Children at Mass: What is Catholic? By Patricius Anthony TRADITIO Traditional Roman Catholic Internet Site E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, Web: http://www.traditio.com Copyright 2006 P. Anthony. Reproduction prohibited without authorization.
There is a wide variety of factors which have led to the mass exodus of Catholics from Newchurch since the wretched Second Vatican Council: an immoral, corrupt, and criminal ecclesiastical hierarchy, which extends right up to and includes Benedict-Ratzinger and his Conciliar predecessors, a Protestantized worship service, Eucharistic ministresses. The list of blasphemies, scandals, and sacrileges committed by the Novus Ordo could go on and on.
When questioned, those who have left often speak of the decided lack of sacredness that abounds at Newchurch services: from the modernized architecture of Novus Ordo temples and the horrific music (usually augmented by pianos and guitars) played inside, to the babel of vernacular tongues used during services, accompanied by the noisy, meaningless chatter of attendees. These are just some of the egregious features experienced by those senseless enough to attend the Novus Ordo service.
Although the difference between a traditional Catholic Church and a Novus Ordo temple is like night and day, there is one aspect of Newchurch that has, at times, been carried over to traditional sites. This is the presence of loud and noisy children mostly, but not always, infants and toddlers at Mass and other ceremonies. Such behavior is not only discourteous to those who are in attendance, but more importantly, it is an affront to Almighty God and sometimes, if children are unruly enough, a scandal to others. Catholics should remember that each Holy Mass is "equal" in value to the Sacrifice of Calvary. There should be complete silence at this wondrous event with focus at the altar.
This is, of course, not meant as a criticism of children or babies who have no control over themselves; however, those children who are of age and act up do bear a certain amount of responsibility. Nonetheless, it is parents who are to blame if they bring disruptive children or infants to Church.
Parents often compound the problem by taking their children to Holy Communion, most of the time, over their shoulder. Not only is there the possibility that an accident with the Sacred Species may occur, but it is a distraction for those in line behind a parent and child to be faced with a child staring at them as they prepare to receive the Blessed Sacrament. In one East Coast location, this scandalous practice has continued despite the pastor's admonition against it.
In most instances, however, parents are not fully culpable for unmanageable children at Mass. Most are not aware that the Church has always taught that no child under the age of reason is obligated to assist at the Holy Sacrifice. Some fault, in this sense, lies with pastors who do not make this aspect of the Faith known to their congregations.
If there is no special area set off for children (a "crying room") and if a child is not able to sit quietly, then the child is not ready to be brought to church, and it is incumbent on the parents to make other arrangements or stay at home. When adequate accommodations are not available, couples should either attend different Sunday Masses, or, if only one Mass is available, alternate Sundays. It is certainly inconvenient, but many parents take such measures since they would rather be inconvenienced than cause serious inconvenience to others who are trying to worship.
While bringing noisy children to Mass cannot compare in the least to the horrific conduct of Newchurch authorities and presbyters involved in the sex scandals, traditional Catholics should be on guard to avoid even in the slightest manner any inappropriate behavior which could offend Almighty God. The realization that there is no obligation for children under the age of reason to attend Holy Mass will once again demonstrate the seriousness with which traditional Catholics take and practice their precious Faith.