Kids @ Mass

Had to love the topic today of "Kids at Mass." In particular I love the fact that two single dudes and a priest were eschewing the notion of having young kids at Mass. Now I could understand Lino and Lou's opinions about the noises and interruption, but having Father Rob be all in agreement was a bit much. But perhaps I'm transferring my own ire of my home parish on our merry trio.

Let me put Luke 18:15-17 to the side for an instant.

I'm a father of a now 6 year old. My church has a two-pew, tiny cry room which actually serves as a glorified hallway to the door to the women's restroom -- yes, the actual restroom door is part of the cry room. Like any typical cry room, you have people going in there who don't have kids. You also have parishioners going to the restroom during Mass, getting their business done, and then leaving the restroom with the door open. You can imagine the impact on the cry room users.

It gets worse. On one occasion when my son was a year old, we went to Mass, and we sat at about the middle of the church near the aisle, just in case my son decided to act up during Mass. Well, on this occasion he did act up, so I did what any normal dad would do -- get up, take him to the lobby area (because the cry room was full with its usual childless group) until he settled down, and then went back to our seats when my son was not so fussy.

At Communion time, I carried my boy up with me so that I might receive the Eucharist. The presider chided me just before I received Communion with a stern, "Your son is an interruption to the Mass. You shouldn't bring him here. He's ruining Mass for everyone else."

Suffice to say that priest is no longer at our Parish.

I've searched around my area for a Church which was OK with kids at Mass, and to my surprise I found one where kids were not only welcomed but encouraged. As one of the priests said, "Jesus welcomed children, and so do we as a parish."

What's my point? The discussion today on TCGS I thought was way not sympathetic at all to Catholic parents of young children. (How I wish I was at a parish with a Taj Mahal cry room!) Granted, Lino, Lou & one caller freely admitted that they were not parents, and all figured that their opinions might change if they were blessed to be parents one day. I actually called in pretty livid and was ready to give Lino & Co. a Cathy-esque thrashing, but of course the segment was ended with a dude caller semi-humorously decrying kids at Mass.

I think I'm just mad at Fr. Rob for being anti-"kid at Mass." Sigh.

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5 Responses to Kids @ Mass

  1. Lucia says:

    How are children supposed to learn how to behave at Mass if we're not supposed to bring them? I've been taking my daughter to Mass since she was born. Of course she had her bad moments, and like a good parent I immediately took her outside. But I also insisted on teaching her the proper behavior. Now at almost 5 years old, she's pretty darn good (strangely enough, on some of the days that I feel she hasn't been an angel, I've had strangers tell me how good she is). She has learned to love and respect Mass - she even asks me to turn on the Mass in the am on the Catholic Channel when I take her to school.

    Oh, don't even get me started on the "cry room". Note to other parents: just because I'm sitting in the cry room with my child, doesn't mean I want to babysit yours.

    I am so disappointed that "no kids at Mass" is a message that Lino and his entourage want to send.

  2. I don't think that was necessarily the message he wanted to send. I did get that feeling from Fr. Rob (at least, in the way he was responding to the questions).

    I remember telling one of my parish priests that they should take on my then-two-year-old and babysit him for a Mass to experience a fraction of the challenges of child-rearing....

  3. I was glad Lino brought up this subject. There's going to be a lot of opinions based on peoples' experiences. I myself have been through bringing 3 kids to Mass that did not behave like angels.

    I wanted to call into the show but couldn't; what I would have told Lino is that at my current parish, when my kids were small, we had babysitting service that the parish paid for. This worked for us. I'm not going to get into the gory details, but it helped when my kids were older.

    Very often, problems occur when parents don't deal with their children in a timely manner. If a child can't be quieted down, they should be taken out. Some people don't do this. I remember one well meaning lady brought her toddler son to daily Mass, but allowed him to bang a metal truck in the small Mass chapel. That is probably the thing Fr Rob would have a problem with.

    I didn't think Lino was discouraging people from bringing their children at all. Different things work with different people. The lady who called in yesterday and said she just had to snap her fingers to make her kids behave....I ain't her.

  4. Cat says:

    I teach and I deal with 150 children a day and I know that when my school goes on field trips, people comment on how well behaved my students are.

    I agree with Lino.

    The problem is not the children, it is parents, and I have seen parents let their children run wild at mass and it totally ruined the mass experience for me.

    I have absolutely no problem with a brief crying episode where the parents take the child out of the service, but when bad behavior is completely ignored, that is another story. That is what Lino and the priest were refering to and that is completely unacceptable and bad parenting.

    I work with middle school students and the sad thing is when parents do not control their kids at a young age, they are pretty uncontrolable as teenagers.

    I believe children should be brought to mass, but parents have to work hard at home to train them how to act in public and that include churches, airplanes, restaurants, etc. I have a set of expectations for my students of how to behave in public and strong and consistent consequences when they misbehave. This will even work for young children. You practice the quiet game at home with a reward for good behavior for being quiet after a period of time, and then when they go to mass, they are prepared to behave accordingly.

  5. I don't have children, but 1) I'd rather have crying kids at Mass than none at all, and 2) the kids usually can't help it (especially babies) - but adults can *decide* to be distracted. Of course, parents need to take action when a child is persistent and getting out of control. Overall, I find it edifying to see (and hear!) young families actively participating in the faith, even if it means crying babies and fussing toddlers.