Rant with Randi: Bad manners at Mass

By Randi Crawford

Randi Crawford
(Courtesy photo)

It all started Easter morning. This year was a bit strange. For the first time in my “mom” life, our daughter was out of town, and not with us, which was just plain weird. Plus, our kids are teens and don’t want to sit on the Easter Bunny’s lap any more (boo). So there was no Easter egg hunt or family brunch. But one thing that has remained constant on Easter, is that our family goes to Mass. And it’s always very special, springy, and happy. So I couldn’t wait to attend Mass this morning, in keeping with one Easter family tradition.

It was a beautiful morning and the three of us headed to church. Usually, it’s impossible to find parking because it’s such a popular day to attend Mass, so we have to walk a few blocks, but not today. We scored a key parking spot right up front, which felt like a sign that today was already shaping up to be good. I especially love watching all the little girls in their Easter dresses and their moms walking into church. And the little boys are adorable walking in with their hair gel and blue blazers matching their dads and acting grown up. It’s so festive and Spring-y. Easter Mass always puts me in a good mood.

But today, as soon as I walked into the church, I experienced something that immediately put me into a bad mood. When we walked in, the last pew was virtually empty. So you can imagine my surprise when I went to sit down, and a man pointed to an orange scarf (I’m so mad that I didn’t bring my cellphone so I could have taken a picture), and he very abruptly told me that he was saving the entire pew. I thought to myself, that’s pretty rude behavior, but I decided to let it go.

Once we took our seats by friends, it became clear to me that someone was saving the entire pew directly in front of us. Oh no, not again. I was horrified. Shortly after we sat down, a high school-age special needs boy walked over and tried to take a seat. But a woman in the row in front of him looked him in the eye and told him that he couldn’t sit there because it was saved for her whole family. How dare she? I watched as about four more “groups” of people walked over to sit down and were turned away. Sure, send the special-needs kid and the elders to stand in the back? The irony of this situation is that the actual people they were saving the seats for, showed up late and barely even took up half the pew. I’m sorry, but this is so rude and wrong and shouldn’t be allowed.

It’s Easter Sunday Mass. Here’s what I’d like to know from the people saving entire pews: Why are you even there? What prompted you to get up, put on your nice spring clothes, and go to church, if you are going to behave like that? I truly don’t want to be judgmental, but isn’t the whole idea of Easter Sunday and the overall message of the Catholic Church to treat others as you would have them treat you? The people saving seats don’t seem to be following this Golden Rule. Why, on the “holiest” day of the year in the Catholic Church, are people behaving in such an elitist and rude fashion? I don’t think if Jesus showed up at church that morning, he would be happy with this behavior.

When and where along the line have people learned that their needs are greater and more important than society as a whole? What is making everyone so self-important today? John Kennedy once said, “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.” Today, that quote might sound like this: “Ask not what your country can do for you, but what else your country should be doing for you.”

The behavior that I witnessed at Easter Mass is turning into our everyday way of life. I think it’s very sad to watch the evolution of community to self.

What say you? Email me at www.randiccrawford@gmail.com.