That’s the question Peggy Steinfels posed in a post-Passion Sunday post over at dotCommonweal. She was casting about for fellow curmudgeons, but found surprisingly few despite her set-up:
Every year I forget that half the church is full of people who don’t otherwise go to Mass, and every year I forget that they will be there.
Our pastor welcomed them all, as he should have, at the end of Mass encouraging them to come more often…and of course they will on Holy Thursday and Easter… maybe Good Friday and next Christmas.
So what’s the problem? Or what’s my problem? They don’t know what to do or how to behave. Why are they there?
So in a spirit of self-discipline and educating myself, two inquiries.
1. Observations from or about people who only go to church on “high” holydays. Why?
2. Observations from those who go all the time and have figured out what to do about the seldom-comers. Pray for them? Scowl at them when talking, carrying on, sitting so you can’t kneel? ETC.? Admonish them? Welcome them? Go to an unpopulated church? Stay home?
The post generated a number of interesting responses, but relatively few curmudgeons–though the complaints about noisy kids hit home. My daughter is 3-1/2 and I’m astonished at how I’ve become (at least I think) one of “those” parents who has to take their kid out to the vestibule, though not soon enough for many around me. Makes for a helluva mass-going experience.