A little over two months ago I posted on the topic of Applause in Church, a post which proved to be very popular – receiving a very large number of readers, and shared on Facebook over 300 times. It’s clear that this is a topic that interests people!
I was very glad, then, to discover recently on the good Italian blog, Scuola Ecclesia Mater, this video of Pope Saint John XXIII, when he spoke to a crowd about NOT applauding (or cheering) in church. Since I originally saw it, a few English blogs have picked it up as well. Here is the translation of what “Good Pope John” says – in his characteristic warm and animated style – as provided by the blog New Liturgical Movement (with some slight adjustments on my part). The video then follows.
Narrator: The fourth Sunday of Lent, John XXIII was once again among the crowd, at Ostia. [About 15 miles to the south-west of Rome.] Thousands of people were waiting for him along the street, in the piazza, in the church. They wanted to see him, to applaud him. They did not know that afterwards, he would rebuke them, in a good-natured way – in his simple, spontaneous, familiar way of speaking.
Pope John XXIII: I am very glad to have come here. But if I must express a wish, it is that in church you not shout out, you not clap your hands, and you not greet even the Pope, because ‘templum Dei, templum Dei.’ (“The temple of God is the temple of God.”) Now, if you are pleased to be in this beautiful church, imagine how happy the Pope is to see his dear children. But as soon as he sees his good children, he certainly does not clap his hands in their faces.