As the Modernist revolution continues to take its toll on every facet of Roman Catholic life and its institutions one of the most visible results is the "desacralization" or lack of reverence within the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. Our act of worship has become so secular and worldly that the common person in the pew has lost all sense of piety and respect for the very house of God. It has become more like a meeting hall than a place to adore God.
I can remember that, when I was young, going into a Catholic church created such an overpowering sense of reverence and awe in me that even now I can hardly express it in words. This was the very house of God, and Jesus dwelt there both spiritually and physically in the Blessed Sacrament. The very atmosphere within the church lent itself to a sacred silence that permeated everything. To speak loudly or of anything mundane was beyond comprehension. This was a place where God dwelt and our attitude corresponded accordingly. Now one could argue that this attitude was one created by the knowledge I had of these sacred realities, but in actual fact I found that it was not only Catholics who had this feeling but anyone who walked into a Catholic church. I remember bringing my Protestant friends to my parish church when I was a boy and they would always describe the same feeling; the same awed sense of silence. They often said they felt a Presence which they couldn't describe. How wonderful those days were in my youth when God was God and men were men and we knew the difference.
Recently, I've noticed something that has been happening with greater frequency. Before and after Mass people are speaking to each other without any regard to their being in the House of God. Again this "meeting hall mentality" has permeated everything within the Church. And why not? The Modernists have siezed positions of power within the Church in order to do exactly what they have accomplished. By making the Mass as worldly, common and banal as the rest of secular society they have effectively removed God from our act of worship and the end result is that we are really only worshipping ourselves. Since the transcendant God has been removed, if not by words then by action, why not speak and act like you're in a meeting hall?
Now here is the reality. Despite what the Modernists have done to desacralize our religion, in truth God is still God and our local parish is still, in most cases, the House of God. Jesus is still present in the Tabernacle as the Blessed Sacrament and unless the Modernists have completed their agenda in your parish He is still within the church and hasn't yet been relegated to some secluded spot outside the main building. Since, for the most part, the Catholic parishes in the United States are still Catholic and Jesus is really present in them, it is up to us as individuals to create our own sense of reverence and piety. We must teach others to do the same if not by our words at least by our example. We must teach our children to have a proper sense of respect and reverence for Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament and for the very House of God.
I will never forget when I was about 20 years old I went to daily Mass at a church in southern California. One day three boys around 9, 10 and 12 years of age came into the church. They went a few pews just ahead of me. Before they entered the pew each one made a full genuflection and reverently made the sign of the cross. Not too slowly and not too quickly but with reverence and respect. They demonstrated that they really knew where they were and Whose presence they were in. Their act so impressed me that I have always been keenly aware of how I genuflect ever since.
Keep a sense of silence and an attitude of prayerful reflection when you enter any Catholic church. If you find that others are talking and making it impossible for you to maintain this sense of prayer then charitably and respectfully let them know that you are trying to pray and ask if they could they possibly take their conversation outside. I am sure that if they are reminded of where they are your simple request will not be resented but appreciated in the long run. We have the right to pray peacefully in the House of God. It was made for this purpose and not for the purpose of blah,blah, blah.
When Jesus went to Jerusalem and saw the money changers in the temple making a mockery of His Father's house He took some rope, made a whip, and began to beat them, driving them out of His temple. In His anger He proclaimed, "It is written, 'My House shall be called a house of prayer!' but you have made it a den of thieves." It seems to me if He came into most parishes these days after a Sunday Mass, He might again drive everyone out of the church; only this time He would say "My House shall be called a house of prayer but you have made it a house of babel!" Only we, dear reader, can change these things but in order to do so it must first start within us.