09 April 2015

Is golf more sacred than church?

Throughout the city of Rome - and throughout many of the great cities of Europe - you will see signs dissuading people from entering a church while wearing sleeveless shirts, shorts, short skirts, and hats on men. Similar signs also forbid the taking of photographs (with or without flash) and even - sadly necessary - from using cell phones.

Over the years, I've advocated similar signs outside our churches in the United States of America, though I've frequently been counseled (I think wrongly) against it. One day in particular stands out as evidence for the need of such signs.

While I was the Parochial Vicar of St. Anthony of Padua parish in Effingham, a man's cell phone rang in the middle of the consecration of the Precious Body of the Lord Jesus. The man took out the phone, looked to see who was calling, and put the phone away. But then his phone rang again in the middle of the consecration of the Precious Blood of the Lord Jesus. He again took out his phone, looked to see who called, then stepped into the aisle - as I elevated the chalice - answered the phone while still in the nave, and left the church. I've no idea who could have been so important to warrant such blatant disrespect toward our Blessed Lord.

It seems nothing is any longer held as sacred in the U.S.A., except sports and especially golf. And, in the U.K., maybe tennis.

Organizers of the Augusta National have banned cell phones at this weekend's event, and golf fans do not seem to mind:
The historic Georgia golf course's policy is embraced by golfers and fans as part of the it’s mystique and forces people to fellowship more, interact and socialize.

Derek Jensen, from Cedar Rapids, Iowa, told the Associated Press Wednesday that his itch to post and share passed quickly as he and three friends wandered the course.

"It's part of the mystique of this place," said Jeff Nelson of Rockford, Illinois. "Everybody knows there's no phones, so that becomes part of the whole cool thing. It's like we know we can't use the phones. It becomes part of the experience of knowing you're going to have to turn that phone in because you can't have a phone at the Masters."
We can ban cell phones at a golf tournament, but not in a church. It's a very sad direction in which our society is heading.


  1. You asked who could be so important to interrupt the consecration. How about a fireman or obstetrician? Our second child was delivered three minutes after the doctor arrived; I'm glad he didn't wait to answer the phone.

    1. Are there no other firemen or obstetricians? Are their services somehow magically not needed at the Augusta National?

      I know several firemen, policemen, doctors, and others who are "on call." They still attend Mass while on call, but their phones never ring in the church (because they are diligent at putting them on "vibrate") and they would certainly never answer them within the church (they would do so once they stepped outside).

    2. VIBRATE MODE????????????????? HELLO????

  2. An "obligatory" stop to a fundraiser golf outing in which I saw a long list of the club rules about dress led to me writing an article with the same premise. I believe it was published by Homiletic and Pastoral Review in June of 2000.

  3. Vibrate is the compromise... at the beginning of mass at my church whoever is doing the intro announcements gives a reminder about cell phones. and it is well accepted. Now as to the manner of clothing... God would rather have us in church with the clothes we have than not in church because we do not have what others consider appropriate.

    1. I've addressed the question of attire several times:






    2. Barbara, what would you voluntarily wear if invited to Buckingham Palace for a personal audience with the queen? Shouldn't that then be the worst you would dress for an audience with your Heavenly King?

  4. As to the OP: Well, given the number of times we hear God addressed on the links...

  5. Why not just go to a nearby upscale country club, take a picture of their rules, and post them in the vestibule? Who could object?

  6. it's SOOOO frustrating how we can't force 100% of the people to do the right thing 100% of the time.

    of course the ability to do so would virtually eliminate sin, which would eliminate the need for reconciliation. Without need of reconciliation there would be no need of the cross and resurrection. Grace would now be obsolete. with Grace gone, sacraments are now also obsolete-eliminating the priesthood.

    I know that's a silly road to go down, but it does make you think about simple and immediate forgiveness of inadequacy.

  7. Thomas More was once paged during Mass to attend on King Henry VIII. He told the messenger to wait. "When I have completed services toward my Heavenly King, I shall glad see to those of my Earthly."