Viewpoint: ChitChat best left elsewhere


I’m not exactly sure when it happened, but at some point in my life I turned into my parents.
I’m not saying that’s a bad thing, only that I didn’t see it coming.
Several weeks ago, my wife and I arrived early for Sunday Mass. We were maybe 15 minutes ahead of time. It was good, I thought, because it offered some time of tranquility and reflection. That is, until I noticed something.
Tranquility would have to wait. From the back, front and side of church, murmuring had turned into chatterboxing. Laughter, conversation, idle yakking began to build to the point I thought I could be at a Phillies game. As much as I like baseball, this was a time for church.
I must have looked like I swallowed a lemon. My wife and I have been together long enough that she can tell by the look on my face when I have something on my mind. She gave me that look of “What’s wrong?”
Of course, that required me to add to what at that point had risen to cacophony.
“Listen to how loud it is in here,” I whispered. She may have rolled her eyes.
This ties back to the part about me turning into my parents. Talking in church is the sort of thing they would have heartily discouraged.
I mention this because my observation is reinforced by a recent message from Pope Francis, who reminded us that Mass is the highest form of prayer and not an appropriate moment for small talk.
“ChitChat” is how Pope Francis described the distraction and it is completely on-point. “Silence is so important,” he said. “We are not going to a show. Silence prepares us and accompanies us.”
And it is so rare in our always-plugged-in world of constant distraction.
So, there it is. Further proof that I have followed my parents into the old school, although being respectful and reflective should really not be considered old-fashioned.
Now if we can address the topic of altar servers wearing sneakers to church …
No, I’ll save that one.
I can feel the eye roll from here.
Owens is the editor and general manger of The Dialog.