I'm curious to get the input from others in Catholic Dads-Land on the subject of cry rooms in churches.
Which of the following most accurately reflects your attitude toward cry rooms?
- (a) Cry rooms are an abomination before the Lord.
- (b) Cry rooms are a pretty neat idea.
- (c) Meh. I don't have an opinion.
- (d) Other: __________________________________________.
Personally, I am incurably in the (a) camp: Cry rooms are an abomination before the Lord.
The idea that a parish would tacitly — or, in some (many?) cases, not so tacitly — encourage families with young children to physically isolate themselves from the rest of the congregation seems rather inimical to the Faith (cf. Mark 10:13-15).
I recently read an article about a Chicago priest, Father Matt Foley,* who has volunteered to serve as an Army chaplain in Iraq, and how his parishioners at St. Agnes of Bohemia, to whom he has greatly endeared himself, will miss him.
The article notes made it known at the parish "how he enjoyed hearing babies cry during mass because they sounded full of life."
Now, I'm not saying that if any of our issue are throwing a tantrum or screaming bloody murder during Mass that we shouldn't bring them to the back of church for a time until they calm down.
But this to me seems markedly different from the idea that a church should have an entire room set aside for purposes of segregating families with young children from the rest of the congregation.
* (As a footnote, this article confirmed something I had heard several years ago about the aforesaid priest, Father Matt Foley, from someone I knew who used to teach at his parish's grade school: "Up through college, Foley was a troublemaker, a partyer. As a political science major at Marquette University, he played rugby with fellow student and soon-to-be-famous comedian Chris Farley, known for his life of excess. Farley, who died in 1997, named one of his most revered 'Saturday Night Live' characters, a bumbling motivational speaker, after Foley.")