A thought about clapping in church
which is an odious custom of modern times. I was reading a story to my daughter the other day, in which a young boy becomes an inspiration in holiness to a monastery on Mt. Athos. One thing struck me: when the monks recognize the greatness of the boy in their midst, they don't clap for him, but sing hymns of praise to God, from whom all gifts come. Note the many times St. Paul encourages his readers to sing psalms, hymns, and canticles. He never says "applaud one another."
There's a reason for this. To clap in church is to clap for each other, to give each other praise. This is the last place in the world where we should be praising each other. Rather, if one among us has done great things, we ought to praise God for the gift. What if, instead of clapping for the various good things we do for each other in our parishes, we sang a hymn of praise? In my church we sing "God grant you many years," and "Axios" at ordinations. Perhaps you Romans out there could learn a Te Deum? Imagine the following scene:
Fr. So-and-so: I'd like to announce that the youth group has sold enough cookies at the bake sale to finance their trip to Washington for the Pro-Life March. Isn't that great?
Congregation: "Te Deum, laudamus. . . "
Fr. So-and-so: The ladies auxilary did a marvelous job cleaning up the church for the parish festival.
Congregation: "Te Dominum confitemur."
Etc. Wouldn't that be marvelous? It would be much better than clapping, since you would be praising the one who really deserves to be praised.