Oftentimes, we see or hear about people applauding others during or at the end of Mass.

Whether it be for the priest after a homily, for a cantor, or even for the choir after the liturgy concludes–is this okay?

Many have opinions regarding this, but over the years, various popes provided their thoughts on the matter.

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Before he became Pope Benedict XVI, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger wrote this in the 2000 publication of "The Spirit of the Liturgy":

“Wherever applause breaks out in the liturgy because of some human achievement, it is a sure sign that the essence of liturgy has totally disappeared and been replaced by a kind of religious entertainment. Such attraction fades quickly – it cannot compete in the market of leisure pursuits, incorporating as it increasingly does various forms of religious titillation.”

(The Spirit of the Liturgy

Other popes have also added their input on the subject, including Pope Saint John XXIII and Pope Saint Pius X.

As the faithful waited for Pope Saint John XXIII’s arrival at a church outside of Rome, he said, “I am very glad to have come here. But if I must express a wish, it is that in church you not shout out, that you not clap your hands, and that you not greet even the Pope, because ‘templum Dei, templum Dei.’ (‘The temple of God is the temple of God.’)"

Pope Saint Pius X said, “It is not fitting that the servant should be applauded in his Master’s house.”

Former Catholic Answers chaplain Father Vincent Serpa, O.P., also provided his opinion on an episode of Catholic Answers.

Click here if you cannot see the video above.

“Is it appropriate to applaud for the choir after Mass? Is this an approved practice?” the caller asks.

Father Serpa said, “Absolutely not. It’s most inappropriate and it’s the responsibility of the pastor to make sure that the congregation understands this. The choir is not singing as a matter of entertaining anybody. They’re singing to worship God. We don’t clap for prayer. We pray.”

“Again, that is not an option. If we were someplace else it would be a different matter," he continues. "But liturgy is liturgy. It’s the worship of God, and it needs to be done in an appropriate way as the Church sees fit. It’s good that they appreciate the choir, but they can thank them outside. Applause is not appropriate at that time.”

“There are times when that’s called for, as in the ordination ceremony when you are asked to give the response to the worthiness of the candidate for ordination. But this isn’t that. This is something else," Father Vincent adds. "You don’t clap at the end of Mass because you had a good time. That’s not what it’s about.”

However, while the popes, priests, and the faithful provide their input on applauding at Mass, there is no official Church teaching on the subject.

What do you think? Is applauding at Mass appropriate?

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