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Boston Catholic Journal  —  Critical Catholic Commentary in the Twilight of Reason







Don’t you not know where you are?
You are at the foot of the Cross with Jesus Christ hanging upon it!
That is why it is called The Most Holy SACRIFICE of the Mass.
And you clap?!!! Seriously?
During and especially after Mass ...

If you applaud at Mass or immediately after Mass, you completely fail to understand where you are and Who is there.

Consider this: somehow you are transported 2022 years ago and you are standing at the very foot of the Cross with Mary, Mary Salome, and the Apostle Saint John. They are weeping inconsolably. The Blood of Christ, dripping from every wound and laceration inflicted upon Him, falls onto the hands of His Mother, Mary. They are devastated …

But you are not. You clap your hands gleefully, applauding the greatest and most gruesome crime in all history. In fact, you are sprightly playing your guitar, banging on your piano, and singing stale and banal songs as Christ is in His agony before you.

This is possible on two accounts, and two accounts only:

  • You do not know, understand, or comprehend where you are.

  • You are not of a sound mind (non compos mentis)

Only under one of these two conditions would you applaud in the face of Christ’s crucifixion.

But the reality is this:

• On the Altar (not a Protestant “table”, but an Altar of Sacrifice) during the Canon of the Mass 1 the priest confects and transubstantiates the bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ.

  • Yes! The bread actually becomes Christ’s Body hanging upon the Cross! The wine actually becomes Christ’s Blood, dripping down His Sacred Body from every wound and laceration.

  • Really and truly! — not figuratively. Not symbolically. Not in mere remembrance.

  • It is His wounded flesh and His copious Blood being crucified before you upon that sacred Altar of Sacrifice.


And you applaud???
You should be trembling.
Let us look at this more closely. Most people would agree that applauding during (or after) the execution of a criminal would be — let us say, not in good taste and terribly inappropriate no matter what his crime or number of crimes. Nevertheless, you will witness his execution. In fact, you may be capable of sprightly play your guitar, and/or bang on your piano, and singing utterly banal songs as he is being lethally injected or electrocuted. Even in secular society it would be unacceptable  —  even condemned as outrageous! You would be vilified and ostracized  — as well you should be.

If it is inappropriate to do these things during (or after) the execution of even the vilest criminal — why is it appropriate with Jesus Christ during (or after) Mass. He is Innocens Patri: The Innocent of the Father. Sinless. Blameless.


Should you be clapping your hands? Is this what you are capable of doing in the very Presence of Christ crucified on the Cross?

“Absolutely not. It’s most inappropriate and it’s the responsibility of the pastor to make sure that the congregation understands this. The choir is not singing as a matter of entertaining anybody. They’re singing to worship God. We don’t clap for prayer. We pray”, says Father Vincent Serpa O.P. at Catholic Answers. 2

Pope Benedict XVI was absolutely and unequivocally clear about this:


“Wherever applause breaks out in the liturgy because of some human achievement, it is a sure sign that the essence of liturgy has totally disappeared and been replaced by a kind of religious entertainment.” 2

At my own parish I have witnessed not just the  applause solicited by the priest himself! — who actually encourages this blasphemous and certainly profane response from the congregation, urging them to clap for merely parenthetical figures present during Mass:

  • The choir and the (often miserable) music it produces.

  • A Soloist within the choir.

  • The Cantor

  • The Lectors

  • The Altar “Servers” — mostly girls — the term “Servers” being “correctly” neutral in a nod to a profane genderless and Feminist agendum now popular (indeed, de rigueur), at Masses. The ushers

  • The “Greeters”

  • The Basket Collectors

Where is Christ in the mix?

It is such a profane conclusion (the word “profane” understood as “relating or devoted to that which is not sacred or biblical; secular rather than religious.”) to something sacred — that is to say, the gesture of clapping or applauding is totally secular, mundane, and unrelated to worship. It is, however, completely proper to entertainment

Why this final focus on man, instead of God? All those listed above — wittingly or not — call our attention away from Christ … to themselves. It is noteworthy that in response to the applause heaped upon them, each properly bow in turn … as befits entertainers and their audience — not God and His worshippers.

Lately, I have even begun hearing hoots and whistles from the congregation … and how few remain to give prayerful thanks to God for His sacrifice on Calvary which we have witnessed this day!

How much more can we secularize the Mass? With the whimsical Francis micromanaging the Church, I’m afraid much more …

1 The Canon of the Mass is the most sacred part of the Mass, and it begins with the “Epiclesis” — or the calling down upon the Holy Ghost to transform the bread and wine into the actual Body and Blood of Christ: “Make holy, therefore, these gifts, we pray, by sending down Your Spirit upon them like the dewfall, so that they may become for us the Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ.”, and ends with the final Doxology: “through Him, with Him, and in Him, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, all glory and honor be Yours almighty Father forever and ever. Amen.”

2  &    

3 Joseph Ratzinger Collected Works: Theology of the Liturgy

Geoffrey K. Mondello
Boston Catholic Journal

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