Hello, and welcome to St Big Benedict's Church, Westminster, which is I hope a model for churches everywhere. We have had a few problems recently linked to the arrival of new worshippers, mostly from Scotland, so I think it would be helpful for me to explain what is considered to be appropriate conduct during Mass.
St Big Benedict's Church.
1. No clapping in church. We're not happy-clappies you know! The way to signify your approval of a prayer is with a simple "Amen", not a frenzy of clapping and cries of "You really socked it to us there, Father!" If the deacon manages to read the lesson without falling over, there is no need to give him a standing ovation, gifts of flowers, etc. Just act as if it was perfectly normal behaviour.
2. No selfies in church. That includes you, Mhairi Black, you naughty girl! if we let you worship with the grown-ups, rather the attending the under-9s junior church, then you must learn to behave!
We have a naughty step for people like you, Mhairi!
3. No fighting for seats. Poor old Grandad Skinner tells me that he has to come in at 4 a.m. now in order to avoid having his pew taken by our Scottish worshippers; I appreciate that some of you don't realise that he has occupied the same seat for 94 years. Have respect for an old man's wishes - remember. it's row 66, seat 6, that's the number of the Beast of Bolsover. By the way, Grandad, if you could try and stay awake in the service, and stop waking up suddenly with cries of "rubbish!" then we will all be happier.
"... and when I were a lad we 'ad to get up at 3 a.m. to go down t'pew.
4. Dress appropriately! Men should wear trousers, and women skirts, not the other way round! And what was all that nonsense about wearing white roses in Mass? Who do you think you are, Geoff Boycott? Apparently the roses weren't from Scotland, or indeed Yorkshire, but were lovingly grown by slaves in Africa. So what was the point, eh?
5. We are a religious institution. So if I ask you to confess your sins, you do not reply "I deny everything!" Moreover, when the collection bag goes round, put money in, don't take it out. If you have an urgent need for a duck house, you buy with it your own money, not ours!
Fr Bercow, robed for Mass.