June 11, 2012
Anne Marie Babich thinks that applause is inappropriate at Mass (WCR Letters, May 21). Most of us prefer silence during religious services.
But there are times when our participation calls for loud expression. The loudest noise and applause I’ve ever heard was during a weekly Wednesday papal audience at the Vatican when Paul VI was being carried overhead by four papal guards.
This was before the popemobile became the norm due to the assassination attempt on John Paul II. The clapping and cheering especially by Italians present, was ear-shattering.
True this was not during a Eucharistic service. But it was in conjunction with the recitation of The Credo that immediately followed, in dozens of languages by visitors from all over the world.
For decades, due to the Mass being in Latin, Catholics were notorious for their apparent lack of participation in the liturgy and hymns during Mass. Also since the birth of Christ it is said that “all the heavens are shouting for joy.”
We should not hold back our enthusiasm and appreciation for musicians. Music is apparently a foretaste of the beatific vision. Of St. Cecilia, it was said, “When to her organ vocal breath was given, an angel heard and straight appeared, mistaking earth for heaven.”
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