I was raised roman catholic for the first 13 years of my life. The rest I spent agnostic of religion after I read the bible. Books like Leviticus made me very upset. Now I heard that this doesn't actually get preached in most churches, and a lot of people call themselves Christian because they believe in certain values rather than believing the bible word for word.

I'm very interested in getting to know how much of what actually gets preached matches with things I believe in. I want to figure that out by going to a couple of masses. From my religious youth I have learned that everyone is welcome in a church, but a lot of things are considered rude, like wearing a hat as a male or not standing or kneeling at the appropriate times (if you're able to).

Now my question is, is it considered impolite or rude in any way if I take notes during preaching? The goal of the notes is being able to study the preaching afterward. Is there any Catholic teaching that would make this wrong or improper?

  • 1
    Welcome Bart! I've edited your question slightly, to make it focus more on Catholic teaching on the subject, since it's possible that cultural differences between countries could impact whether or not this is perceived as rude. Anyway, thanks for asking! If you haven't already done so, I hope you'll take a minute to take the tour and learn how this site is different from others. Aug 17, 2016 at 17:45
  • You may not have to. Several churches record and publish homilies (Archbishop Chaput, who I fondly remember hearing many times in Denver, publishes them here: archphila.org/category/homily). Alternatively, priests are just people, and I'm sure that more than a few would be delighted to directly answer any questions you may have.
    – riwalk
    Aug 17, 2016 at 18:18
  • "Books like Leviticus made me very upset." Catholic teaching is that the ceremonial and judicial precepts of the Old Law no longer bind.
    – Geremia
    Aug 18, 2016 at 2:55
  • Understanding the difficult passages in Leviticus or Deuteronomy, is not for everyone, although, rewarding if the effert is made. The Mass is not the Place for in depth scripture study. There are however many sources available outside the mass. Learning and understanding the Covenants and the Laws given to Isreal by the Angels is fascinating and rewarding. With all things, it takes time and patience. Two things that most people now days have very little of.
    – Marc
    Aug 18, 2016 at 3:24

3 Answers 3


The short answer is “no,” there is no problem if someone takes notes during the homily. (There are no norms regarding this, so there is not much in the way of sources, but anyone who wishes to remember the homily in detail is welcome to take notes.)

  • I might recommend recording the homily and going back to it later; but then again that might also be just my study style. Aug 17, 2016 at 21:14

The short answer is that there is no problem in taking notes at Mass.

In my diocese, the candidates for the sacrament of confirmation are actively encouraged to take notes on a priest's sermon during Mass. Albeit it is for homework assignments throughout the diocese. No one pays attention to it here. I have even seen adults doing it.


Imagine yourself sitting on the frontline and taking notes while the priest is speaking. I bet, not only the faithful surrounding you, but the priest too, will get distracted. The better option would be to recap the homily just after your get our of the church and discuss with your neighbors to ensure that you have not left out any point of discussion. This will also contribute to the participative attitude of your neighbor.

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    As someone who has preached plenty of sermons, I don't think there's any chance of this being distracting. If you look out into the congregation, you will see plenty of people in states other than rapt attention to the message. Someone looking down taking notes would not stand out at all. I doubt anyone else would care either.
    – dan1111
    Aug 18, 2016 at 6:43
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    At least in a Catholic church building, if you are worried about distracting people, you can always sit in the back, where no one will notice you. Disclosure: I preach homilies, and I would not be offended or distracted. Aug 18, 2016 at 7:14
  • In my church (not Catholic) note-taking is encouraged and common, and nobody finds it distracting. Aug 18, 2016 at 13:35

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