I ask this question because of an incident that happened yesterday. I go to a Catholic church -- not because I'm particularly "Catholic" (I was born Catholic but have studied other religious traditions, including Christian Science and Judaism), but because I find the services restful. Anyway, yesterday there was a new soloist (singer) at the church -- a young guy, and he seemed to be in charge of the choir that day. As you may know, Catholic services start with a hymn accompanying the procession of the priest down the main aisle of the church. Well, yesterday the new choir guy made a mistake and began the service too early. By this I mean he began the opening hymn before the priest, alter boys, etc. were assembled at the back of the church for their procession; as a result, they were forced to enter through the side door instead and process down a short side aisle. In other words, the Mass got off to rather an unorthodox start.
Well, the priest was obviously very annoyed at this; throughout the Mass he shot angry looks over at the new choir guy and delivered most of the service in an abrupt, irritated tone of voice.
I almost expected him to say something during the sermon, or homily. But as it turned out, another priest gave the homily.
However, as we were leaving the church at the end we saw/heard him "dressing down" the new choir guy -- in front of a lot of people.
Now, the question I'm going to ask here is this: should we hold people who proclaim to be religious -- this includes priests, nuns, ministers, rabbis, etc. as well as "ordinary" people who define themselves as religious -- to a higher standard of courtesy than that which we'd hold most people to? I understand that these religious fugures are not perfect simply because they are religious and get angry just like anyone else. But should we expect them to hide their anger more and show more politeness, regardless of how they feel? To set a good example, in other words?
I'm going to venture an opinion. It seems to me that when one goes to church or talks to a clergyman or clergywoman one should have a different experience than one has at, say, work or the grocery store -- and that part of this "difference" should be because people are just more courteous, more patient, etc. than they are in most "everyday" places. In short, people get annoyed at "little" things all the time in everyday life -- shouldn't church, temple, etc. provide a different kind of experience, one of patience?
Or perhaps I'm being unrealistic?
What do you think?