No place are declining social graces more glaring than inside a house of worship. Sadly, it is regarded as common place, but whether it be inside a church, temple, synogogue, basilica, cathedral or chapel - inappropriate behavior is not only rude, but irreverent and about as subtle as the parting of the Red Sea.
The Catholic Guy's Lino Rulli has devoted entire radio shows to the topic, and places of worship do their best to remind the faithful through weekly or monthly bulletins, but the word according to the book of decency is still falling on plenty of deaf ears.
This weekend, at the rear of a Catholic church where a newly-installed Bishop was presiding over a Confirmation service, there stood a disinterested family, taking photos on their i-phone, then critiquing their shots. All the while the Celebration of Mass was underway, as jaws dropped and eyeballs rolled.
A few rows up, sat others chewing away their afternoon. Standing along the aisle, still others giggled.
Holy Inappropriateness! What happened to reverence, I wondered? Have people forgotten, or has no one been taught about such basic public behavior? I would have been wacked from here to Dublin with the wooden ruler of Sister Mary Mighty.
Another set of commandments, one reserved for civilized behavior inside a place of worship, is long overdue.
1. Thou Shalt not chew gum. De-clase, no matter how expensive the clothing you are wearing.
2.Thou Shalt not allow children to disrupt. If you didn't bring along small toys for fidgety youngsters, find the crying room, or take the kids outside.
3. Thou Shalt not talk. Whispering is as distracting as giggling.
4. Thou Shalt not use electronic devices, even if you are desperate to get in touch with your maker. If you can't be disconnected for an hour in worship, you belong in the confessional!
5. Thou Shalt not be late. All eyes, ears and intentions should be focused forward, not on the entrance to the venue.
6. Thou Shalt dress appropriately. I know, this is subject to absurd interpretation, but for starters, men, hats off; ladies, if you or anyone else at home thinks you look like a Vegas show girl, cover up.
Remember, too, that even though you may not practice the service's particular faith, common courtesy and consideration of others knows no specific denomination. After all, 'It Manners A lot'!