Patrick Archbold has a post about silence – or the lack thereof – at parishes today. He speaks of an experience in his own Church where the Bishop subtly, but firmly rebuked the parish for its lack of decorum. He suggested that they move the tabernacle out of a separate chapel and back into the center of the Church, and subsequently things did improve.
Patrick is writing about the chit-chat that goes on before and after Mass, but it seems we could do with a bit more silence during Mass as well. One of the things that bothers me is that no matter the Church, it feels like there must be noise or sound at all times. There are times where I just wish the organist would, pardon the pun, pipe down. There’s music for the offertory, the post Communion, after Mass, etc. Sometimes it feels like the organist is just vamping to make sure that some kind of background music is playing at every second of the Mass, as though people would walk out should there be any silence whatsoever.
One of the beautiful things about the Extraordinary Form is how it permits prayerful silence. This is not necessarily lacking in the new liturgy, but I think Priests and music ministers could be ever mindful to create an atmosphere that encourages silence. Or as Pat Archbold writes,
So to those who still think that cacophony equals community, I say one thing. For the love of God, shut up.