Clapping in Church

This past Sunday’s bulletin for one of our local parishes contained an article promoting clapping in church. The author stated that applause in church is a way to show unity among the laity (?), that it is a good way to worship God and strengthen our faith. It was also stated that applause has slowly grown in acceptance in our churches. It is interesting that as practices such as this have become more and more accepted, that mass attendance has plummeted along with reverence for Our Lord’s Real Presence in the Blessed Sacrament. There is a story of Pius X being escorted into St. Peter’s Basilica to thunderous applause – the next time he appeared in the Basilica, he ordered that notices be distributed to the faithful that there would be no applause for the servant in the house of the Master. Clapping in church is a relatively new development in the Church and it is among many other things that have contributed to the Protestantization of the liturgy and the Church as a whole.
The Catholic Church is the Church of God – it is a regal, royal, supernatural institution. The Church is evidence that Jesus Christ is alive in Heaven. Why do we want to strip her of the majesty God clothes her with? Why do we insist on introducing words and actions to bring her down into the ordinary realm of human existence? Pope Benedict himself stated in a book he wrote in recent years that as soon as applause breaks out in church, then the spirit of the liturgy has stopped and we have entered a purely human activity. Why would we intentionally do such a thing? The liturgy is our chance to be touched by Almighty God, to worship Him in a way that honors Him and elevates us poor sinners. After being in the muck and mire of the world all week long, the Holy Mass is our precious chance to be in the Presence of, and to be kissed by the Divine Lord Himself. Why do we want to drag the liturgy back down to earth so it seemingly loses its power to transform us?
Our faith in the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist is the source and summit of our faith – without it, we would soon be worshipping false gods and dying a slow death. It is everything to us as Catholics. That faith in the Eucharist should be promoted, protected and cultivated so that it can exert the maximum amount of transformation in our souls. When we clap in church, we create an auditorium atmosphere and a subtle message is sent out: “the mass is no big deal – it’s just another church meeting and that is not really Jesus in the tabernacle” When that happens, we are in deep spiritual trouble. Visit for an excellent pamphlet on clapping in church. God Bless.