Congratulations on Matthew Greene's timely article about irreverence (April AD2000). The following is a positive suggestion for overcoming this.
Display this message on a sign at the entrance to a church:
"Welcome to (name of church or chapel). This sacred place is God's house of prayer and contemplation. Kindly leave your conversations with others outside. We need your prayers! May you uplift our needs with yours to the one who cares, as together we seek the blessings of God's grace. Thank you, and God bless.
For this to be done we need:
* Priests willing to place the above sign (or some equivalent) tastefully and prominently in their churches.
* Sign writers to make these signs for local churches and chapels.
* Parishioners who could finance these signs, willing to make the offer to their parish priests.
* Catholics who dislike having their private prayers (especially before and after Mass) unnecessarily disrupted by others, willing to advertise this proposal as widely as possible.
* Bishops willing to encourage their priests to take up this idea.
Even small children could be taught what a notice like this says. This instruction could accompany their being shown how to bless themselves as they enter and leave the church and to genuflect reverently to Our Blessed Lord in the tabernacle - reinforcing that this does not mean a casual curtsy or bob but, for those who can, the right knee to touch the ground as one acknowledges the real presence of Our Lord in the tabernacle.
Finally, all teachers, parents and other adults would need to set an example.
NAME AND ADDRESS SUPPLIED