My parish doesn’t clap after Mass, but at the youth mass, the hubbub that comes up at the end can get pretty intense. We’re also the clapping, Sign-Language-ing type. I find that it doesn’t distract from my worship, it adds to it–but I was never raised with the idea of church as a Very Solemn Event, so it isn’t for me. With great <i>importance</i>, yes, and sometimes great weight, but not a time for silence. Different strokes for different folks ” title=”Wink” /> it works for some of us.
Although in some of my research on social conditions in the Middle Ages, I came across fourteenth-century letters from harried bishops informing abbots that their monks could only recieve the Eucharist once a week because they got so excited (and rowdy) in the process that they disturbed the other worshippers. So I gather a lack of quietude at Mass isn’t a particularly recent phenomenon.