Tuesday, February 13
From Sir John Ninian Comper, Of the Atmosphere of a Church, 1947
But why should we put children in a corner in their Father's house? I do not think they do so anywhere else. In France and Italy, the children still come in to pray where they will and lay their offerings of flowers where they will. I remember an Epiphany at Siena (in 1888) where, even during the Cathedral High Mass, children were playing below the altar steps, like the cherubs before the throne of the Madonna and Child in pictures of the Renaissance, and much later, I recall standing in a crowd of worshippers at High Mass in Budapest, and seeing a child's balloon with a face painted on it floating above our heads.I recall a Protestant friend who, in response to a crying baby at one of our Masses, remarked on the "family atmosphere" in Catholic liturgy. She explained, "We send our children to Sunday school when they're younger, and when they get to age 7, they don't know what to do with themselves when we let them sit through a full service."
These were instances of freedom within the limits of what destroys the atmosphere of worship.
Expect further quotations from Comper's magisterial essay in the future. There's much food for thought within.