Silent Mass

In Paul Turner's Blog by Paul Turner

Q: I received this question below from a priest I know.

“Just a question: once a month early morning, we have a silent mass ( the readings are read loudly, as well as the words of consecration; everything else is very low voice) for the brothers to live the Eucharist in a more contemplative way; a couple of people might attend. Do you see a problem?”

I wonder if the people will be able to appropriately respond; I wonder about turning the Mass into a devotional experience. What are your thoughts?


A: This practice does not correspond to the purpose of the liturgy.

See GIRM 34 and 35 for a proper theological understanding of dialogues, acclamations and responses.

See Eucharistiæ Participationem 17 on the priests’ words and actions helping the people form a true community, celebrating the memorial of the Lord.

I could go on, but the point is that the people have a responsibility to participate at Mass, and the priest is responsible to foster that participation—fully, consciously and actively. For those points, see the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy 14 and 11.