Frank discussions, advice, and opinions from a Catholic Director of Religious Education.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Spirit of Vatican II, Baby!

Have you ever been around a person who takes Vatican II just a little too far? You know who I'm talking about. They're the ones that take "active participation" to a whole new level. Well, I just found out that we have one of those types in our family. Now don't get me wrong, I'm all for "active participation" properly understood. I sing joyfully. Heck, I've even been known to give a vigorous handshake at the sign of peace, but this guy just goes too far. He makes little comments during the homily, distracts other parishioners and, worst of all, insists on talking along with Father at the consecration. I just don't know how my baby became a "Spirit of Vatican II" type.

To be fair, he is only six months old so he might grow out of it. Until that day comes, though, I am facing issues I never really thought about. First off, how loud is too loud? I hear other kids cooing or making little noises at Mass and generally don't care, but for some reason the least sound my child makes seems like a police siren screaming down the aisle. I've been assured it doesn't sound like this to others, but I have my doubts.

Secondly, I didn't know being a father suddenly made you super aware of other people. I used to go to Mass, the happy bachelor (but not nearly as happy as I am married to you, honey), without even giving those around me a second glance. You could have sat next to me in a gorilla costume and I wouldn't have noticed. Now I'm suddenly aware of everyone and guess what? There isn't one Sunday when someone isn't staring at the baby the whole time. Do you know how hard it is to concentrate on the Mass when someone is staring blankly at your baby? I do. Hard. Real hard.

Finally, no, you can't touch the baby. I don't know you and, more to the point, you just got done shaking everyone's hand in a mile radius. It isn't personal, I just think you're a walking bag of germs sent to destroy the fragile immune system baby Eddie has managed to scrape together.

So the next time you see a baby screaming his head off at Mass or distracting parishioners please remember that the parents may not be selfish jerks, but rather literally frozen with the hundred thoughts and worries that come with being a parent. Or they might be jerks. Either way, pray for us!


  1. We have a general rule of thumb for our children: Happy noises are okay; unhappy noises are not okay. Of course, we try to quell the noise either way, but if the two-year-old starts singing "Twinkle Twinkle" we gently remind him to quiet down. If he starts screaming about why he can't run down the aisle then he is quickly escorted out.

  2. What a commentary on the maturity level it takes to conform to the so-called "Spirit of Vatican II"! Soon your six month old will be speaking in tongues, throwing himself on the floor and doing all other shenanigans that are so revered in institutions of higher learning! Give that one a degree in liturgical reform now I say! To say the least, he probably will refuse to kneel for a couple of years more! great post!

  3. As the mother of three, let me assure you that both you and the baby will survive all this.

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  4. We are the people sitting behind you with the two year old who is adept at singing "Yellow Submarine" during the consecration, the three year old who refuses to shake hands with anyone and has occasionally shouted "don't touch me!" during the sign of peace, and the five year old who hisses "shush-it" at any elderly people nearby who might speak to each other...
    I assume this gets better.

  5. I really like the "happy noises" rule. That makes a lot of sense.

    RAnn and anonymous: I sure hope it does get better (and I'm sure it will, but not before getting harder).

    Marissa: You know, I hadn't thought of it that way, but I see your point. More and more I see us all like spoiled children, though. We all want what we want. The (erroneously)extreme "Spirit of Vatican II" people just wear it a little more obviously.