Kimberly Hope Belcher blogged here on a lamentable experience of Catholic disinvite. Comments are closed there, but that doesn’t stop me from offering a response here.
I watched one of my fellow parishioners lean over to my friend Tim O’Malley, Director of the Notre Dame Center for Liturgy, and ask him to remove his son from the church because he was disturbing this parishioner’s prayer.
One very appropriate response to a parent in difficulty is to say, “Is there anything I can do to assist?” Otherwise, a liturgical distraction of any kind is an opportunity to make a personal sacrifice. To “offer it up,” as the common parlance once went.
It must be said: the Mass is not (necessarily) a time for personal prayer. It is a public act of worship. It is an act of Jesus Christ directed to the Father. It is not something during which any believer has a right to intervene and suggest someone be removed. It is something into which we have all been invited. So we should take the appropriate attitude as guests and not presume to take the Lord’s own mantle for ourselves.
If a worshiper at Mass is fortunate to find a moment of personal encounter, that is well and good. But it should be emphasized that as the Lord counseled, the primary place for prayer is when we have removed ourselves to our own room and prayed away from others.