STANDING, SITTING, KNEELING

The worst thing you can do to a child about to make his first confession is not to force him to memorize a structure and the basic prayers he will need to know. 

When children don’t know what to do, they are afraid.  They want to do the right thing, of course, and so their fear is greater when they must go to confession without a clear sense of what to do.

Similarly, in the time after the Motu Proprio (AMP) we will have to be very careful to help newcomers to the usus antiquior feel welcome.  We must put basic tools in their hands to help them feel a little less disoriented… or rather reoriented.

One thing people express discomfort about when they don’t know well the older form of Mass is when to stand and sit and kneel.

The Knox Latin Mass Newsletter of 16 September has this very useful blurb: 

STANDING, SITTING, KNEELING
In answer to various questions …. Contrary to common assumption, there are no written norms or rubrics specifying posture of the people at a Tridentine high Mass (or Missa Cantata). But a common rule of thumb is to "stand or kneel when the altar boys do". More specifically, the following instructions for high Mass are printed in the red missalettes that we use and are followed throughout the country:
 
·       STAND for the Gloria and the Credo, but SIT when the priest does.
·       STAND for the Preface (and the dialogue preceding it)
·       KNEEL for the Canon.
·       STAND for the Pater Noster.

 

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73 Responses to STANDING, SITTING, KNEELING

  1. Marty says:

    Here is a good tool to use for knowing when to SSorK -
    http://www.latin-mass-society.org/congreg.htm

  2. A.M.D.G. says:

    Postures during High Mass

    STAND – Procession
    STAND – Asperges (Bow and make the sign of the cross as the priest sprinkles)
    STAND – Priest enters Sanctuary
    KNEEL – Prayer at the Foot of Altar
    KNEEL – INTROIT and KYRIE
    STAND – GLORIA (Sit if and when the priest sits. Stand when the priest returns to the altar)

    SIT – Epistle (in Latin)
    STAND – GOSPEL (in Latin) Remain standing until priest reaches pulpit
    SIT – Epistle (in English)
    STAND – GOSPEL ( in English)
    STAND – CREED
    KNEEL – When *choir* sings “et incarnatus est..” through ” … et homo factus est”
    SIT – (When priests sits down while CREED is being sung)
    STAND – When priest stands to return to altar

    SIT – After the OREMUS of the OFFERTORY
    STAND – at the incensing of the congregation
    STAND – at the “Per Omnia Saecula… (at the end of the SECRET)
    KNEEL – SANCTUS
    STAND – “Per Omnia Saecula… (proceeding the PATER NOSTER)
    KNEEL – At the end of PATER NOSTER

    — Do not say “Amen” when receiving Communion —

    SIT – When tabernacle door is closed
    STAND – OREMUS of POSTCOMMUNION
    KNEEL – LAST BLESSING
    STAND – LAST GOSPEL (Genuflect at “Et Verbum caro factum est”)
    STAND – Until celebrant leaves Sanctuary

    - No Leonine Prayers after High Mass

  3. Seumas says:

    A bit incomplete, isn’t it?

    A long time ago, I printed this out small and attached to the inside cover of my missal:

    http://www.unavoce.org/stsk.htm

    Here’s another one from the “Latin Mass” (grrrr) Society of England and (more importantly) Wales:

    http://www.latin-mass-society.org/congreg.htm

    Interestingly, neither chart mentions standing at the Pater noster. I have no idea where that came from.

  4. DoB says:

    Of course, thanks Father for the good common sense. My son has recently had his first confession and I was told not to bother teaching him the form as it would make him nervous. This I had a problem with but not the courage of my own convictions. Thank you for clearing the fog. Action will be taken.

    Being a newcomer to the older form, the stands and sits were a little confusing. Its great that you address this.

  5. Mark says:

    For someone not familiar with the Mass, its easier (and less stressful) to just do what others around you are doing – assuming of course that they know what they are doing. :-)

    In Christo fratrem tuus,

    Mark

  6. Arieh says:

    I think the one thing that still strikes me as odd in the TLM is having the choir singing the Credo and Gloria at a different pace than the celebrant. So, half the time I am a little late in kneeling because I forget to keep an eye on the priest.

  7. Fr. A says:

    Here is how the laity do it at my parish for Low Mass.

    STAND – The priest enters the sanctuary
    KNEEL – As the alter boy does (as the priest is about to begin)
    KNEEL – _Introit_, _Gloria_, _Epistle_, _Gradual_, _Tract_
    STAND – _Gospel_
    SIT – _Epistle_ is read in English at ambo
    STAND – _Gospel_ is read in English at ambo
    SIT – For the sermon
    STAND – _Creed_
    SIT – _Oremus_ _(Offertory)_ until after the _Preface_
    KNEEL – _Santus_ until the Last _Gospel_
    STAND – Last _Gospel_
    KNEEL – Prayers After Low Mass
    STAND – Until priest leaves the sanctuary

  8. Michael says:

    Right, one of the major differences in posture between low and high mass is that in a low mass, the congregation remains kneeling during the epistle. During a high mass, they sit. At least that is what we do.

    I want to reinforce what father said. I am not sure what I was taught about confession as a youth but I know it did not include memorizing any forms or prayers. I immediately disregarded the sacrament not understanding even why I was supposed to be doing it and faced great fear and trepidation coming back to it out of concern of not doing it correctly. I had never even memorized and act of contrition.

  9. Phil says:

    “For someone not familiar with the Mass, its easier (and less stressful) to just do what others around you are doing – assuming of course that they know what they are doing. :-)”

    True enough. In fact, there may be ever so slight changes in posture between parishes – or very great ones, and that is when comparing within the same usus. Especially if there is no option to kneel, or the pews were made when the average height was half a foot lower than it is now. Depending on the circumstances, it may be best to go with the flow. Not solely to accomodate (if the flow isn’t reverent in it’s posture, I’d feel free to deviate), but to prevent drawing attention from proper worship. People sitting while the row to your back is (still) kneeling is an unwelcome distraction for almost everyone. Standing out as a sore thumb isn’t inspiring piety either. As long as there isn’t a much more forceful effort to standardize and educate people, it’s better to follow local custom when it’s acceptable.

    While we’re at it: “—- Do not say “Amen” when receiving Communion—-”. Can someone explain that? I’ve seen several parishes were in fact the ‘amen’ seems to be used as a kind of ‘filter’ in the NO masses. In my parish they wait for the ‘amen’ before communion is given, possibly to prevent abuses (not all attendants may in fact be catholics, especially in big cities).

  10. BC says:

    “I think the one thing that still strikes me as odd in the TLM is having the choir singing the Credo and Gloria at a different pace than the celebrant. So, half the time I am a little late in kneeling because I forget to keep an eye on the priest.”

    And why doesn’t the priest just sing along with the choir, so this doesn’t happen?

  11. David Nelson says:

    I would also suggest that an altar boy gently and unobtrusively direct the congregation with simple hand motions for standing and sitting until everyone becomes familiar with the routine. Simple handouts are also useful. I have noticed an unfortunate lack of instruction over the years and people want to do the right thing, but are, at times, a little perplexed.

  12. Matthew says:

    BC:
    “And why doesn’t the priest just sing along with the choir, so this doesn’t happen?”

    Perhaps because the rubrics tell him not to do so?? He is instructed to recite the entire Credo himself and not simply accompany the choir.

  13. Patrick Kinsale says:

    I like the simple idea of doing what the altar servers do. I’ve noticed at TLMs that the regular attendees in the pews do different things and often seem unsure themselves. The fact that there are different levels of the extraordinary use makes it more confusing!

  14. This week’s Knoxville Latin Mass Community newsletter has just been posted (this morning) at http://www.knoxlatinmass.net/newsletter.htm in case anyone’s interested in what a whole issue looks like.

    We usually try to combine both a bit of local news and announcements with some news of the Church at large — such as episcopal statements, articles and photos of the week, etc.

    Perhaps this week’s is notable for our announcement of the Community’s offer to provide travel and registration support for any Knoxville diocesan priest who wishes to attend one of the FSSP workshops to prepare for celebration of the extraordinary form.

  15. Cathy Dawson says:

    I’ve been to four different parishes for the TLM. None of them did things the same way. I just do what
    everybody else is doing. I do think it would be nice if there was something printed up for people to
    follow.

  16. Richard T says:

    At all the tridentine Masses I have attended, in different parishes (authorised and SSPX), we kneel right through from the Sanctus to the Last Gospel (except of course if walking up to the altar to receive communion). I note that the (English) Latin Mass Society’s advice also follows this, but several people here are suggesting the Novus Ordo habit of standing for the Our Father.

    Keeping kneeling is one of the things that I find most helpful about the old rite; standing up whilst Christ is there on the altar seems very irreverent.

    Now, why the difference? Is standing before your God an American thing, or was this one of the pre-Novus Ordo changes of the ’60s?

  17. dcs says:

    Arieh writes:
    So, half the time I am a little late in kneeling because I forget to keep an eye on the priest.

    You kneel during the Creed when the choir sings “et incarnatus est etc.,” not when the priest says it at the altar.

    There isn’t any kneeling during the Gloria IIRC.

    Phil asks:
    While we’re at it: “—- Do not say “Amen” when receiving Communion—-”. Can someone explain that?

    It’s not part of the Communion rite in the extraordinary use (unless you’re in Milan ;-)).

  18. John Spangler says:

    It is certainly unfortunate and unseemly as well as distracting when individuals within a congregation at Low Mass assume varying postures because of uncertainty due to a lack of experience or of proper knowledge; the priest responsible for the Mass and the laity assisting him should take steps to encourage and maintain a uniform position at the Mass by gentle but clear statements in bulletins and handouts and from the pulpit.

    As to the Dialog Mass, here is what Fortescue/Reid (p. 233) has to say:

    “To aid in achieving the purpose of the Dialogue Mass – to influence the congregation to take an active part in the sacrifice as a communal act – it is desirable to adopt for it a form of congregational ceremonial akin to the correct ceremonial for solemn Mass. Accordingly, those taking part should (i) stand when the celebrant goes up to the altar after the prayers of preparation; (ii) sit for the Epistle, gradual, Alleluia, or tract; (iii) stand for the Gospel, Credo and Oremus; (iv) sit until Orate, fratres; (v) stand for the preface and Sanctus; (vi) kneel for the canon; (vii) stand for the Pater noster and prayers before communion; (viii) kneel for the communion; (ix) sit for the ablutions [A footnote here, however, states, ‘Those who have received Holy Communion continue kneeling.’]; (x) stand at Dominus vobiscum; (xi) kneel for the Blessing; (xii) stand for the last Gospel (cf. Chapter XIX, § 1). Those who take part in the Mass should, in addition to observing the correct postures, carry out the correct liturgical gestures (genuflecting or bowing, making the signs of the cross, striking the breast, etc., at the proper moments).”

    Frankly, I am very much saddened and disappointed that in many locations where the Traditional Latin Mass has been and is being reintroduced, the silent Low Mass, i.e., the read Mass (Missa lecta) is being said, rather than the Dialog Mass (Missa recitata). From St. Pius X on, the Popes of the twentieth century disapprobated the silent-spectator role for the laity at Holy Mass. Pope Pius XI offered at least two public Dialog Masses during his pontificate. Cf. Ellard, The Dialog Mass (1942), pp. 57-58. Pope Pius XII made express provisions for multiple degrees of congregational participation in both sung and low Masses in the instruction De musica sacra in 1958.

    In his letter accompanying the motu proprio, Pope Benedict XVI reminds us that resumed use of the extraordinary form is not a rejection of the Second Vatican Council. The Council tells us in Article 28 of the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy that “[i]n liturgical celebrations each person, minister, or layman who has an office to perform, should carry out all and only those parts which pertain to his office by the nature of the rite and the norms of the liturgy.” Article 30 mandates that “[t]o promote active participation, the people should be encouraged to take part by means of acclamations, responses, psalms, antiphons, hymns, as well as by actions, gestures and bodily attitudes.” Even while allowing what has become the widespread use of the vernacular at Mass in the ordinary form, Article 54 requires that “[n]evertheless care must be taken to ensure that the faithful may also be able to say or sing together in Latin those parts of the Ordinary of the Mass which pertain to them.”

    Almighty God deserves from us the very best form of worship in thanksgiving and praise that we can offer to Him in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. While no one should be compelled to vocalize at a Low Mass, surely the laity do not best fulfill their proper role if they sit back silently and let the servers in their responses or the priest alone in the great communal prayers (the Gloria, the Credo, the Sanctus, the Pater Noster, the Agnus Dei) speak for them at a silent Low Mass. The Dialog Mass should be the preferred form of the Low Mass, and its use should be encouraged and nurtured by the pastors of the Church.

    John Spangler
    Versailles, KY

  19. Franklin Jennings says:

    We don’t stand for the Pater Noster at the FSSP parish in Atlanta.

    But the big thing, the striking thing that is getting lost in this discussion, though alluded to in the Knox letter, is that the laity are much more free in the extraordinary form. The rubrics are for the priest and servers. The rest of us are sort of assumed not to need so much rigidity to do our part appropriately.

    The best advice, I think, is to follow the local customs of the laity, so long as local custom reflects the reverence the moment deserves. Obviously, if everyone is standing for the Canon, feel free to kneel. I’d be there with ya.

  20. thomas tucker says:

    Too confusing. Score one point for noble simplicity in favor of the NOM.

  21. Mark says:

    I tend to agree with thomas. The complicated rubrics as well as the repetition, were clearly aspects that led to a sense that reform was needed. Also,what happened in the years preceding Vatican II was that the emphasis on rubrics in seminary training, along with the fear of sin attached to messing up the rubrics led to an emphasis on the external, rather than an internal understanding of what the Mass was.

    It’s just a little too fussy for me.

  22. Fr. A says:

    John said: “the laity do not best fulfill their proper role if they sit back silently and let the servers in their responses or the priest alone in the great communal prayers (the Gloria, the Credo, the Sanctus, the Pater Noster, the Agnus Dei) speak for them at a silent Low Mass. The Dialog Mass should be the preferred form of the Low Mass, and its use should be encouraged and nurtured by the pastors of the Church.”

    I totally reject this attitude. This is an attitude that assumes that by “saying stuff,” the laity are participating more in assisting at Mass. This attitude that the dialogue Mass is somehow “better” is not correct and should be rejected by those who love the extraordinary form of the Roman rite. There seems to be almost a snobbery with some who are advocates of the dialogue Mass. There was not uniformity in this regard before Vatican II (especially in English speaking countries) and there doesn’t need to be now. Let’s not fight about these things. Different parishes have different practices. It will always be this way.

  23. But the big thing, the striking thing that is getting lost in this discussion, though alluded to in the Knox letter, is that the laity are much more free in the extraordinary form. The rubrics are for the priest and servers. The rest of us are sort of assumed not to need so much rigidity to do our part appropriately.

    Indeed. It strikes me that the idea of detailed norms prescribing lockstep uniformity in the behavior of the people — even in language that smacks of the “enforcement” we hear of in some dioceses — is very much a “new Mass thing” (whether or not it be “noble simplicity”).

  24. William says:

    For those who think its fussy or confusing – It may be confusing if you try to memorize everything ahead of time. But if you do as I did, and follow the servers and the people over the course of several months without trying to remember everything, then the postures just naturally become second nature and nothing is confusing at all.

  25. wcy says:

    “… the TLM is having the choir singing the Credo and Gloria at a different pace than the celebrant.”

    per Summorum Pontificum, the celebrant may now join the Schola / Choir.

    The practical effect of the original rule allowed the celebrant, and consequently the people, to sit when the celebrant has finished reciting and sits. This is especially useful for a long polyphonic Gloria / Credo.

    “I would also suggest that an altar boy gently and unobtrusively direct the congregation with simple hand motions for standing and sitting until everyone becomes familiar with the routine.”

    This would be obtrusive and unliturgical. The suggestion for handouts is probably the better option.

    Now, why the difference? Is standing before your God an American thing, or was this one of the pre-Novus Ordo changes of the ‘60s?

    The position of public prayer in the *Universal Church* has always been standing. The position of adoration in the *Latin Church* since time immemorial has always been kneeling.

    “At all the tridentine Masses I have attended, in different parishes (authorised and SSPX), we kneel right through from the Sanctus to the Last Gospel…”

    Perhaps you have attended Low Masses, or Missa Cantata where the people have Low Mass tendencies? The people ought to stand for the Pater Noster, the Pax, the Postcommunion, the Ite, and the Last Gospel in a Missa Cantata or Solemnis.

    BTW, the term “Tridentine” is pejorative. It was concocted in the 1960′s to support the false notion that the Traditional Mass is a 16th century concoction. I think that pointing this out to everyone is a great way to start breaking down false impressions.

    “But a common rule of thumb is to “stand or kneel when the altar boys do”.

    This is an extension of the rule that the people follow the liturgical choir. (cf. Fortescue).

    So here’s my question. When the liturgical choir is singing the propers, they remain standing. This includes the Sanctus and Agnus Dei. If the people were to join the liturgical choir, ought they to stand, or proceed to kneeling?

  26. John Spangler says:

    With respect, Father A. does not address the express desires of Holy Mother the Church in the quoted provisions of the Second Vatican Council.

    Of course, active participation is first and foremost interior. Cf. Mediator Dei of Pius XII.

    St. Augustine said, “Qui cantat, bis orat.” Does it not follow that those who vocally join in the prayers of the Mass in their proper role are also praying “more” that those who do not?

    No one is compelled to vocalize at a Dialog Mass, but Holy Mother the Church clearly desires that those who are able to join in do so and that her ministers encourage this. At the silent Low Mass, however, those who are able and desire to participate more fully are not given that opportunity.

    John Spangler
    Versailles, Kentucky

  27. Mr Jennings sez, “the laity are much more free in the extraordinary form.” Yes!

    I think there is a lot to be said, also, for not having a book or paper in one’s hand. The ceremonial carries its own message, a message that is not received if one’s eyes remain on a book all the time.

    A great strength of the extraordinary form is that the altar party, choir, books, words, all get out of the away and let the faithful contemplate the Mystery.

  28. Knight of Our Lady says:

    There is a strong tradition in Ireland of the congregation kneeling throughout a Low Mass.
    Also, I find it a bit strange to sit for any part of the Credo (sung or not) and in our local indult High Mass on Sunday the endire congregation stands after the “et incarnatus est…” until the end of the Credo.

  29. wcy says:

    The complicated rubrics as well as the repetition, were clearly aspects that led to a sense that reform was needed.

    What repetition? Besides “Dominus vobiscum”, which is a way of opening public prayer in the Traditional Mass, and the Kyrie being said several times, there wasn’t much in the way of repetition for the people.

    Besides, repetition has been a tried and true practice known since early Christianity.

    Also,what happened in the years preceding Vatican II was that the emphasis on rubrics in seminary training…

    No rubrics training since has led to our unholy Mess today.

    … along with the fear of sin attached to messing up the rubrics…

    Recklessness and neglect may constitute a sin. Even in today’s Novus Ordo Masses.

    … led to an emphasis on the external…

    No, it takes internal disposition to constantly keep emphasizing the external. Otherwise the external falls apart. (cf. what happened after 1970.)

    Those revolutionists in the 50′s/60′s/70′s who didn’t understand the internal only saw the external. But when Christ is seen as the Divine King, then every genuflection matters. To others, it looks as if one were being “holier than thou.”

    … rather than an internal understanding of what the Mass was.

    I’m not old enough to remember, but I think that more people believed in the Real Presence before the change in 1969/70.

  30. Denis Crnkovic says:

    As this discussion illustrates congregational postures are quite local. This has long been the case, although in the U.S. there was some uniformity for kneeling, standing and sitting. The latter posture was unknown to my relatives in Europe, where the few pews are reserved for the infirm and elderly. In fact, in central Europe, standing is the normal posture for most of the Mass, the congregation kneeling – usually on a cold stone floor – from the Consecration to the Communion.

    Standing at the Pater noster before Vatican II was unknown to me. I vividly remember sometimes kneeling straight through from the Sanctus to the end of the Communion at both High and Low Mass. The “click” of the priest locking the tabernacle door – the signal to sit after Communion – was very welcome to us Catholic grade-school kids and our aching knees (there were no pads on the kneelers). I also remember being of two minds about the new directions to stand for the Pater noster that were issued in our diocese in the later 1960s: on the one hand our knees and backs were to be spared, on the other hand it all seemed kind of wimpy.

    Kneeling was a noble and unobtrusive way to “offer it up” for your sins. In fact, I recall reading once a very long time ago directions for congregational posture at High and Low Mass. The instructions for Low Mass began something like, “For the Low Mass: Kneel for the entire Mass except…” To that particular writer, kneeling was certainly paramount! I wish I could find that book.

    The bottom line is that, since there are no “official” regulations for congregational posture, the revival of the EF of the Mass presents individual congregations with the challenges that Fr. Zuhsldorf lists. My suggestion is to have the coetus and their priest decide on rubrics and then a. print them in whatever Mass sheets you might provide for the congregations and b. station a lay master-of-ceremonies in the front pew to “lead” the congregation in what posture to assume when. It might be helpful to have the m.c. wear distinctive garb. I am not in favour of anyone in the sanctuary giving hand motions to the congregation. It seems untoward… unless, of course we want to ask Rome to add the directions to the Mass text itself:

    D:”Levate. Sequentia Sancti Evangelii…”

    or

    D:”Flectamus genua.”
    C:”Te igitur clementissime, Pater,…”

  31. wcy: So here’s my question. When the liturgical choir is singing the propers, they remain standing. This includes the Sanctus and Agnus Dei. If the people were to join the liturgical choir, ought they to stand, or proceed to kneeling?

    Indeed. I have a copy of an FSSP “pastor’s note” in which he answers the question

    “Why, then, have I instructed the faithful to stand during the Sanctus and Agnus Dei at a High Mass (i.e., Missa cantata or Missa solemnis), when doing so seems to be entirely at odds with liturgical tradition, especially since no one can recall ever doing this sort of thing before?”

    His answer recalls first the constant urging of the 20th century popes from Pius X through Pius XII for the people not to sing at Mass, but to sing the Mass. By which they meant that people’s praying the Mass should include their singing the Ordinary together with the choir.

    He then suggests that standing is the appropriate posture for singing these prayers. For instance, in §524 of the general rubrics for the 1962 Missale Romanum, we read that the clergy in choir who are actively participating, that is, actually singing, should be standing when doing so: “In choro non sedent qui actu cantant.” Further, as The Ceremonies of the Roman Rite Described puts it, “the rubrics assume that, as far as possible, the laity will conform to the rules laid down for the clergy when they are present in choir.”

    The article goes so far as to say that — whereas the people should therefore stand for the Sanctus at a high Mass where they themselves are singing the Gregorian chant — they would sit for the Sanctus at a polyphonic Mass where only the choir (and not the people) are singing it.

    Interesting. Does anyone actually of a TLM community or parish where the people actually remain standing throughout the singing of the Sanctus? Instead of immediately kneeling at the first Sanctus bell.

  32. Martha says:

    ” ‘But the big thing, the striking thing that is getting lost in this discussion, though alluded to in the Knox letter, is that the laity are much more free in the extraordinary form. The rubrics are for the priest and servers. The rest of us are sort of assumed not to need so much rigidity to do our part appropriately.’”

    “Indeed. It strikes me that the idea of detailed norms prescribing lockstep uniformity in the behavior of the people—even in language that smacks of the “enforcement” we hear of in some dioceses—is very much a “new Mass thing” (whether or not it be “noble simplicity”).”

    Well said. Exactly my sentiments,too. I would dread the feel of tyrannical enforcement of conformity, as is done to the laity at the N.O. There, one gets “punished” for not wishing to shake hands, for receiving in the kneeling posture,for kneeling after receiving Communion. (As in the Gaylord diocese where the bishop has ruled that all MUST stand throughout the dispensation of Holy Communion.)

    My brother’s Spanish/Latin missal of 1959 gives the laity options: At the purification of the chalice, for example, one may stand, sit, or kneel. Here is charity expressed, and freedom given the laity. Rubrics are not for the laity. I don’t understand this mentality that in order to worship as one body, everyone must act in unison.

  33. wcy says:

    Mr. Tucker said:
    “Too confusing. Score one point for noble simplicity in favor of the NOM.”

    The NOM is even more confusing. Ever tried kneeling at half the NOM parishes?

    Whereas there is a framework in the Trad Mass, pastors willy nilly don’t respect the people’s customs and traditions in the NOM.

  34. lisa says:

    wcy:

    It’s pretty simple, actually. If everything was so great, and priests were so beautifully formed in the depth and meaning of the liturgy before Vatican II…why did most of them, without even a second thought, abandon the traditional liturgy AND (this is important) the ethos/values associated with it?

    Read the reality of pre-Vatican II seminary formation, particularly in diocesan seminaries in this country – check out some memoirs, and so on. And then look at the consequences of V2, how fast everything changed and how quickly and joyfully most of the clergy acceded to it.

    Something was wrong.

  35. Ave Maria says:

    I am not going to have to worry about any of these things with the
    extraordinary form of the Mass as we will not see it in our diocese
    any time soon. Our bishop is set to retire next year though. But still, it
    will take years to begin to turn things around to Rome again. One priest
    was going to do the extraordinary form and he has suddenly left the diocese with
    the diocese saying one thing and he another. And a holy priest I know, some
    hundreds of miles, but still in my diocese did say he would begin to study
    this issue. That is all that I know that is happening toward the opportunity
    to experience our holy heritage here.

    So I am joyful that many will get to experience the extraordinary form of the
    Holy Sacrifice and hope day I can be counted among them.

  36. catholiclady says:

    “when in Rome…………”

  37. dcs says:

    As far as “noble simplicity” is concerned, what could possibly be more simple than to just do what everyone around you is doing? Or, if one is truly at a loss, to do what the altar servers or the clergy in the choir are doing? It would only be a problem if they were doing something unseemly (like, say, standing or sitting during the Consecration). And what could possibly be more noble than a practice that obliges one to pay attention to what is going on in the sanctuary?

  38. catholiclady: “when in Rome…………”

    I’ve recently begun to wonder whether this ancient aphorism might actually date back originally to some early discussion of kneeling, maybe circa 100 A.D.

  39. Kim says:

    Well, when I first went to the Extraordinary Use, I had a missal that indicated when to do these gestures. I just followed the missal AND I sat toward the back to follow everyone else.

  40. David Kubiak says:

    Rubrics for the laity did not even appear in the liturgical books until the reform of Holy Weeks in the 50′s.
    Clergy attending in choir, by the way, stand after the Consecration.

  41. wcy says:

    Lisa said: “Something was wrong.”

    I say: “There is more wrong now than there was before.”

    I won’t say there wasn’t anything wrong. We were going downhill in the latter part of the last century.

    But to rub dirt on a wound. Ouch.

    Benedict is applying the true Medicine today.

  42. Joshua says:

    DCS wrote
    As far as “noble simplicity” is concerned, what could possibly be more simple than to just do what everyone around you is doing? Or, if one is truly at a loss, to do what the altar servers or the clergy in the choir are doing? It would only be a problem if they were doing something unseemly (like, say, standing or sitting during the Consecration). And what could possibly be more noble than a practice that obliges one to pay attention to what is going on in the sanctuary?

    What if the majority of the congregation is confused? (For instance, when we first got a High Mass at the Ventura Mission, everyone acted as if it were low and the priest gave very short, kind worded instructions in his homily to help them, but still there was confusion). Or here at my college (TAC) where we had gotten used to a Sung Dominican rite, when a low tridentine rite was said, there were many just confused. It doesn’t help that there is no liturgical choir, the schola is in the back and we have chant. The only way for them to know, unless they realise that priest A cannot sing the Mass, but priest B can, is the number of candles on the altar and most don’t know about that distinction.

    We are think of having a few people in the front pews who know what they are doing and telling everyone else to mimic them (there is a certain set custom of gestures common to the college and the general “indult” community in the LA archdiocese, which we would try to use).

    I think situations like ours are going to be common from now on.

  43. Gavin says:

    Wcy, my opinion is that the choir ought to do as the choir director instructs, particularly in light of Fr. Z’s mention that there are no binding congregational rubrics. As for me, my rule is simple: you stand when you sing. At most Masses (and I imagine the old Low Masses) singing is quite weak at communion and offertory, no doubt because the congregation must be seated, thus restricting the diaphragm, or kneeling which often is uncomfortable for singing. I find the priest above who requests his congregation stands for the sung parts interesting, but perhaps that’s going too far if the choir is already providing the singing.

    The whole topic reminds me of when I first went to an Episcopalian service. The bulletin said “please stand, sit, or kneel.” What?!?!? Seriously, I don’t think anyone’s ever been put off by being told to kneel. Anyway, when I’m at an extraordinary form Mass I just do as everyone else does.

  44. dcs says:

    Joshua asks:
    What if the majority of the congregation is confused?

    Then in general they should do what the servers do.

    I’ve seen the confusion first-hand myself, it happens every year when Mater Ecclesiae celebrates the Assumption Mass at Camden’s Immaculate Conception Cathedral.

    But I think once a congregation gets used to assisting at the traditional Mass, the postures will fall into place naturally.

  45. Sheila says:

    ‘In the time after the Motu Proprio (AMP) we will have to be very careful to help newcomers to the usus antiquior feel welcome’.
    Well said, Father Z!
    I would just like to add a comment about making newcomers feel welcome. I was put off for years by those who attended the Indult Mass here and seemed to be so much ‘more Catholic’ that the rest of us. I have only attended four TLM services at my parish so far. I am drawn to it like a moth to a flame! People are very kind and everyone seems to mind their own business, with no ‘posture police’ out to catch you in an error! As we are all trying to get in the swing, so to speak, I hope those of you who know so much more than the rest of us will be kind. I don’t mean nice, but kind. The majority of us are under 40 years old and we see this opportunity to learn about the Mass as a real gift. Don’t spoil it with focusing on the details. We will learn it all with our Missals. We are enthralled with the Sacrifice presented in such a way that we can see ourselves at Calvary! No more hootenanny! And please be understanding when women are not comfortable with the veil yet. There is a lot to adjust to when you did not grow up with this Mass!

  46. wcy says:

    Gavin: I think there’s a bit of confusion. By liturgical choir, I mean all the clergy, seminarians, and servers who assist the Mass in the sanctuary, but do not have distinct liturgical roles (priest, deacon, subdeacon, acolytes, M.C., etc). The liturgical choir or a schola derived from the choir would chant the Mass. This type of choir was what I was referring to in my above comment.

    On the other hand, we have modern day choirs that sit in the choir loft and not in the sanctuary.

  47. wcy says:

    Just a little clarification…

    The liturgical choir or a schola derived from the choir would chant the Mass in times past.

  48. A.M.D.G says:

    http://www.unavoce.org/dietrich.htm

    Consider this…
    +++
    Only the reverent man who is ready to admit the existence of something greater than himself, who is willing to be silent and let the object speak to him- who opens himself-is capable of entering the sublime world of values.
    +++

    What those around you at mass are doing or more importantly not doing allows one more opportunity to enter more deeply into what He is doing on the altar. And then there is this….

    +++
    A Catholic should regard his liturgy with pietas. He should revere, and therefore fear to abandon the prayers
    and postures and music that have been approved by so many saints throughout the Christian era and delivered
    to us as a precious heritage. Let us not forget that throughout Christianity’s history silence and solitude,
    contemplation and recollection, have been considered necessary to achieve a real confrontation with God.
    +++

    The matter is certainly not about the congregants and what we do or don’t do. It is about what Christ does
    with and through His “in persona Christi”. Then and secondarily, it is about souls assisting;
    about returning to Calvary. About having the opportunity to do so. The yammering that results from too much
    “audiblizing” serves to thwart more than enhance what we do which is to go “introibo ad altare dei”

  49. Dana Cole says:

    I hope the profoundly reverent Extraordinary Form of the Mass does not turn into the chatty dialogue Masses we’ve been subjected to in the Novus Ordo. Vatican II’s instruction to “actively participate” does not equate to dialoguing. One can actively participate by focusing silently but with mind and heart on the priest’s actions, and by the standing, kneeling, etc. As for audibly saying the “Pater Noster” with the celebrant–nein! Let each Form have its own rubrics, please! Otherwise what is the use of bringing back the Tridentine Mass?

  50. Joe says:

    Seems like when we get this deeply into ritual, we become modern day Scribes & Pharaisees

  51. John Spangler says:

    The 1958 Instruction De Musica Sacra provides for the congregational recitation of the Pater Noster by the priest with the people. This had already been provided for in the Good Friday liturgy in the revision of Holy Week.

    Extending this to the people chanting the entirety of the Pater Noster with the priest in the sung Mass would be a positive organic change in the 1962 Missal, which the Holy Father envisions happening in his letter accompanying the motu proprio.

    There is plenty of silent time for prayer and reflection in the Offertory and Canon of the extraordinary form. The Mass in the public worship of the Church, not a backdrop for personal meditation and private prayer. As attributed to Pope Saint Pius X, “Don’t pray at Holy Mass, but pray the Holy Mass.”

    The Pater Noster is a communal communion prayer (OREMUS. Praeceptis …, AUDEMUS dicere:); it should be said by all together, not just by the priest as the surrogate for the people.

    John Spangler
    Versailles, Kentucky

  52. Prof. Basto says:

    On the contrary Joe. We have no other concern but to worship God in full and perfect accordance with the Laws of His Holy Church, which Laws cannot be compared to the Laws of the Ancient Convenant (“Ecce nova facio omnia”), because they are even more perfect and worthy of obedience. All this debate has no other objective but the promotion of liturgical behaviour befitting the worship of the Divine Majesty, and, in that sense, it is good that we are concerned about doing the right thing.

  53. Martha says:

    “The Pater Noster is a communal communion prayer (OREMUS. Praeceptis …, AUDEMUS dicere:); it should be said by all together, not just by the priest as the surrogate for the people.”

    The Pater falls within the canon. Therefore, I don’t think the congregation should join in. As for singing the Mass, if a person is talented enough, he should be in the choir where he can blend in, instead of behind me sounding like a soloist. I’ve had that experience, and I found it quite annoying.

  54. John Spangler says:

    Martha: “The Pater falls within the canon.”

    No, Martha, the Canon ends with the Great Amen following the Minor Elevation at the Per Ipsum.

    John Spangler
    Versailles, Kentucky

  55. Chris says:

    High Mass kneel after Sanctus when it finishes..Low Mass when the Sanctus is said

  56. wcy says:

    “Extending this to the people chanting the entirety of the Pater Noster with the priest in the sung Mass would be a positive organic change in the 1962 Missal…”

    The Roman Rite has always known the Pater Noster to be sung by the celebrant alone, that is, until the Good Friday reformulation in the 50′s and the Dialogue Masses that existed then. Even St. Augustine knew this practice. (cf. Gamber).

    “Before you tear down a fence, find out why it was put there.” -Chesterton

    A change to something this ancient has to be thoroughly thought out. What was it in the early Roman Church that brought about this practice? And why ought we to keep it?

  57. Joshua says:

    John Spangler wrote: No, Martha, the Canon ends with the Great Amen following the Minor Elevation at the Per Ipsum.

    I think you were too hasty to correct here. First off, I think the term “Great Amen” and it being the end of the Canon are rather novel. If you read up on the ceremonies in the old right for matrimony almost without exception they will note the extraordinary interruption of the Canon to give the blessing. But the blessing is immediately after the Pater Noster. Were the rubricists, like Fortescue, O’Connell et alii and many authors who wrote on marriage, including Fulton Sheen, confused on this point?

    Certainly it isn’t wrong to make a distinction after the Per Ipsum, but there is also a great truth to the Pater Noster being seen as part of the Canon, and not the Communion. A sign of this is that the prayers for the priest’s communion are all quiet, and the ceremony for the people’s communion quite distinct from the priest’s…in fact it was often considered an interruption to the Mass, hence the maniple was removed.

  58. ellen says:

    The contempt for even the concept of a dialogue Mass is enough to make a girl turn Eastern Catholic, honestly.

    What happened? Why are the Eastern Catholic liturgies so effortlessly dialogical (all chanted of course) and there is this reverence for silent low Masses in the West?

  59. dcs says:

    Joshua writes:
    Certainly it isn’t wrong to make a distinction after the Per Ipsum, but there is also a great truth to the Pater Noster being seen as part of the Canon, and not the Communion.

    Yes; and one is inclined to believe that when St. Gregory the Great put the Pater in its current place that he intended to make it (in a sense) part of the Canon.

  60. Marie says:

    I believe there is a lot of confusion regarding the extraordinary form of Mass. The priest who says the local Extraordinary Mass each week refers to the weekly Mass as a High Mass although he does NOT sing the Mass, because there is music — entrance hymn, communion hymn, and yeeks… the exit hymn. A low Mass, according to this priest, is when there is no Music although most Sundays when we have Music, the priest does not sing the Mass and the Gloria, Sanctus and such are not sung. Am I missing something, but I thought a High Mass was a Mass sung by one priest?

    The Mass is partly a dialogue Mass, because the people are asked to join in certain prayers while other prayers are said quietly during the entrance hymn although I have participated in other dialogue Masses where they are said with the priest. It seems to be a hybrid of newer liturgical practices such as the exit hymn and postures that are only ever so slightly different than the ones of the ordinary Mass.

    I am not bashing the extraordinary form of Mass, but noticing what seems to be a level of confusion. Our weekly extraordinary public Mass takes maybe 45 minutes while a priest who has been offering a private low Mass each morning with considerably fewer people takes closer to an hour. I don’t know how to explain the situation with this extraordinary Mass, but it seems lacking on many levels. Half the congregation is in short shorts or another form of casual dress. Almost every week, a telephone rings at least once during Mass.

    I prefer the extraordinary Mass and I’m glad our diocese is open to the extraordinary form of Mass, but the way this one is handled concerns me. Although I believe the priest has the best intentions, those attending do not appear properly instructed and that nasty exit hymn seems to be a must. What is the purpose of the exit hymn and then an extensive postlude?

  61. Denis Crnkovic makes a good point. There is no hard and fast rule for the postures of the congregation during. All descriptions are merely prescriptive and ARE IN NO WAY BINDING. However, it makes the most sense to: 1.) follow the liturgical choir (as opposed to the musical choir) and 2.) to follow local custom no matter how awful it is.

    I own copies of the Baltimore Ceremonial, Fortescue, O’Connell, Mueller, Wapelhorst and even they cannot always agree. Local custom is hard to change. I know one pet peeve of mine is this awful custom of kneeling for the Introit and Kyrie. The liturgical choir is supposed to stand when the celebrant ascends the altar steps and one would assume the people would as well. (Ceremonial for the Use of Catholic Churches in the United States of America, First Plenary Council of Baltimore, 8th edition, 1894.) However, as annoying as it might be and as hard on my boney knees as it may be, I would still kneel for these parts if it was the local custom and everyone else was doing it.

    The other issue is when to stand after the Canon of the Mass. Those in the liturgical choir that are to receive communion are supposed to come forward after the second elevation and kneel in the snactuary until they make their Communion. Those who are not, are to stand after the second elevation and remain so until the distribution of Holy Communion, when they kneel. (Ceremonies of the Roman Rite Described by Adrian Fortescue, 7th edition, 1943.) Obviously, this would create some confusion as to what the laity should do and has been interpreted differently in different places, especially in light of the fact that the distribution of Holy Communion at High Mass was rare before the 1950s and usually only done on Maundy Thursday and Christmas Midnight Mass. (It was expected that you were fasting from midnight and that you would go to the Low Mass to make your Holy Communion.)

    At Low Mass it makes sense to kneel for its entirety (save the offertory when one may sit) unless it is the custom in some places to stand for the Credo.

    [Now, one discussion I am hoping to see soon is whether people are in favor or against the Dialogue (Low) Mass.]

    Thus, anyone who tries to say that there are hard and fast rules for the laity should re-examine their sources.

    -M.J. Ernst-Sandoval

  62. Tony says:

    Given that we are all blessed to have lived to see the day that the Traditional
    Latin Mass has had its legitimacy clearly reestablished by the act of the Supreme
    Legislator, surely we should strive to celebrate the Extraordinary Form in its
    normative form – that of the High Mass/Missa Cantata. The Low Mass – in
    english speaking countries missionised by Irish clergy – became the usual expres-
    ion of the Mass. This was due to religious oppression in Ireland by the protes-
    tantised English; so, a virtue was made out of a necessity and the Low Mass was
    a practical response to that, but the practice survived the end of religious
    oppression! {I refer to the common practice of the main Mass of a Sunday before
    Vatican II being a Low Mass, rather than a Missa Cantata – the Great Irish
    Silence ruled supreme!].

    I have no problem of course with the Low Mass on weekdays, and for additional
    Sunday Masses – but the impetus in revived Extraordinary Form communities ought
    to be towards training up choirs/scholas able to sing the ordinary and propers
    of the Mass. My problem with the concept of the Dialogue Mass is that it is
    somewhat of a ‘pretender to the throne’ in terms of ‘participation’; whereas
    the Church teaches that the fullest participation in the Mass is to be had when
    it is celebrated in its normative form [ie in purest terms this means by an
    Ordinary celebrating pontifically in his Cathedral Church - but, for everyday
    purposes this extends to High Masses or Missa Cantatas - as the parts sung are
    no different].

    I note that the push for ‘Dialogue Masses’ in the mid-late 1950s came from none
    other than Annibale Bugnini, who snuck through the Holy Week reforms of c.1955 -
    which included his appalling butchering of the 12 lesson Easter Vigil to just
    3 lessons – as a prelude to his post-conciliar career with the V2 liturgy. It
    was Bugnini and his ilk who hijacked the notion of ‘participation’ so as to imply
    that only ‘active’ participation, such as dialoguing, and not inner/actual
    participation, counts.

    At a practical level, and as an active choir member in the Canberra (Australia)
    St Michael the Archangel TLM Community, I will make a few observations from the
    period during which we used alternate between Sunday Missa Dialoguas and Missa
    Cantatas (1992-2002). During this period, I will concede that the Dialogue Mass
    had the virtue perhaps of at least familiarising our new community with the
    ordinary of the Mass. The downside was that – apart from the short ‘Et cum
    spiritu tuo’ type responses – the longer parts such as the Judica Me and Confiteor
    responses were invariably gabbled at different paces by the congregation in,
    to say the least, the full gamut of pure to mangled latin. The net effect was
    cacophanous and distracting! Especially as one woman would make a point of being
    the first to blurt out the words (as if to say ‘look at me look at me look at me!).
    Simply dreadful!

    The problem was solved when all Sunday Masses became Missa Cantatas – our choir by
    that time being more than competent to prepare ordinaries (both plainchant &
    polyphonic) and gregorian propers on a weekly basis. The change over occurred in
    2003. We now only do Sunday Low Masses during the choir breaks in January and
    July – but ‘dialoguing’ is not favoured by the FSSP priests we have had since then.
    Largely for the reasons I have already mentioned; but also because they apprehend,
    as do I, that the Dialogue Mass effectively peddles the same false activa participatio
    mentality as the Novus Ordo and that it tends to militate against a rediscovery,
    and implementation of, the glories of the normative form of Mass of the Extra-
    ordinary Form of the Mass.

  63. kat says:

    It helped simplify things in my head a great deal when an old-timer told me, “Stand when the priest sings/chants. Sit when he sits.”

    It took me about a year to become comfortable in the rubrics of the TLM, both high and low Mass. Now I happily sit up front and help the newcomers follow/pray the Mass.

    It also helps that our FSSP parish also has laminated handouts in the pews to direct the laity at high Mass!

  64. Jamie says:

    At the London Oratory (Brompton) people kneel from the Sanctus up until the last Gospel when they stand again (though some do sit when people are going to the altar rail for Holy Communion. In addition, no one stands for the Pater Noster or the Gloria. I agree with the person who described their experience of the SSPX – they always seem to get it right. I am talking about low Mass incidentally.

    Something I saw which I did not like at all was one man who brought his sons to Mass stood at the Gloria when no one else in the enormous Church did (he was sitting near the front). He made his two sons stand up and they stood the whole time despite the fact that they were alone in this behaviour. It really seemed like he was telling everyone that they were wrong and he was right. His children were rather naughty during Mass and took no notice of the altar – and the father did nothing about it. I got the distinct impression that he was only at the traditional Mass because his local Clown Mass was put off for a week.

  65. wcy says:

    The normative form of Mass is the Missa Solemnis (sung Mass with deacon and subdeacon). Theoretically, every Mass should be a Missa Solemnis.

    This was the case in early Christianity, and I think the only form known.

    I believe this is also true of the Eastern Churches.

  66. Martha says:

    Sorry, John,

    My Mistake. Thank you for the correction. Still, I don’t like dialogue Masses. Contemplatively praying the Mass is nearly impossible when there is a N.O. back-and-forth-type of activity. For me, I get more out of the Mass with silent prayer. Singular singing interspersed here and there amongst the congregation is a distraction to that contemplative prayer which many of us have found to be so restful for the soul. I get enough noise and distraction and dialogue out in the world.

  67. Dana Cole says:

    Reading some of the above posts, I’m concerned that some lovers of dialogue will try to change the Extraordinary Form into the Ordinary Form, and without waiting for the Ecclesia Dei Commission to introduce whatever modifications it feels appropriate. It’s experimentation by anyone with a bright idea that has ruined the Ordinary Form and why so many of us have wanted the Extraordinary Form back.

    Let’s follow the rubrics as given in the 1962 Missal of Pope John XXIII. This is the form that Pope Benedict has legislated as the Extraordinary Form, not Cardinal Bugnini’s experiments in the 50′s. Many of the Catholic publishing houses are now offering the 1962 Missals, and some can be found on EBay.

  68. I have not had much experience with the Dialogue Mass, but my experiences at one of our parishes here in Philadelphia with the Leonine Prayers after Low Mass are similar to those of Tony.

    However, the rubrics of the Missal do NOT state that the priest is to say the whole Mass ‘sotto voce’. It is very hard for me to rationalize the attitude of the priest who says Mass in such an inaduible voice that NO ONE in the congregation can hear (unless of course the organ is playing in the French style or it is a Deutsche Singmesse). I also realize that the priest can’t ‘yell out’ the Mass so that eveyone can hear. One solution from one of our older priests (who’s in his 90s mind you!) here in Philadelphia is to attach a small wireless microphone to his alb. This seems to work very well and has NOT encouraged a Dialogue Mass. Thoughts, comments, opinions?

  69. wcy says:

    Microphones destroy the temporal space of the sanctuary and place of worship. (cf. Ratzinger or Gamber.. forgot who it was).

    I personally think that microphones have been detrimental to how worship is done.

    Besides, the parts that are chanted aloud are already audible.

    The parts that aren’t chanted are either private prayers of the priest or a part of the “Holy of Holies” of the Mass. The private prayers are meant to be said privately. The holiest parts of the mysteries are meant to be veiled.

    In fact, in early Christianity, a curtain was drawn before the Canon started, until it ended. Metal brackets for these curtains can still be found in the oldest Patriarchal Basilicas in Rome.

    The Eastern Churches follow the Tradition of a Eucharistic Prayer that is not heard.

  70. My comment was in reference to Low Mass and not a Missa Cantata or High Mass where the celebrant is most usually singing in an audible voice.

    And yes, microphones on average are awful (and don’t even get me started on how the Eastern Christians, not to mention the Muslims, have abused it ‘ad nauseum’), and ideally the Mass should NOT be said sotto voce, but given the choice between the Irish mumble Mass or a tastefully done microphone… give me the microphone!

    As for the Ratzinger quote, this would seem odd since he uses a microphone all the time.

  71. wcy says:

    The fix for a mumbling priest is to talk to him, then to his pastor, and then to his bishop. I realize this may not work.

    Microphones just invite trouble.

    Besides, the Holy Mass is so holy, we don’t want anything to intrude into it, especially something so profane that it introduces a sense of artificiality in the Holy of Holies.

    Just a clarification though.. I think they are OK for preaching a sermon or homily.

    Otherwise, the priest and choir shouldn’t be using them.

  72. Francis says:

    Are there more specific cues when to stand sit and kneel than the above “STAND for the Gloria and the Credo, but SIT when the priest does.” ? The Baronius Missal I have doesn’t even mention these postures. Is there anything on the net that has some sort of “rubrics for the congregation” like what they already have for priests and altar servers?

    For example, what I got from the OF Mass is that you are always supposed to stand when the Priest says “Oremus” or “Let us pray,”

    The priest and congregation of EF Mass I go to is suffering from “this-is-all-I-found-in-the-used-book-store-and-I’m-too-cheap-to-spring-for-a-1962-missal”-itis. So what happens is that everyone sits stands kneels at different times and its real distracting. (We are a lower end Missa Cantata with just one priest and server.) Shouldn’t there be some uniformity?

    My biggest nightmare is that someday, somewhere, someone is going to get sick of the situation and suggest adding in a LITURGICAL COMMENTATORS. Just what we need… an interrupting voice over saying “Will everyone please kneel.” “Your response will be…”

    From what I researched, the commentator’s job was introduced in V2 as a temporary position until everyone knew how to participate in the OF Mass. It wasn’t meant to be a permanent thing… which seems to be everywhere in the Philippines.

    UGH ! ! ! !

  73. thomas tucker says:

    Don’t get me wrong- i prefer the sacredness and solemnity of the TLM. But the rules for sitting, standing,kneeking according to which type of Mass it is are somewhat off-putting. I think the Fathers of Vatican II had it right- the Mass should be somewhat simplified. Unfortunately, what happened was wreckage, not simplification.