10 More Things You Might Be Doing Wrong at Mass

1. Standing up to process to receive Communion when you won't be able to leave your pew for another 2 minutes

I don’t get it. Why do you do this? This is when we kneel in reverence; the standing and walking is strictly out of necessity. The procession should be sober. It shouldn’t look like a rush to reserve your spot in line. Hey, if you’re excited to receive the Lord, great, but how about some order and patience in the ranks, huh? Additional time in prayer wouldn’t hurt either.
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  • Constance

    No holding hands during the Our Father! Thank you! The rushing up for Communion is so bad in my parish. We all need to slow down. Excellent list. Way to keep stirring the pot, David. ?

    • Thanks, Constance.

      I actually considered re-including the Orans position in this one. Puts a smile on my face. 🙂

      • Constance

        Here’s my problem. My thought is, yeah, re-post on the Orans posture and then give a brief theological or traditional explanation. In reality, however, not everyone is like me or you and wants to know the *why* and more importantly, live the *why*. So I completely get these articles, but many of the people who comment just aren’t interested in learning the right way to do things, or even considering that they may have learned it wrong. I learned a lot wrong over the years, but once I knew how it should be, I changed. So thank you for your articles, I hope it gets people thinking, even if you get nasty comments again.

        • Constance

          And it should be duly noted, that you have graciously accepted correction, especially on the EF.

        • Thank you, again.

          Yeah, a lot of negative comments have included a “Well, my pastor…” The fact that you have a pastor who is failing to uphold his vow of obedience by sticking to the rubrics is not even evidence that my critiques are erroneous; it’s evidence that you have a poor priest. That’s sad.

          The rubrics aren’t the product of some bureaucratic body just making up rules as they please. Moreover, nothing is changed without the Pope’s approval.

          So, in reality, those folks who express an attitude of, “I’m sure Pope Francis doesn’t mind us holding hands…”, are actually 100% wrong. If Francis wanted a an allowance for hand-holding or the laity adopting the Orans position, then he could just say so. He gets to dictate these things at will, and nobody has the authority to challenge him.

          Thus, those defending the rubrics actually do get to invoke the Pope as supporting the directions and limitations. The rubrics are the Pope’s dictate, practically speaking.

        • LM

          A woman at my church said she likes holding hands and she’s going to do it no matter what. So that speaks to disunity at Mass. People are doing their own things, whatever they like. They are not open to learning what the rubrics instruct.

          • going

            AND they don’t realize OR REMEMBER that the Church is NOT a “do whatever you want whenever you want” – NOT a democracy – but we MUST follow the true rebrics and they ARE in writing…look them up and then FOLLOW the proper behavior and actions…just as you would follow the proper protocol if visiting the Queen or POTUS…and this is GOD!!!

    • Daniel Escasa

      In our parish, we “remind” the congregation that “receiving the Holy Eucharist is done by row” and to please wait for an usher/collector before standing. Seems to be working well enough

      • Phil Steinacker

        Many of us recall the days before Vat II when ushers were NEVER seen at Communion. Folks got up from the kneeling position when they were ready to receive, and others in the same pew accommodated their exit from the pew.

        It worked fine everywhere. Usher began to play the unnecessary role they do today when progressives expanded their duties to include controlling traffic at Communion, from the misguided belief that it is a good in itself to increase lay involvement in the Mass to the fullest degree possible.

        • Kurt 20008

          I’m open to hearing a contrary view, but I think the greatest day in the 100+ year history of my parish was the triumph of progressive ushering practices. A number of progressive Catholic activists (including the recently deceased Dr. Paul Cook from my parish) managed to get an appointment with the Archbishop. They presented their proposal for implementation of a key progressive desire. And while the Archbishop discussed with them the expected conservative backlash, in the end, he agreed to implement their request. The ushers (at least those who did not resign in protest) were instructed to cease seating those at Mass segregated by race and to no longer instruct the African Americans to receive communion after the white parishioners.

          • going

            Can’t believe a church on ANY religion would segregate people like that???

          • Kurt 20008

            It certainly was a sad thing.

        • LM

          I remember receiving Communion without ushers, too, Phil, way, way back. There is no need for them. I don’t recall people ever stampeding the altar, but letting people in the pews ahead of them exit their pews first, quietly waiting their turn to approach the altar rail. Now. There is always an usher guiding us to the whichever line has less people in it, so my concentration is on the ‘traffic cop’ instead of contrmplating the Eucharist as I advance. Directing traffic at Mass is superfluous, but it’s been in place too long. Gives people as ushers more to occupy themselves with, instead of themselves focusing on the Mass.

    • going

      Please, not “stirring” the pot but INFORMATION that is useful and respectful…

  • Heidi

    As a mother of three children once, I do understand and smile at the noise of children but….if a child is unruly, at some point I wish mom or dad would take them to the cry room. I say this because for some of us getting to Mass can only happen once a week (unfortunately) I want to soak Mass in because I need it for the week to come. Yes we give grace to our mothers and children but at some point we also need to think about others.

    • Anya Jean

      It’s a way of teaching us patience and deepening our longing for God. Spend some time before Mass medtating on the day’s Scripture readings and you will soak in more than you realize. God asks us to be together as a family when we worship at Mass. Kid’s not old enough to know better are always a noisy distraction at family gatherings.

      • Heidi

        I get what you are saying. Of course the kid isn’t old enough to know better but Mom and Dad are and as a family we should care for everyone’s needs.

        • Anya Jean

          I propose that the primary purpose in attending Mass is not to have our needs met but rather to give God the thanks and worship that He is due, for satisfying our needs the rest of the week. If we experience the smallest measure of mystical union with God during Mass that is a great gift to be treasured, but it is not something we can command under the “right” conditions.

          • Heidi

            Thanks for your post, sorry you can’t understand my point. God Bless

    • My approach with my children, the oldest of which is 4, is to do what I can to instill an understanding that we must be quiet and respectful of others, not disturbing them. Can’t really go much beyond that before age 5, right?

      The only time I remove my children is when they need to be disciplined. If I’m about to spank my child, which will almost certainly lead to screaming, yes, I’ll spare the congregation. If I have a happy 9 month old who is cooing and laughing loudly, no, there’s not the slightest chance that I’ll step out. I’m not suggesting that you do, but I do not subscribe to the view: Let the little children come to me, unless, of course, they might disturb some adults.

      • retiredconservative

        What about a 2 year old boy who runs, screaming, up and down the main aisle of the church at will during most of the mass?
        This isn’t a hypothetical question.

        • Parents have a responsibility to instruct their kids about the need to be quiet, even at age 2. There were times that I walked quietly with my 1 or 2 year old back and forth in the outer aisle. It was good for them, and ultimately, it was probably less distracting or disruptive than if I had kept them in a pew. It is a concern of mine that very young children not construe Mass as a punitive event.

        • LM

          You immediately take the child out of the church.

    • tt

      If kids are squirmy and a bit noisy on their own, that is okay. But there is a family in our church–mom, dad and maternal grandparents sit with two small children–that plays with the kids during church and makes them be noisy. Hint: if you tickle a toddler in the middle of mass, she is going to laugh and shriek. And that is you doing something wrong, not the toddler. And other adults will reach a breaking point and glare at you. You. Not the child.

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  • Fred Allen

    Great article. I still think accepting communion by the hand has something wrong about it, even if it is legitimate.

    Everyone at my church stands before communion, as they are in competition to get in line . .. it’s strange. I think I was the only person on the epistle side not standing before communion. I remember when I was a kid, there were a lot more people in church and thus waiting for communion would have taken longer. It does feel a little strange to kneel when the line moves so quickly, so I do understand why people no longer do it. We are all so efficient.

    I actually was at a church recently where the woman in the pew ahead of me reached behind and grabbed my hand during the Our Father, which really shocked me!

    Here’s a question: I have heard it’s best to bow for communion in back of the person ahead of you so you will not hold up the line. But, then I wouldn’t be bowing in front of the eucharist. I was never taught to bow as a kid, so I’m wondering where this teaching comes from? Was this always a part of the traditional Mass?

    Here’s another question: when the alter server walks in front of the priest at the end of Mass down the sanctuary aisle carrying the crucifix, should the image of our Lord be facing the priest, or facing the people? It seems counter intuitive to have the cross facing the altar on the way out, so no one can actually see Jesus on it. But maybe that is the role.

    • Quite frankly, I think that more than enough has been done to promote expediency.

      I tend to begin my bow as the person before my is about to turn aside, but I do this for a different reason. In my parish, a profound bow is so rare that every priest and deacon expects a nod or nothing. Thus, if I wait for the person before me to be fully aside before I bow, I end up bowing in the middle of the words, “The Body of Christ”.

      • Sean Perch

        Which segues to something else that should be brought up for everyone’s benefit, as well. Just as you want to observe the ‘The Body/Blood of Christ” as it if offered to you, at the elevation of the Host and chalice during the consecration we are supposed to be eyes locked on both. It is not only the offering of Christ on Cavalry (the same one and only time in 33 A.D., not again and again) in conjunction with our monetary, physical, and spiritual offerings (that’s why the offertory immediately precedes) but St. Gertrude tells us that “Every time we look at the Blessed Sacrament our place in heaven is raised forever.” Who wouldn’t want to be that much more in union with God for all eternity?

    • Phil Steinacker


      You have good reason to be believe something is wrong with Communion in the hand, despite its validity and licitness. Not only is the practice counter to the traditional Eucharistic spirituality of the Catholic Church, its origins are problematic.

      The problem with Communion in the hand is that, while licit, it is a practice which originally began in defiant disobedience in France, and when Pope Paul VI instituted an indult (an exception) to the norm (which is to receive on the tongue) for countries where it had been the custom (meaning France and possibly one other country), liberals world-wide rushed to expand the exception to become the rule.

      Here in the U.S., that original disobedience morphed into sneaky deceit when Cardinal Bernadin, head of the U.S. bishops conference, attempted to get Communion in the hand passed by the bishops but kept coming up short on the votes. He contacted the necessary number of retired liberal bishops to turn it around, illegally (in violation of USCCB by-laws) adding their affirmative votes to swing the result his way.

  • Fred Allen

    According to this article, changes in the liturgy are coming. Bowing before communion, standing in your pew and singing after communion and only kneeling after the priest sits, lifting up your arms during the Lord’s prayer, and *embracing* one’s neighbors instead of shaking hands at the sign of peace. These changes are coming in the fall? I haven’t heard a thing about this until I stumbled upon the above article.

    • Nicole Limacher

      That website shouldn’t be relied upon because it’s regarding the GIRM that we now use and the changes that happened back in 2003. Bishop Pilla has not been the Bishop of Cleveland since 2006. Also, you should read the GIRM yourself because the article badly misrepresents it.

      • UAWildcatx2

        Additionally, Fr. J-Glenn Murray was permanently removed from ministerial duties in 2011.

  • Aly Borowczyk

    You may be right, but your tone seemed a bit harsh and mildly condescending. Your “tongue-in-cheek” approach can be easily misconstrued as uncharitable. I believe that most people who do the things you mentioned are unaware that what they are doing is wrong. Therefore, instead of telling them that they need to “zip it,” or that what they’re doing is “messed up,” we should assess how phrasing it in such a way could be detrimental to a catechizing mission. I’m all about using appropriate humor to convey important messages, but this article, in my opinion, really missed the mark. I’m sure you’re a wonderful husband and father, and a great Catholic – clearly your intentions in writing this were good – but I’m sorry, I think this topic could be tackled in a better way.

    • LM

      I see what you mean; it could be interpreted as condescending, but for some reason, I was laughing as if David was doing a stand-up act intended to inform. He didn’t come across mean-spirited to me, just tongue-in cheek funny (but only a little tongue-in-cheek, because everything he pointed out is true; I see these things on a regular basis, as well as recognizing several things I need to change in myself!) Humor has made David’s advice memorable. Thank you for it!

    • going

      there are MANY MANY people who JUST do NOT care if “gently” admonished…they need to be re-directed ===AND I truly believe people KNOW full well when they are doing something wrong…NO TIME is DISRESPECT an acceptable alternative

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  • Squorrox

    Many years ago, I was at the evening Mass in the parish in which I was living then. When the priest came out, he stood at the altar and said that he wasn’t starting Mass until we all moved to front. He told us to look at ourselves being scattered all over the place. When we had, sheepishly and embarrassed, filled the first four rows, he said “That’s better” and then said that Irish Catholics (the majority in the Parish even though it was in England) had internalised the parable of the Pharisee and the Sinner (Lk 18:9-14) too much and preferred sitting at the back. After Mass several members of the congregation got talking outside and side how nice it was that we were all together at the front. The next time I went to the evening Mass, things were back to normal. That was forty years ago, and I’m ashamed to say that, even though I am now living thousands of miles away from Ireland and England, I still tend to sit at the back!

    • Nermal146

      I love sitting in front. I’m a returning Catholic so I guess I want our dear Lord to see me! Actually, I like hearing the prayers and I like seeing everything the priest and servers are doing. I also wish parents would sit in front with their children. Let them see what is going on. Explain what they are seeing. I made a lovely friend in just that sort of situation. She was at a Monday afternoon mass with her daughter and granddaughter. She sat in the first row and explained to the little girl (4 or 5 years old) what was going to happen. At that time we had a new very young and very handsome Priest. He is one of the holiest men I’ve ever been around. When he walked out on the Altar to start Mass, the little girl said, in a very loud voice, “Is that Jesus Grandma?” It was sweet, beautiful and funny all at once.

  • Tanya M Pomeroy Slaughter

    What are we supposed to do with our hands during the Our Father? Serous question. I don’t like holding hands because I know it’s illicit. So I hold my hands out, palms up, which I now know from your article is wrong. Suggestions on how to place hands? Is there a rubric for what we are supposed to do?

    • There is no instruction about what to do with your hands during the Our Father. There is no instruction on what to do with your hands for the vast majority of the Mass.

      So, I can’t say you ought to do X, but I can tell you what I do. I either fold my hands or hold the pew in front of me.

      • Kurt 20008

        Yes, there is no instruction, so holding another person’s hand is not illicit.

        • That’s not how it works in the Mass. The Church provides rubrics and norms; those are to be followed. If an option exists, it’s given. 99% of the instructions are prescriptive. To add is not an option.

          That said, the rules for the laity are not meant to be burdensome, nor does the Church desire to discourage individual expressions of piety and worship. So, holding hands with your spouse would not be condemned. The congregation holding hands is a different story.

          • Kurt 20008

            That’s just a made up assertion. The rubrics say nothing, neither calling for nor prohibiting holding another person’s hand, be it the person to one’s left or one’s right, or both. Be it the person you love as a spouse or love as a brother in Christ.

      • LM

        In my childhood, I was taught to place my hands vertically, palms together, fingers together pointing to
        Heaven in prayer, and during all prayers in the Mass.

    • Nermal146

      I just go back to my childhood and hold my hands in the prayer position, you know, palms together fingers pointed to heaven…I don’t like the hand holding or holding hands in the orans positions. I figure, if the Deacon isn’t allowed to hold his hands in the orans position, why should I . Having said that, I do respect that people hold hands or do the orans thing are doing it because of a spiritual feeling. Just don’t condemn me because I do thing a bit differently.

    • LM

      Hands are in the vertical position, palms together, fingers together pointed to heaven.

  • Hoosier_Hound

    Seriously, the thing most Catholics are doing wrong at Mass is not attending in the first place. Certainly more nagging about these particulars is what will draw them back. :rolls eyes:

    • Sean Perch

      Is it truly nagging to want to all to show the same respect towards our Lord? Is it nagging to correct someone when they are behaving in correctly? I would agree that the delivery as written can be taken as nagging–and has judging by some comments–but I would think the greater crime would be to sit quietly by and indifferently allow it all to continue. After all, we are supposed to “admonish one another in love” when we go astray, yes?

    • LM

      When we attend Mass, it is on God’s terns, not ours, so the particulars are vitally important: love, honor, and respect in the required words and actions to Christ. The particulars are not ours to choose but ours to obey and follow.

  • Nermal146

    Arrrrrrggggg, this communion in the hand or on the tongue makes me crazy. I receive both ways. I do what ever is most common in whatever church I’m attending. In my Church, most everyone receives in the hand. Ever since I was a little girl, I could never understand why the tongue was more sacred than my hand. Yes, dirty hands are not acceptable, but have you ever seen someone walk up chewing gum and then receiving on the tongue. Do you really think the tongue has some sort of holiness the hand does not. Have you ever heard the words some people use as they are leaving a very crowded parking lot. People put a lot of creepy things in their mouths, including their fingers etc. Communion in the hand was done in the early Church. When I receive in the hand, I realize I just had the Lord of the Universe in my hand, he touched my hand, I usually kiss the spot where he touched.

    • Sean Perch

      Nermal, I love the fact the you actually give thought to having touched the Lord of Lords when receiving communion in your hand. Too few people consider Whom we are receiving when we receive the Holy Eucharist. I would like to respond to your arguments against taking it on the tongue, however, with something the pastor at my last Church explained to every person he trained as an Extraordinary Minster of the Eucharist: “If you think you are worthy of touching the Holy Eucharist you are wrong. You are NOT worthy. But then again, neither am I nor any other priest.” He went on to explain that those who do only do so as a part of their duty and demonstration of their love for the Lord and our neighbor, but to choose to touch Him with our hands in receiving of Holy Communion is a sign of disrespect since we should all know that we are not worthy to touch him. Furthermore, transition of the host from our hands to our mouth may leave particles behind on our hands or to drop on the floor. While it would (hopefully) be unintentional it would be a desecration of the Holy Eucharist to allow any part of the host to not make it to our mouth. Besides, priests and EMs have enough training and experience after a few Masses to know how to place the Host on our tongues without touching us.

      For me the only exception to reception of the Holy Eucharist on the tongue is when I am not feeling well as I don’t want to make someone else sick if I can help it. As to the examples you gave of foul language or gum-chewing, I can only say that having received Jesus only minutes before I would hope people consciously choose their words to be loving and not hurtful or offensive. For gum or other food, perhaps as a sign of charity and love for our neighbor (whom is hopefully ignorant and not intentionally disrespectful) telling them that it is forbidden to eat or drink anything aside from water or medicine (and food required for said medicine) less than an hour before receiving Holy Communion. Obviously those with medical need are exempted, but it basically means that once you leave your house water is all you should have until after Mass.

      • Kurt 20008

        We are not worthy to receive on the tongue or in the hand. But what is so amazing is that when Our Lord was here on this Earth, the common people , tax collectors, prostitutes, sinners of every kind, and dirty, unwashed laborers pressed up against His Body tocuhing Him and He never pushed anyone away.

        • Sean Perch

          “I came not to call the righteous, but to call sinners.”

    • LM

      It is not that the tongue is sacred, but that Jesus is, and I am not worthy to touch such sacredness. That was how I was catechized. However, Church teaching declares both means of reception to be licit.

    • Dr. Avis

      No one cares!

  • joshua

    You wouldn’t need to remind people to be reverent and bow before communion if we still had altar rails and people knelt to receive communion…

    • Kurt 20008

      ou wouldn’t need to remind people to be reverent and bow before communion if we didn’t have vitamin D added to milk and we all had bad posture.

  • Eric

    I just hard about this article on the radio today, August 5,
    2015. I guess I’m not surprised by the list of graceless rules and Pharisaical expectations. Bondage to the law
    is very sad. Jesus spoke of this when he quoted Isaiah and said “And in vain do
    they worship me, teaching doctrines and commandments of men.” The
    breaking of the moral law (the Ten commandments) continues to run very deep
    too. “But nodding your head or, worse, doing nothing as you
    approach the Great High Priest, King of Kings, and Savior of All Mankind is,
    quite frankly, pretty messed up. Really, we can do better than that. Bow from
    the waist, and do it like you mean it. That is Jesus, Second Person of the
    Trinity, Christ before your eyes, show some respect.” this is painfully
    sad and obviously wrong!

  • Diane

    We were taught by the Nun’s years ago, to think in our mind “This is my body” as Jesus said at the Last Supper. Now the liturgical police are telling us its wrong? So should we be thinking, “This is Your Body?” This is Your blood?”

  • John

    It’s a bow of the head, not the waist, before receiving Communion. GIRM 160.

      • Frank

        That doesn’t address it. The GIRM permits a head bow in the U.S., therefore #4 is incorrectly shown as something one is doing wrong at Mass. It is misleading.
        It can also be troublesome when someone does an unexpected head bow and there’s a near collision when I, as an ordinary minister of the Eucharist, am holding the host or chalice up for their reception. It is not useful to be more Catholic than the Bishops, the Catechism, or the GIRM,

        • LM

          I recall our being told to bow as the person before us is receiving, so as to be prepared when we were in front of the priest, but it does seem to me that the bow would be more appropriate and respectful if we bowed our heads as the host was being held up Otherwise, we’re just bowing to the back of the person in front of us.

  • Maria Byrd

    RE # 7: We ought not leave our good manners, courtesy and civility outside the church.

  • KMC

    It took me years to warm up to accepting communion in my hand; but one day the EM had trouble getting it into my rather small mouth. In fact it bounced off my teeth and onto the floor; she then picked it up and consumed it. I think I turned green; after that, I stuck to receiving in my hand.

    • Kevin McAuley

      I don’t understand your comment. First you say the EM, so I assume you mean Eucharistic minister, but then you say she? A priest can’t be female. There is only one minister of the Eucharist and that is the priest. It is s direct order from the Vatican that emhc’s NOT be called EM. I am shocked and disgusted that no one followed the rubrics of what to do when a host is dropped. Lastly you are scandalizing your faith by saying you receive communion while publicly supporting mortal sin.

      • Kurt 20008

        Kevin, cool your jets.

        • Kevin McAuley

          I am sorry if you find taking communion seriously to be offensive. Maybe a nice “clown mass” would be ok with you, and give you some nice cool jets. Hey why not have some liturgical dance during mass? That will entertain everyone.

          • LM

            You give good explanations, and someone’s bound to think it’s anger motivating you. It’s happened to me, too. It may be that the person accusing you of anger has nothing much of substance to contribute to the discussion of the topic.

          • Kurt 20008

            You prove my point

        • LM

          You give good explanations, and someone’s bound to think it’s anger motivating you. It’s happened to me, too. It may be that the person accusing you of anger has nothing much of substance to contribute to the discussion.

      • Sean Perch

        Kevin, men and women both can be Eucharistic Ministers as they are not the person consecrating the host. You are correct that only a priest can do that, but anyone who has been given permission by the bishop of their diocese or, as most bishops do in today’s busy world, a pastor with the permission of their bishop to grant said permission. And EMs go through training to ensure they do everything in accordance with Church teaching and with the proper decorum and respect due Our Lord’s Living Presence.
        And how did the consumption of the host that fell to the floor not follow the rules? That’s what a priest or EM is supposed to do.
        And while you may be correct about KMC’s avatar displaying the rainbow flag over it representing a scandalous situation, we don’t for a fact know that perhaps she just happens to love rainbows. Only were she to have acted or said something to us demonstrating her support of homosexual lifestyles would it be wrong. Scandal isn’t just about what could be wrong; you have to also out of charity and understanding evaluate other options of a reasonable nature. And I’m saying this when I’ve been labeled by multiple priests as being scrupulous, so ease up just a bit. 🙂

        • I definitely think there are semantic issues hindering communication.

          Technically, “Eucharistic Minister” is a term that is synonymous with priest; only priests are ministers of the Eucharist. The Church does not call those lay people who help in the distribution of the Host “Extraordinary Ministers of the Eucharist” or “Extraordinary Eucharistic Ministers”, as many mistakenly call them. They are officially and only ever to be called “Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion”. Now, some people might think that the difference in terminology is meaningless, but the Church thinks it is meaningful.

        • Kevin McAuley

          Sean, I am sorry but you are factually wrong. Only a priest can be a Eucharistic Minister. What you are talking about is an EXTRAORDINARY MINISTER OF HOLY COMMUNION> they are not the same thing. See the redemptionis sacramentum at

          The rubrics for dealing with a dropped host are quite involved and include washing the spot with holy water after careful inspection to obtain every crumb, and after the water used to clean it is only to be disposed of in the sacrarium. The fact that no one was even dismayed that it fell was shocking, and that it was treated so casually is disturbing.

          The avatar is widely recognized as a facebook action in support of gay “marriage”, if she was truly just a lover or rainbows, she is being intentionally naïve, and her public actions still cause scandal as it IS a public statement of support. As bishop Vigneron of Detroit recently stated, those who publicly support gay “marriage” should not present themselves for communion.

          I agree if there were a reasonable expectation she was not supporting it, it would not be scandalous, but there isn’t.

          EMHC’s btw are only supposed to be used in EXTRAORDINARY cases. It specifically outlines they are ONLY to be used in cases where the crowd would be overwhelmingly large. Not a common problem in most north American churches these days sadly – [158.] Indeed, the extraordinary minister of Holy Communion may administer Communion only when the Priest and Deacon are lacking, when the Priest is prevented by weakness or advanced age or some other genuine reason, or when the number of faithful coming to Communion is so great that the very celebration of Mass would be unduly prolonged.[259] This, however, is to be understood in such a way that a brief prolongation, considering the circumstances and culture of the place, is not at all a sufficient reason.

        • LM

          Sean, all due respect, but as per “Only were she to have acted or said something to us demonstrating her support of homosexual lifestyles would it be wrong.” KMC has done so. She is displaying the rainbow flag which demonstrates her support of the homosexual agenda and so-called gay ‘marriage’, against church teaching which is based on Sacred Scripture. This is what that particular avatar means. Her avatar isn’t the ‘pot of gold’ type of rainbow, but the banner of support for grievous sin.

  • Joseph of Cupertino

    And we wonder why people are abandoning the Church in droves? Maybe our complicated rules, rituals, and expectations drive them away. So do the snooty attitudes of liturgical experts who like to point out all the failures of the congregants to observe those minute details. Jesus spoke in fields, on mountainsides, in boats, and in private homes. I don’t recall reading much in the Bible about any rituals he observed. The guys at the last supper were reclining at table, not lined up like cattle shuffling toward the altar. They received on the hand, not the tongue. I am Catholic and have no problem with our rituals but let’s not make an idol of them.

    Most people in Arizona hold hands during the Our Father. Why is that a problem? We are praying the OUR Father, not the MY Father. It’s a group prayer. Jesus was speaking to a group when he taught it. Holding hands is a sign of solidarity as the body of Christ. Our stuck up attitude is killing the Church. I don’t think Jesus would be too impressed with how rigidly we follow procedure. The Pharisees were great a protocol and Jesus was pretty clear about His opinion of them.

    Maybe we ought to refocus on making the Church a place of welcome and love. A place that actually draws people in to hear the truth proclaimed boldly by priests who care. A place where congregants welcome newcomers with a smile and a hug instead of a frown and a scowl because you didn’t kneel quick enough, got up too soon, or, God forbid, held hands with your family while you prayed. I attend a parish like this and it is a breath of fresh air compared to the ones I have been to before where obnoxious people lecture others on how to follow the rules. Funny, my new parish is thriving while my old one withers away. Perhaps there is a lesson to be learned from that.

    • LM

      As per “Holding hands is a sign of solidarity as the body of Christ”: No, this is a common misconception and a mark of ‘I want it my way religion’ and ‘I’ll do whatever I want.’ Our solidarity, our unity, is in receiving the Body of Christ in the Holy Eucharist. Holding hands distracts from the focus of that true unity. The faithful’s hands are to be folded vertically in prayer when saying the Our Father.

    • Amen. Don’t let your rituals become your idols less you become a pharisee.
      Yes the bible says “So then, brothers, stand firm and hold to the “traditions” that you were taught by us, either by our spoken word or by our letter.” 2 Thessalonians 2:15 BUT the way the church does many things looks NOTHING like the why Christ did things… Follow holy tradition not man made tradition … Look back at he HOLY WORD of GOD if it is not in there, then could be man made. “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.” Romans 12:2

  • teo

    how about trying to stand without your hands shoved into your pockets. I mean… can you say ‘pocket pool’??

  • Kevin McAuley

    It is amazing how many of these would be irrelevant if everyone just attended the EF. After regularly going to a tlm , going to a no feels protestant.

    • smk629

      Kevin – I do not feel Protestant attending the Novus Ordo Mass at my home parish. As I mentioned above to Denis, it is prayed reverently and beautifully by the priests at my 110+ year old parish. It is truly what I look forward to all week long.
      Respectfully, knowing the TLM is recognized by the Church as is the NO Mass, when I attended a TLM at a neighboring parish, I longed to return to my parish and the NO Mass. I had absolutely no clue what was being said and I could not respond and pray the prayers of the Mass. I have been to NO Mass in non-English speaking countries and could always follow along. Not only that, I found the congregation and priests at TLM parishes cold and unwelcoming (which, granted, could happen anywhere).
      I am sorry you feel Protestant attending Mass in the vernacular, and I am glad you have found a home in the TLM community. We are all members of the one, true Church established by Jesus.
      Pax et bonum – Susan, ofs

  • Kurt 20008

    Well, I’m going to disagree with three of these. 1. “Taking Communion” was the common term in the 19th century and still tends to be the norm among many Orthodox Christians. Nothing wrong with it and rather Old World. 2. If I choose to hold my wife’s hand, it is our business. 3. I stand fairly early before I leave the pew. Actually what is wrong is our frequent practice of ushers admitting people to communion pew by pew. It is improper to do things that draw attention as to who is receiving or not.

    • LM

      I agree with your disagreement about the use of ushers. It is superfluous. Processing to communion does not require a ‘traffic cop’.

  • Tonestaple

    Re #2, I did not know that was the rule, about the Host being placed back in the Tabernacle. I have just been kneeling and saying Thank You when I get back to my pew and when the priest starts the final blessing, I get up. Good to know.

    Re #7, babies and toddlers are my downfall. Sooner or later I get distracted by some baby make those adorable baby noises or doing something that you just know makes mom or dad want to hide under the pew but that I find completely and totally precious. I love having kids in mass.

    Re #10, I didn’t even try going to mass until my first RCIA class when someone asked me if I had gone yet. She got me through it and we went at the same time usually, after RCIA, until I felt secure enough to go on my own. I think it might be nice if churches had a team of people available that ushers could direct new folks to, who would help the new folks get through mass. It’s very intimidating if you’re a total newbie, especially one whose only background was fundamentalist and very low church.

    • going

      there are MANY things most Catholics don’t know about their own faith – we were not trained/informed/taught very well starting in the 60s. Liberalism has taken over the church in many ways…
      We are NOT supposed to hold our hands up when the Priest does either – Catholics must CONSTANTLY read and inform THEMSELVES about the holiness of the Mass and find out for themselves what is the proper form for behavior at Mass – the Priests cannot give the lesson from the pulpit…you need to ASK and READ…and realize because a political or famous person claims to be Catholic does NOT mean they ARE behaving, ACTING, OR politically practicing their faith!!! RE the many :practicing” Catholics in government who TOTALLY support abortion and other liberal non-christian stands…

      • Tonestaple

        You know, I always thought that “holding up hands” thing looked really weird when Protestants did it – it became a “thing” long after I quit going to church – I thought it looked like you were hoping your hands would act as antennae to attract, I don’t know, lightning from the Holy Spirit. Anyway, I asked about that in one of my first RCIA classes and was told that beyond praying hands and a sign of the cross, the congregation doesn’t do gestures. I live in fear of the day that I will find myself at a church that holds hands for the Our Father. I don’t hold hands. I’m not 3.

  • rowan

    wtf is your problem? why the fuck do you care where people sit? maybe they have an anxiety disorder or ptsd and they DO need an escape route. judge not lest ye be judged.

    • Marion (Máel Mhuire)

      The crudity of the above comment aside, I would like to point out that there are Catholics – myself included – who find large gatherings of people in comparatively small spaces, even in church, to be extremely uncomfortable. Some sort of claustrophobia / agoraphobia, I suppose.

      So airports, concert venues, operas, theatres, sports arenas, train stations, shopping malls, fairgrounds, busy museums, full classrooms, full offices, and full auditoria we try to either avoid, or if we can’t avoid, try to get hold of at least a couple of belts of whiskey or vodka ahead of hand. This applies even to church.

      We secretly love it when there’s a snowstorm or other inclement weather. It’s not that we want others to not be able to make it to Mass, it’s that we know that the usual packed-in-like-sardines experience awaiting us most Sundays, won’t be the case. A sparsely occupied church or library or shop or store . . . ah, like coming upon a fresh, cool lake in the desert!

      Sitting on an aisle seat in a back pew means that two of the four zones around me won’t be chock-full of people, which means I will suffer only half as much as I would if I sat in the middle of the church. And forcing myself to sit in the middle of the church to see if I can stand it, which I’ve tried, means spending the hour silently reciting the multiplication tables to myself over and over to keep from bolting, and checking my watch every 15 seconds.

      Not many people get it about us agora- / claustrophobia sufferers. It’s a real disability, and very painful.

      • Your sufferings are respected, Marion. That something is the norm and appropriate for the able doesn’t negate that some are unable. And, in point of fact, your case provides another reason why people ought not sit in the back, without serious reason. If everyone spreads out needlessly, than folks like yourself have a more difficult experience.

  • Denis Saint Paris

    Those were all just to painful. All 20…
    These are all a non-issue in the Latin Mass, which is the true and proper Mass within the Roman Rite.
    Why pretend to be Catholic with this Luther-inspired parody of a mass, when you can have the Real Thing?

    How long, O Lord, how long?

    • smk629

      Denis – The Novus Ordo Mass is also the true and proper Mass within the Roman (Latin) Rite. It is certainly not Luther-inspired nor a parody, and it is most definitely the Real Thing. At my parish, the Mass (Novus Ordo) is celebrated most reverently and beautifully, for which I am endlessly grateful. I also attended Mass at old Yankee Stadium when Pope Benedict visited America. His Holiness prayed the Novus Ordo Mass. Make no mistake. It was absolutely, without a doubt, the true and proper Mass.
      I find your disrespect and irreverence of the Novus Ordo Mass painful and horrifying. I have a great deal of reverence for the Traditional Latin Mass. Both are recognized and approved by the Vatican. Please educate yourself on this and cease to publicize such scandalous and disgraceful opinions.
      Pax et bonum, and God bless you – Susan, osf

  • Re: #10, the answer is that I’ve been a Catholic since March, so heck yes I am looking around at more experienced Catholics for all my cues. I’ve attended weekday Mass a few times where I was the only person there up until about 3 minutes before the start, and I was petrified that I’d not have anybody to follow. Maybe it’s time for “Mass rehearsal” at home just in case?

  • eddie too

    how about thinking the best about everyone who is there and leaving them at that. governing ourselves is a great idea and living up to our own standards is also a good idea.

  • going

    Hoosier – it is SAD to say that proper respect to the Lord is “nagging” and in an age when little respect is shown to anyone, at LEAST Catholics should show respect – RESPECT to the Lord while in front of Him…the other things I notice which is HORRIFIC in church is…playing on cell phones, talking about going to eat, discussing relatives & problems to others, allowing children to play, jump on seats PRIOR and DURING communion, sleeping, being disrespectful when entering church before Mass and talking instead of preparing or ALLOWING others to prepare for Mass…if you want to talk – do it BEFORE you come in to the church…these have nothing to do with the actual Mass BUT THE RESPECT CHRIST DESERVES – AND HAS EARNED – FAR OUT WEIGH THE GOSSIPING, PLAYING, AND USE OF CELL PHONES…Just as you wouldn’t do these things in front of the POTUS – SURELY do NOT do them in front of GOD during MASS!!! PAY ATTENTION to where you are!!!

  • cececole

    Re#4 Your “Bow from the waist” advice is wrong. It is a bow of the head not from the waist: When receiving Holy Communion, the communicant bows his head before the sacrament as a gesture of reverence and receives the body of the Lord from the minister. The consecrated host may be received either on the tongue or in the hand, at the discretion of each communicant. When Holy Communion is received under both kinds, the sign of reverence is also made before receiving the precious blood. (GIRM 160)

  • ready1923

    I was surprised that one of my biggest issues didn’t make it to either of your lists…The people who use the Sign of Peace as an opportunity to show off their “royal wave”. They stand in the pew, pivot 360 degrees and wave to everyone in the church. I’ve even seen a priest or two do it. Makes me crazy!

  • Larry Bud

    These articles are pretty annoying. They’re not even technically correct. For example, there is no rule about how long one must kneel after communion. Some parishes seem to think “till the tabernacle closes”, others “till the priest sits”. I was raised with no guideline at all, so I sit whenever I’m done praying. And that never worried me until I read this opinionated article. Oh, my.

  • crisleem

    #6. be careful. The WORLD can read this. And only a tiny handful of countries are allowed to receive in the hand. Just like us Americans to write as if we are the entire world. yes, we have that indult but most don’t. I feel like the church thinks we are so stupid that we couldn’t be taught to correct that error…and it was done in error…so they gave us special permission…because we’re so ‘special’ we can learn!

  • steve laflamme

    David- As much as I would like to see genuflections and profound bows by the person who is next in line to receive Holy Communion, you are incorrect in number 4 above. The GIRM clearly states in #160: “When receiving Holy Communion, the communicant bows his or her head before the Sacrament as a gesture of reverence and receives the Body of the Lord from the minister.” Sorry, but your angst is misplaced here.

    • Thanks for the comment.
      I am aware of that text.

      Do you think the prefect of the Vatican’s Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments also knows what the GIRM says?

    • Thanks for the comment, Steve. I am aware of that text.

      Do you think that prefect of the Vatican’s Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments is also aware of it?

      • steve laflamme

        Yes, I think that they are since they gave the GIRM it’s recognitio, but I am guess I am not sure what the thrust of your question is…

        • A few years ago, the prefect of the Vatican’s Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, Cardinal Antonio Cañizares Llovera, said, “if one receives while standing, a genuflection or profound bow should be made, and this is not happening.”

          Thus, I would say that while the direct reading of the text seems to present a head-bow as appropriate, the understanding of the Cardinal is indicative of a proper reading. You may disagree, but I;m sticking with the guy who is far more fit to answer this question than either of us.

          • steve laflamme

            That’s great, and I am all for it. But a private reply by the Prefect of a Congregation does not canonically or liturgically hold the same weight as the General Instruction of the Roman Missal. I hope that perhaps they will change the rubrics. For now, the law of the Church is the law of the Church.

  • Carol Goodson

    I am so glad to hear that holding hands during the Our Father is not appropriate. I have always hated it, and when people reach for my hand I pretend not to notice. It seems so Protestant to me, LOL–and I wish people would stop. I also see many in the Orans position, and I thought maybe I was just out-of-date and didn’t know I should be doing it… so thank you for that, also!

  • Ronky

    #11. Saying all the prayers and responses faster than everybody else so that you finish every phrase or sentence several syllables before they do. Because that proves how much better a Catholic you are becuse you know the words off by heart without having to think about them, right?
    Wrong!. It’s not a race! You’re supposed to think about what you’re saying, and we’re supposed to pray as one body. If a large group of people is speaking together they naturally speak slower than normal because of the time it takes for the sound to travel.

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