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When is it appropriate to applaud at Mass?

Full Question

When is it appropriate to applaud at Mass? To do so appears to reduce the Mass to the level of entertainment, but so many people do it nowadays that I’d like to know if the Church has any teaching about it.

Answer

There is no Church document specifying applause as an appropriate liturgical response to music, singing, homilies, or announcements of gratitude by the presider.

Although the Church does not explicitly state that applause is inappropriate at Mass, that may be because such a stricture used to be enforced by Western society. As a matter of traditional Western etiquette, it used to be severely frowned upon to applaud in church because church services are worship offered up to God and not entertainment to be critiqued by the assembly.

Now that society has generally lost the sense that applause is inappropriate in church, I suspect that the Church may soon have to speak on the matter before people take the idea to its logical conclusion and begin to boo when they are insufficiently entertained at Mass.










5 comments

  1. Jose Martinez Reply

    What about clapping as in accompanying a song. Is clapping tolerated or discouraged?

  2. surkiko Reply

    I’m never comfortable with applauding the “choir” which has become almost obligatory at the end of each Mass in a lot of parishes. I feel strongly that we should always be “centering” on Christ and if anything, be applauding the Lord say during the recession. As it is, it seems that the “choir” is getting all the accolade. And this is when the music or singing is not even that great …

  3. aymamibrockway Reply

    The only time I have ever heard anyone applaud is during the announcements at the end of mass and then only when appropriate.

  4. Nora Reply

    We applaud after the Mass, not for the choir but as a sign of thanks….gratitude that the Eucharistic celebration has once again brought us closer to the Lord.

  5. Anna Malatin Reply

    The only Time I have heard anyone clap is after the Priest has lead the went down the isle when the Mass is finished but I don’t think that they need to clap at all the is my opinion .

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