Whenever applause breaks out in the liturgy because of some human achievement, it is a sure sign that the essence of the liturgy has totally disappeared and been replaced by a kind of religious entertainment.
The above words were penned by our Holy Father Pope Benedict the XVI, (then Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger) on p. 198 of his book entitled The Spirit of the Liturgy. I first read this book before our Holy Father became pope. The book did three things to me. First, it made me acutely aware that there was much about the meaning of the liturgy to which I was blind. Second, it deepened my love for the liturgy. Third, it put me in conflict with respect to how I needed to approach Mass. One area of conflict was in clapping at Mass.
Having read Cardinal Ratzinger’s words on clapping, I wondered how I could continue to clap at Mass in good conscience. As one who has been to Masses where there was clapping for just about everyone, from musicians, lectors, altar servers and church decorators to priests giving homilies and lay people giving testimonies, I began to wonder why we clap at Mass at all.
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Via the AmericanPapist