Joshua Judges Ruth: Baby receives gifts of tongues at Mass, causes controversy


A babble was heard at the back of the Christ the King Chapel during the 12:30 p.m. Sunday Mass.

The spiritual gift of tongues, which can be traced to Pentecost in Acts 2, is a phenomenon frequently experienced by Christians seeking to grow in charisms. The gift is bestowed for a twofold purpose: worship of God and an interpretation of the words so that others may understand a truth about God.

“I first thought it was a tongue of praise when it was making a sort of gurgling sound really softly,” said junior Isabel Roussin. “When he started shouting during the consecration, that really confirmed that he knew Jesus was present and was adoring him the best way he knows how.”

There was a member of the congregation who could offer an interpretation, and she happened to be the child’s mother.

“He’s trying to say he needs a diaper change,” said the mother. “Now if you’ll please excuse me.”

The interpretation corresponded to the second reading from Philippians.

The child was escorted out of the chapel. The mother, not wanting to halt his praise of God or stop the manifestation of the gift, also “did not want to distract the congregation from prayer.”

Despite the mother’s fears, many in the congregation found the child’s tongue edifying.

“The tongue really didn’t disrupt my prayer,” said freshman Aidan King. “In fact, it enhanced it. The screaming sounds really felt like he was articulating the state of my soul.”

The infant was brought back into the chapel just in time for the communion, where the child manifested the gift of tongues once again. His free-praise tongue mingled with the voices of the musicians, bringing a spirit of joy to the congregation.

“The Lord gives such great gifts even to little children,” said sophomore biology major Naomi Lambert. “If he gives to the least of these, that means he has so much to give to me!”

Others in the congregation were not so edified.

“She should have taken that baby out of the church immediately!” said student Will Ustopp, who wore a March for Life t-shirt. “Jesus rebuked those who made mindless babble like the Pharisees! (The gift) of tongues isn’t even real anyway! If that child were really given a gift, it’d be staying quiet in the presence of the Eucharist!”

When asked for his thoughts on the rest of the Mass, Ustopp said he enjoyed the Gospel reading. “I just love it when Jesus owns the Pharisees,” said Ustopp, referring to Jesus telling them not to condemn the woman caught in adultery.

Ustopp appeared to be in the minority of those who were annoyed by the child. Student Jordan Kasupski commented on how the word aided her prayer.

“The word really touched me,” said Kasupski. “The interpretation of his tongue really reinforced the message of Lent. We purge sin from our lives and allow Christ to clothe us anew. And when we do that, we’re joyful.”