US Catholic Faith in Real Life

Primary tabs


Thank you for taking the time to take this month's poll.

In this month's Sounding Board, Heidi Schlumpf argues that parishioners ought to give parents with less-than-perfect kids a break—and a helping hand. Are children at church a gift from God or a distraction? Tell us what you think:

Please take our entire survey on kids at Mass.

The results will appear in the August 2011 issue of U.S. Catholic. Order your copy today!

Take other polls here.


Submitted by James (not verified) on

We attend Mass to worship God and pray. We have cry rooms for children not old enough to understand what they are at Mass for, or their parents have not explained the Mass.
I look forward to the revised changes in the Mass.
No more dancing girls etc......

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on

People who can't stand noisy fidgitty kids at mass should attend mass at a Catholic retirement home. Most have chapels and regular masses. Some of the congregation are hugging teddy bears but it's been a long time since they were kids.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on

We do not have a cry room at my church. There is no room in its tiny structure for such a frivolity. Babies are welcomed at our church. There is a nice changing table in the unisex lav. We would much rather deal with the crying and playing than not have the parents there. Eventually the children learn how to act.

By the way, I thought that the new translation was just that a new translation. I didn't know it had anything to do with dancing girls. Of course, my church never had dancing girls, so nothing will be missed.

Submitted by Lillian (not verified) on

This is a long running topic; if the parent(s) properly prepare their children with the things necessary to keep them occupied that should allow for their attendance. And if the children act up the parents need to remove them from the congregation.

As a mother of six I NEVER used a 'cry room' due to the poor example of some parents, 1. who used it as a play room, and/or 2. spilled Cheerios or other messy food. I went to some daily Lenten Masses with 3 under 5 yrs who thankfully behaved.
Their father and I went to a separate mass on Sundays to spare very young ones from crowded situations. Was there anything more maddening than to see parents distractfully playing with their babies, as though they'd never seen them before.. and obviously paying little or no attention to the celebration.

Submitted by Suzanne (not verified) on

When infants are baptized we the congregation are called upon to help the parents raise their children in the faith. To my mind, that includes putting up with crying babies, fussy toddlers, terminally bored teens, and kids at those stages where they're actually excited about church even if they don't always behave appropriately. After all, they're family, and good families accept the kids, they don't relegate them to a different room. How else are they going to learn appropriate behavior?

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on

I think parents should evaluate their children's behavior. Some kids are just quiet kids and do very well at Mass. Others need wiggle room and a place to vocalize. Our parish has a nursery that is for kids so parents can go to Mass in peace. I know when we lived in various places and my guys were little I took advantage of nursery services. It was so great to have an hour to myself to really focus on the Mass. It was the boost I needed and I know the people who would have been around my little wigglers unknowingly appreciated our attention to others and their possibly one chance a week for Mass.f

Submitted by Polish Grandfat... (not verified) on

I am one of those who loves to see children at Mass, especially the very young. Their smiling inquisitive looks remind me of the joy in all of God's creations. Yes, they may be noisy at times. If it persists, most parents take a time out! If their joy in the presence of the Lord bothers you, you are not paying attention.

When raising my own, we sat up front so they could see what is going on. From that beginning they always went to Mass with no questions asked and no behavior issues. Today they still go to church. If you do not start them when they are very young, when do you suggest they start and fully develop their faith?

Besides, I have found the young and restless to be the best teachers of true faith. Have you ever tried to answer the questions of a four year old? I quote from my grandchildren: Deacon, where is baby Jesus? Father, why were they so mean to Jesus? (That was upon closely seeing the giant and bloody crucifix at the church main entrance.) Do they know they should be quiet in church? How bout as the homily was concluding, a small toy truck falls out of a pocket and rolls across the floor to the foot of the alter: Oops!

I attended a Catholic Church where the pastor was very pro-life and showed it by taking a stand.
Mass is not the time for us to have me/God time but rather it is a time for community--all the community. Since we are a pro-life Church, babies are very welcomed. Eucharist is a very community orientated sacrament. The first one had thirteen people (at least) and who's to say (since the Apostles were married except for one) there weren't some children there. Children do play a part in the Passover meal.
This pastor did have a "cry room" but he renamed it the "Adults with problems room" and invited any adults who had problems with the noise to attend in that room. Of course you couldn't hear the Mass either. You could have good me/God time.

Submitted by Paulo (not verified) on

As a child psychologist I know parents spend every second of their time with infants and toddlers teaching them to talk, interact and develop. Some at Mass then expect the good parents to demand the infant, toddler, child of God to not make their parent happy by communicating. I'm the side of the parent who is a positive interactor with their child and a good teacher of language and religious practices (attending mass). It is good developmental psychology and a good prolife position.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on

tend to be older ones who had their own kids in the day when corporal punishment was used regularly to control kids. Many are probably thinking, "What's wrong with those parents? Why do they allow their kids to run wild like that? Why don't they do like we did, tell them they'll get a spanking at home if they don't behave?" I really think that's a big part of it. The old folks think the kids should be spanked for "acting up". It's what they did with their kids.