More Applause in Church

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.

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5 Responses to More Applause in Church

  1. Rich DiClaudio says:

    Amen. I had a chance to spend two days last year with Cardinal Arinze, Prefect Emeritus of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, having served as prefect from 2002 to 2008. Both days included rather private lunches during which the 5 of us discussed many aspects of the Church and most especially the Mass. Since he had served in the position as Prefect of DWDS his understanding of the Mass has great authority. He said, as did Pope John XXIII, that there is no clapping in Church and most especially during or immediately after Mass. He taught us many other official doctrines of the Mass that we seem to routinely get wrong in our country (and probably others as well). It is fascinating how far we have strayed from what the Church teaches in this regard. God have mercy on us. Thank you for your thoughtful and informative post. TJTM.

  2. debra says:

    Generally I am uncomfortablecwith applause in church so happpy to see comment.

  3. Dawn says:

    God Bless your liturgical obedience! I love WYD, but often wonder why so much of Canon Law/the GIRM is relaxed there? What are your thoughts on this?


  4. Anne says:

    Today our parochial vicar announced this was his last Mass, then hastily added because he is leaving for a month long vacation. He got a round of applause. It was awkward. Are they applauding because he’s leaving? We had lots of visitors today so maybe they were being gracious?

    • Probably being gracious. Or didn’t know what to do, so applauding seemed right. Folks often don’t know how to act in public situations nowadays. That was why we had a highly-developed system of etiquette in the past. Today, such things are seen as quaint and too stuffy, but they really did serve a good purpose!

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