Under another entry commenter "Allan" posted the following, which is worthy of consideration on its own. My emphases and comments.
I’ve been wondering where to post this, but under the theme of “brick by brick” I think there’s a lesson here in not undoing the foundation by pulling out the bricks. [Right. Sometimes people, perhaps in their zeal, harm their causes.]
I took my 14 year old son to his first EF Mass on Easter Sunday. [You know the old phrase about how many chances we have to make a first impression, right?] We sat off by ourselves and were engaged in a quiet pre-Mass discussion (whispers) about the divinity of Christ (14 year olds have a lot of questions, and parents take these opportunities as they come given teenage attention spans).
Well, from long across the church this lady approaches us, speaks directly to my son telling him to “Shhhh!” and hands him a pre-printed card telling the reader it is inappropriate to talk in church and to “Be quiet!” [Wow…. I would be tempted to buy a couple of cases of those, actually. But this delivery was not very well thought through.] Now this lady was nowhere near enough to have actually been able to hear us talking, but clearly lived for the opportunity to hand out these cards and assume control of the church and the people in it. Not exactly a “welcoming” atmosphere.
I explained to my son afterwards that:
1) As his father, it’s my standards of public deportment he needs to worry about, not what some stranger in a church thinks
2) This person was not speaking on behalf of anyone in authority (i.e. was not clergy, a rector, etc.)
3) There was nothing inappropriate about the topic or quiet nature of our conversation
4) One person does not a congregation make: there were a great many people there (well, not too many) who did not (apparently) take exception to us, and the whole congregation should not be judged by the actions of one old lady
I think we should be careful not to remove any bricks during the construction. IMO.
There are a lot of good points to discuss here, so long as you are very careful and really think about what you are tempted to post as a comment.
I have been attending Mass with my ex-girlfriend since before she was my ex. My first few times, I had no idea what was going to occur, and so I had questions; I made certain to ask them at times, and volumes, that would not disrupt those around me. However, if I had been treated as the poor child was, given a card and rudely shushed, when I was trying to gain a greater appreciation for what I was witnessing- I would have walked out then and there, and likely not returned. I would not have had the chance for salvation I do now; the holier-than-thou (I believe the term appropriate here) woman would have chased me away from everything. If your prayers, meditation, and faith is such a shaky thing that a potential/recent convert attempting to learn more about the faith they are approaching can disrupt it… does the problem really lie with them?