDT by NYer
A reader has started a new blog dedicated to noisy churches.
This site is for you, if the noise before your Liturgy / Service prevents you and others from saying your prayers. If the same is true about the noise and chattering during the service - you're just as welcome.
We shall be awarding icons of 1, 2, or 3 stars to Churches / Congregations who satisfy us as being worthy of note and more importantly - improvement.
Please DO email us with a description of a Church you know or attend. Be SPECIFIC regarding the noise problem and if possible, provide us with a link to it's website or email (photos would be good too!)
This is NOT about ridicule. It's about making our churches into Sacred Spaces to be with / before the Lord and hear what he has to say to us.
That said, we won't be too serious either.
Now when it comes to noisy parishes we can just grin and bear it, but I think we can spend some time grinning about the subject also. Instead of just griping we can also laugh on the subject also. But it is a subject many can commiserate on. My own parish does not have this problem, but when I attend Mass at other parishes I have definitely heard the phenomenon while attempting to pray prior to or after Mass. Even Jesus would leave to go to a quiet place to pray. He didn't just head to the gates in Jerusalem or other noisy places to pray.
Some parishes sound like a movie theater prior to a movie. Sometimes you can almost imagine a parish having to play one of those "Silence is Golden" clips that often get played just before a movie starts. Reminders to turn off their cell phone and to not add their own sound track to the movie. From my own limited experience I have noticed the amount of noise to be a reciprocal of the reverence of the Mass. The more reverent the Masses said the least likely people are talking before it. The more the Mass is intended as what seems to be just entertainment the more it is treated as such.
In fact I can think of a career opportunity in this field.
A consulting firm that goes around measuring the noise in Church could be a grand idea. A db (Devotional Boundary) meter would be required. The higher the reading the less chance of devotion will occur. The measurement is logarithmic for example just a 3 Devotional Boundary increase would be the equivalent from just three people talking around you to fifty people talking around you. Another 3 db increase and more-than-likely only people who are deaf can pray.
Though maybe just taking readings and later publishing them will not be that effective. Putting signs around entrances to the church would probably be as effective as posted speed signs.
Though possibly we could set up something like those radar speeds signs posted on trailers showing your current speed could be effective. These usually do make people more aware and to slow down wherever these trailers are found.
Something like this.
Sisters, this is God's House of Prayer and your talking is distracting me from my prayers. Would you please be quiet or step into the ante-room where conversation is allowed?
They looked at me and smiled and were quiet until I was back kneeling before the Tabernacle. Then, the loud talking started again. I got up and went to, respectfully, speak with them again. Again I asked them to either vacate the Church or maintain silence.
Again, I went back and knelt before the Tabernacle. Again the loud talk began.
I got up off my knees and I walked back to the two women and I punched-out the lights of the woman who was standing and speaking the loudest. That silenced her and the other lady had nothing to say. (Of course, I had to go back to Confession, but I thought the lesson I taught them was an important one for them to learn)
Don't these people know that quiet, hushed churches are boring? According to the "seeker sensitive" crowd, every church service needs a rock band, light and sound show, multimedia presentation, dramatic skits, and a Church-of-What's-Happening-Now preacher, Evangelical division. Got to keep everybody entertained and hyped up, or they won't show up. Got to be just like the world to compete. That's what God is doing in the church today, so get with the program!
Compared to my house, my church is silent as the tombs ... even when the whole congregation is in the place "visiting."
Now that is wrong and should be addressed with the pastor. Our world is so full of noise - radios, cds, tvs, ipods - lawnmowers, leaf blowers, cars, motorcycles, trucks, buses, aircraft - that many folks are no longer comfortable in silence. But that is where God waits for us.
Y'know, I enjoy the Latin Mass but last time I went to Holy Trinity in Boston, there were two women in front of me chatting through the whole Mass and another gentleman who kept getting up to mess with the windows before spending most of the Mass reading something, that wasn't the missal.
Sad thing is, I know they are regulars because they had all their own "gear" including missals.
I've just about given up on going to the Latin Mass there....Holy Name of Jesus in East Providence on the other hand my GF keeps asking me to bring her back to she loved it so much even though from her own report she couldn't really follow it.
What's interesting is St. Clement Shrine which does only an NO Liturgy is quiet enough to hear a pin drop.....ok, since it's near Fenway you can sometimes hear the famous Yankees chant, but that is always coming from outside.
Just a comparison to draw before anyone starts blaming the noise on which missal is used.
Yeah. I told the Pastor
We were visiting a parish up in Northern Michigan, and when Mass was over my family and I were kneeling down praying our thanksgiving prayers when an elderly woman stood right smack dab in front of the Tabernacle and starting yelling, "L I N D A!!!!" "L I N D A!!!!" She was trying to get the attention of a woman at the back of the church. God bless her, but pretty clueless.
The General Instruction of the Roman Missal, in No. 45, says: "Even before the celebration itself, it is commendable that silence to be observed in the church, in the sacristy, in the vesting room, and in adjacent areas, so that all may dispose themselves to carry out the sacred action in a devout and fitting manner."
People need silence and solitude to rest in the peace of Christ, to recover their psychological and spiritual equilibrium, to think, to meditate, to plan, to contemplate the mysteries of God and the richness of the Faith.
Then the LORD said (to Elijah), "Go outside and stand on the mountain before the LORD; the LORD will be passing by." A strong and heavy wind was rending the mountains and crushing rocks before the LORD--but the LORD was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake--but the LORD was not in the earthquake.
After the earthquake there was fire--but the LORD was not in the fire. After the fire there was a tiny whispering sound.
I have gotten up to finish a rosary before. Gives me something extra to offer up when it happens...
At my parish my beef is with the racket produced by the "music" liturgy. They don't perform, they gallump. The liturgy is a sad joke.
"At my parish my beef is with the racket produced by the "music" liturgy. They don't perform, they gallump. The liturgy is a sad joke."
You should check out a liturgy at one of the eastern Catholic churches (e.g. Maronite, Byzantine, Chaldean, Ukranian, etc).
Y'know, my Parish is fairly noisy. And it delights me to no end. Here's why: we have quite a few kids and our church is too small to have a separate crying room (which I'd be opposed to in any case).
So we just chant louder.
My church is full of kids, too! Of course, so is my house.