We are the future. These children we bring are the hope of the Catholic Church. They will be the rears in the seats and the hands that pass the collection baskets. They will become its music directors and school principles and make up its parish committees. They will become its nuns and deacons and priests and bishops. And saints.
We affirm and believe that Jesus commanded us to bring the little children to him. EVEN though the disciples "spoke sternly to those who brought them." Even though.
We affirm and believe that Pope after Pope after Pope has exhorted families, even families with young children, to attend Mass together.
We shouldn't be relegated to the cry room. We won't be. We get the church.
Recognizing that, for some of the faithful, the presence of children in Mass is an obstacle and a source of suffering, we hereby suggest that all cry rooms be immediately given over to them, as Silent Rooms.
We, with charity and goodwill, hope that they will find in these Silent Rooms the perfect and distraction-free experience of the Mass for which they yearn. We kinda doubt it, since, after all, they'll be bringing their own distraction-prone minds and fallen natures in with them, and in our experience that's where the distraction comes from. But we wish them good luck and all the peace that a child-free environment can bring them.
Therefore, we wish to make abundantly clear that all those who choose not to make use of a Silent Room should expect to worship God in the Mass alongside the following types of people:
- well-behaved children
- children who are having a bad day
- really good parents
- parents who are still learning
- parents who are not doing as good a job as you would do in their situation
- babbling babies
- breastfeeding mothers
- special needs children and adults who can't necessarily sit as still or as quietly as other people
- old people who are still saying the responses from the old translation
Parents bringing their children to Mass in the New Big Church Environment should expect the following:
- to participate in the sacrifice of the Mass to the best of your ability. There are days when you wonder if it's even worth it to come to Mass. It is.
- to teach your children as best you can how to behave properly in Mass. You do your best. That's all you can do.
- to take them out if necessary. But then to just come on right back in once they've settled down. Repeat as often as necessary.
- to feed your babies as often as they require and in the way that suits you best.
- to know that the people who scowled at you and wrote discouraging blog posts about you and your children are safely tucked away in the Silent Room. You don't have to worry about them. So you can go ahead and assume the best of everyone who's left. If people crane their necks to get a look at your baby, it's because they like your baby. If a couple are whispering as you drag your family in just in time for the gospel, it's because they're remembering back when that was them.
This is real. This is the right thing to do. Let's do it.