QUAERITUR: Priest instructs us to stand during the Eucharistic Prayer. Fr Z POLL!

POLL BELOW!

From a reader:

Father, today I attended a rather liberal parish (the choirmaster was wearing a Nuns on the Bus t-shirt). After the Sanctus, 3/4 of the people began kneeling, while the rest stood. The priest paused from the reading the rubrics, looked out at the people, and firmly told everyone to stand up because kneeling could make someone trip and fall. [?!?] Admittedly, I was a little stunned and followed the command. I felt bad afterwards for standing during the consecration; it didn’t feel right. Should I have remained kneeling despite the celebrant’s wishes?

Reason #97774 for Summorum Pontificum.

Let me get this straight.  Some could have tripped and fallen during the Eucharistic Prayer.  Right?  Not during Communion, but during the Eucharistic Prayer?

He sounds a bit of a bully.

In the USA the congregation is required – for the Ordinary Form – to kneel from the end of the Sanctus to the end of the Doxology after the Eucharistic Prayer.

GIRM 43 … In the dioceses of the United States of America, they should kneel beginning after the singing or recitation of the Sanctus until after the Amen of the Eucharistic Prayer, except when prevented on occasion by reasons of health, lack of space, the large number of people present, or some other good reason. Those who do not kneel ought to make a profound bow when the priest genuflects after the consecration.

You didn’t say how many people were in church, etc., but unless there were truly good reasons – and Father’s reason seems rather lame to me – he should not have told people to stand.

In fact, at that point he should not have said anything.  That sort of thing should have been announced beforehand, during announcements before the sermon perhaps or at the beginning of Mass, and NOT during the Eucharistic prayer (for the Sanctus is considered part of the Eucharistic Prayer).

Perhaps this man’s bishop can explain why he wants people to violate the liturgical law.

In any event, I would have knelt.

Here is a little FR Z POLL.  Choose your best answer and, if you choose and you can, add a comment in the combox below.

If the priest told us to stand instead of kneel during the Eucharistic Prayer (or consecration) for apparently no good reason, I would...

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About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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115 Responses to QUAERITUR: Priest instructs us to stand during the Eucharistic Prayer. Fr Z POLL!

  1. I generally ignore the edicts of such priests. No one’s ever gotten in my face about it. Sometimes it helps being ornery.

  2. Supertradmum says:

    I voted other. First, I would leave and go to another Mass. Second, I would phone the priest the next day and ask to speak with him on this. Third. I would then, supposing he is stubborn, tell him I am writing and phoning the Bishop and then, so it. Four, I would pray for him.

  3. Supertradmum says:

    sorry do it rather than so it….I follow up, always.

  4. tgarcia2 says:

    In our Newman center chapel, there are no kneelers nor is there enough space to kneel. I have told some of the people the “except when prevented on occasion by reasons of health, lack of space, the large number of people present, or some other good reason. Those who do not kneel ought to make a profound bow when the priest genuflects after the consecration”

  5. mwmn says:

    Because of the whole tripping and falling concern, I went with stand on the pew. That would be the best way to eliminate the tripping and falling worries (although I might fall off the pew). ;-)

  6. Cathy says:

    I chose to go to the cry room where I could both kneel and cry!

  7. Carol H. says:

    I was in this situation a few years ago when I lived in Ohio.

    I kneeled.

    Immediately, after Mass, I switched parishes and never looked back!

  8. rtjl says:

    You forgot an option – “Never attend Mass at that parish again”

  9. Philangelus says:

    My college parishes both did this, and I was in a parish a few weeks ago that stood during the Eucharistic prayer. I stand when everyone else is standing because I don’t want to create a distraction from others who may be concentrating on the Eucharist.

    I believe we worship God in our bodily posture, but personally I feel the Eucharist isn’t the time for me to make a statement with my posture.

  10. Ray says:

    Several years ago they( the infamous impersonal pronoun—THEY) had everyone rise immediately before the doxology , before the Great Amen. I never stood, and when our Church had Confirmation at the Cathedral all remained kneeling, when the Archbishop came to our Church for a Sunday Mass all remained kneeling. Who knows, after the pastor left it stopped.

  11. johnmann says:

    I originally registered so I could post on the previous post on this subject which I thought gave the mistaken impression that kneeling is the universal norm. It’s a norm in the US as you indicate here. I heard Cardinal Egan, a canonist, talk about this very subject. He said he wouldn’t bother phoning the priest for this even if he disagrees with the practice. “Other good reason” provides the priest with a degree of discretion that bishops are reluctant to second-guess.

    Personally, I would follow the priest’s instructions. It’s not an essential element of the Mass and though the priest is the original source of the distraction, once the instruction is given, it’s more of a distraction to disregard it.

    A related question and I apologize if this has been addressed in a past post: A long time ago, a parishioner had a bruised knee. He could stand perfectly fine but couldn’t kneel. What is his proper posture after the Santus? Stand or sit? He was in the first row so standing would’ve been awkward and would’ve blocked the view to the altar of those kneeling behind him.

  12. jacobi says:

    Philangelus
    I appreciate your concerns about creating a distraction.

    But consider this. The only weapon so many of us have these days in the face of liturgical abuse and disrespect for the Real Presence – is example!

    Bowing or kneeling before Receiving, and receiving by mouth since unlike the priest our hands have not been anointed for the handling of the Sacred Species, bowing during the Creed, giving a sober sign of peace to those only beside you. The list could go on, and would certainly include kneeling during the Consecration.

    In my parish, the example of a few is slowly having effect.

  13. Andrew says:

    I am a “stand as instructed” kind of guy. Why? Holy Mass is not a place to get confrontational. In order to ease the tension, I would comply. Afterwards, I might take some action, depending on the circumstances.

  14. Warren says:

    Despite my intense desire to fall to my knees, I would follow the priest’s misguided instruction and then lament to him after Mass the pain his action caused me, thereby heaping burning coals of shame upon his head for forcing me to conform to his demand.

    In the good news category – a woman lector read yesterday, as she does so regularly at the 5pm Mass (OF English). A humble soul and pillar of the community, she is an excellent reader: reverent, clear, well measured, not showy. She wore a lengthy veil. Beautiful. This is the first time I’ve seen her in veil. Talk about a prominent witness!

    There were four or five women in veil and a few additional women with hats. This at the once most liberal diocese in Canada! I’m wondering if someone designated it “Veil Sunday”…?

    And, we have a new musician serving the 5pm. She is a young music student who is very active at the Cathedral. She sings on key and plays the piano well. (Perhaps she might be persuaded to play the pipe organ!)

    God is merciful. Change may take a long time – decades – but the Lord is always faithful.

  15. Midwest St. Michael says:

    “Holy Mass is not a place to get confrontational. ”

    Yet, said priest *is* being conrontational to the rubrics, yes Andrew? ;)

    MSM

  16. Timothy Mulligan says:

    I voted “other.” You see, I attend an SSPX chapel. If the priest commanded us to stand during the canon of the Mass, we would call an ambulance, because he would only do that if he were quite ill.

  17. Girgadis says:

    Just think that if this priest had offered Mass ad orientem, his attention would have been trained on the altar and not on the congregation. IMHO, the priest is the one who chose to become confrontational with this seemingly ill-timed and skimpy excuse to make people stand up when they could and should have been kneeling.

  18. Charles E Flynn says:

    Say the black.

    Do the red.

    Do not misidentify tripping hazards.

  19. The Cobbler says:

    Put me down for:
    -Stand
    -Never come back
    -Unless I happen to know this was the retired ex-pastor hippy who isn’t generally going to be saying Mass
    -Or unless I hear that the parish has adequately improved from someone from whom I’ve also heard some stereotypical tradsterism

  20. One of those TNCs says:

    My option wasn’t listed: I would probably stand but then KNEEL during the actual consecration, and stand again after that.

    Actually, I would figure that a kneeling person can’t easily be seen in a sea of standing people, so perhaps I’d kneel for the whole prayer. I’d feel more comfortable doing that.

    But I would definitely be kneeling during the consecration!

  21. Jerry says:

    “Holy Mass is not a place to get confrontational. ”

    Yet, said priest *is* being conrontational to the rubrics, yes Andrew? ;)

    Two wrongs now make a right?

    I seem to recall Christ once told St. Faustina she was correct for obeying her superior despite being denied permission to do what Jesus had asked of her.

    Christ’s example to us was humility, charity, and obedience. Sadly, all three seem to be lacking in many of the responses. Is kneeling is important enough to God to overcome those deficits?

  22. Joseph-Mary says:

    Been there, done that. I knelt even as the bishop ‘invited’ people to stand as a ‘resurrection people in the spirit of vatican 2′. And just this summer in the Grand Island diocese the priest ordered everyone to stand after communion ‘until the whole body has received’ and I did duck into the side chapel where Our Lord’s tabernacle was hidden. When will this stuff end?

  23. acardnal says:

    Jerry said, “Christ’s example to us was humility, charity, and obedience.”

    “Obedience” to what? To a renegade priest or to the liturgical rubrics approved by the Vicar of Christ and His Church?

  24. Rachel K says:

    Many Catholics here know that in the seminary of Ushaw (UK) not many years ago the seminarians were directed to sit during the Eucharistic prayer for Mass in the chapel. Only seats were provided, I do not know if there were any kneelers available but there were certainly no pews. The seminary was closed down two or three years ago.
    I know you will all understand that these two facts are directly connected!

  25. JesusFreak84 says:

    Been in that situation many times and I always kneel. Obeying God rather than men and all that.

  26. NickD says:

    I say the line beginning “go to the crying room” and missed the last part; I assumed it said “go to the cry room, to weep”

  27. Sissy says:

    I would have knelt, and this is why I always sit in the farthest back pew. I figure I won’t cause people to trip and fall way back there.

  28. muckemdanno says:

    “Should kneel” and “ought to make a profound bow ” do not seem like laws to me.

    Should not the law say “must kneel” and “must make a profound bow.”

    “Should” and “ought” are not commands or laws, but are mere suggestions.

  29. KristinLA says:

    EWTN has a lot of information about the General Instruction of the Roman Missal and I have gone to their website for answers to questions about whether a posture is is licit or whether a certain devotion is mandatory etc. http://www.ewtn.com/expert/answers/kneeling_at_the_consecration.htm
    In this specific case it looks like it would be proper to obey the liturgical law for the Latin Rite and show devotion by kneeling, rather than to obey the priest and show devotion by standing (althought this is the norm for the Eastern Rite). At other times, such as immediately after receiving Communion, the GIRM states that one’s posture is a matter of personal preference–one may stand, sit, or kneel: http://www.ewtn.com/library/liturgy/zlitur103.htm
    The point I am making–and this goes beyond the incident of the original post and speaks more to some of the comments– is that people tend to be judgmental about what other people are doing without being aware of what the GIRM actually permits.

  30. frjim4321 says:

    Would be interesting to hear the backstory on this. As some have posited, maybe there are no kneelers in that church. It’s hard to comment intelligently without knowing all the facts.

  31. Bea says:

    “Kneel regardless of the instruction”

    AND THEN

    Go give him a piece of my mind. (A piece with peace).
    If he cannot see my reasoning, I would then write the Bishop and repeat verbatim the gist of our conversation.
    If the bishop cannot see where I’m coming from (while quoting Fr. Z’s pointing out the Girm 43) I would then write the Nuncio.
    If all this fails. I will seek another parish.

  32. JohnE says:

    “Apparently” no good reason. I said I would obey the priest. I would assume that there might be a good reason, even though it wasn’t apparent. If it became obvious that there truly was no good reason and the priest just did that in order to be disobedient, then it would be a sign that disobedience is encouraged in the parish and I would disobey him in order to fit in. In the future I would try to attend a Mass where obedience to the priest is also obedience to the Church.

  33. Melody says:

    When this actually happened to me I stood briefly, but kneeled at the beginning of the consecration.

  34. amenamen says:

    Obey him, only if he says, “Simon says.” Simon Peter, that is.

    Otherwise, he has overstepped his authority, and he is playing games with the liturgy.

    Listen to Lucy
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r3_ixcHyayk

  35. JacobWall says:

    I would kneel. Unlike some commentators suggested, this is actually not confrontational. Confrontational would be getting up, going to the priest and telling him he was wrong (at the moment it happened.) That would be confrontational, disruptive and entirely wrong. I imagine that NO ONE except the few people around you would even notice. This is simply being a quiet example of showing reverence.

    Other commentators mentioned different norms in different countries; I’ve been to places where many, especially the elderly, stand during the consecration. Yet, in that country, I saw these people standing in a humble reverence, bowing, etc.; I can’t imagine that American liberals would be inclined to show that kind of reverence – I imagine more something like a “hey, look, Mass is cool and not so serious” kind of attitude. (I could most certainly be wrong since I’m guessing, but based on my experience …) Differences from one place to another are valid, but not when someone uses them as a silly excuse simply to make Mass less reverent.

    I don’t clap in Mass (whether it’s one of those silly Latin American things, where they seem to be confused about being “Pentacostal,” or a surprise birthday announcement from the choir loft before Mass has ended) or anything else that seems to have as its purpose to make Mass “fun” or “laid-back.” Even the day I joined the Church (a year and a half ago) I received communion on my tongue, not in my hands, I think I was the only one in my parish to do so on that day. I also started bowing before receiving communion, having seen the example from others some time later on. I also don’t raise my hand to participate in a blessing of a person in the congregation when the priest instructs us to do so (thankfully, I was only at one mass where this happened.) None of this is to be confrontational, prove a point or be “holier” than anyone else. It’s also not because it’s easier (it sure wasn’t easy to get used to the idea of having priest “stick his finger in my mouth” as one Protestant friend of mine so adequately described the feeling you get the first times you receive communion on your tongue.) It’s only to do what I’m sure is right.

    I could be wrong, but I don’t think that even most “liberal” priests would get too upset even if you did these things contrary to their directions. I’m sure that there are those liberal priests out there who are aggressive, but suspect most of them are not. I learned these things quickly from examples I saw, and suspecting there was something to them, I checked there legitimacy with certain priests and places like this blog. The more people who show quiet reverence without “making a show,” the more other people will catch on and start doing the same. To me this is much closer to what’s meant by “lay participation.” Lay participation doesn’t mean we have the right to help make Mass and Church silly according to our own likings. What it does mean (as far as I understand) is we have the duty to participate in preserving our tradition, our identity and our orthodoxy. If that means quiet disobedience that no one except the person next to you and behind sees, so be it. Perhaps one of those two people will build decide to do the same next time. And then two more people will see them – little by little …

  36. JacobWall says:

    Correction – “Perhaps one of those two people will decide to do the same next time.” (changed the phrase in the middle of writing it.)

  37. Crucesignata says:

    oooo I just hate it when they tell one not to kneel during the consecration! :(
    I was attending Mass at my Confirmation retreat, and the Pastor of the parish I attend was the celebrant. He told everyone to sit facing each other (which was very uncomfortable to say the least) and then commanded us not to kneel at all during Mass, since there were no kneelers and it might be uncomfortable, x) and that everyone stood at the Vatican, anyway. A little confused at first, I stood for consecration (which I still regret), though after receiving, I came to my senses and knelt. But I resolved NEVER to NOT kneel at consecration again!
    Needless to say, I was rather relieved when we stopped attending those Mass times that that particular priest celebrated Mass at. :)

  38. Maxiemom says:

    Since I have had three knee surgeries, and am looking at having #4, I would have no problem standing, though it’s not my preference. Kneeling for me is like kneeling on a bag of marbles, so unfortunately, I have to do the bottom on the pew kneel.

    While I am not a Fr. Z traddy, I draw the line at most of the liberal ideas.

  39. gracie says:

    Thank you for answering this question. I attended Mass in Los Angeles last Spring and no one kneeled – EVER – for any part of the Mass. I was with my son and his family at their local parish and so went along with it because I didn’t think it was fair – as a visitor – to draw attention to them by kneeling when no one else was. At the same time it really bugged me and the rest of the Mass was spent thinking about it. I think I’ll e-mail the priest your post.

  40. kat says:

    Timothy Mulligan says:
    “I voted “other.” You see, I attend an SSPX chapel. If the priest commanded us to stand during the canon of the Mass, we would call an ambulance, because he would only do that if he were quite ill.”

    Oh my gosh, Timothy Mulligan, your response is hilarious and spot-on!

  41. Jerry says:

    acardnal: ““Obedience” to what? To a renegade priest or to the liturgical rubrics approved by the Vicar of Christ and His Church?”

    To the priest – the proximate authority in that situation. While standing for the consecration is arguably not the best posture to assume, there is nothing objectively offensive or immoral about it; in fact, it is the norm in some locations. The way to deal with the priest’s error is to report it to his superior (the pastor or bishop) afterward.

    Kneeling is an outward sign of an interior disposition. God knows what your disposition is with or without the sign. St. Faustina’s account seems to support my contention that He will be additionally pleased by your humility and sacrifice (if offered with the proper disposition) in obedience.

  42. Geoffrey says:

    I voted “kneel, regardless of his instruction”. The only time I didn’t do this was when the church was being renovated and Mass was celebrated in the parish hall, with chairs and no kneelers. I tried to kneel at least from the epiclesis and until the conclusion of the memorial acclamation, which I think is the norm in Europe. This wasn’t always possible, as the rows of chairs were a little too close together.

  43. Dies Irae says:

    Regardless, I would stay kneeling because my God comes before my priest.
    Even if I’m holding a child, I kneel during the Consecration. I can’t imagine sitting, much less standing. I would feel so disrespectful, not really praying the Mass, but standing there as an onlooker, just watching what is going on.
    I remember when I was little, before I even made my First Communion I think, I sang in a children’s choir at one Sunday NO Mass. There were no kneelers in the choir area, so the choir would just sit during the Consecration. I remember feeling awkward sitting, so I just knelt down on the floor. All the other kids looked at me, and slowly, a few of them followed my example. I wonder if they felt the same way I did, but just didn’t want to make a scene. I don’t think it’s making a scene, I think it is giving God the reverence and respect we owe to Him. We are darn lucky that we are even allowed to kneel during the Consecration, we should be flat on our faces. Besides, how would the priest even know you were kneeling if someone was standing in front of you?

    Do you think if it was the Pope standing up on the altar, the priest would have instructed the people to stand?

  44. APX says:

    I would have remained kneeling, but I have to add that now even when I’m not at the EF Mass, I can usually get so mentally absorbed into the Mass and be completely unaware of what’s going on around me, or what the priest is saying/doing. I wouldn’t do it out of prideful intentions (hopefully). This whole do I stand or do I kneel thing is getting annoying. IMHO when Jesus is present, standing should only occur when it’s required for practical reasons (ie: approaching the communion rail, return to pew, etc) and the rest of the time we should be kneeling.

  45. AA Cunningham says:

    I would have remained kneeling and then knelt while receiving Communion.

    After Mass I would have gone home and written some letters.

    That which you tolerate, you condone.

  46. Jerry says: Two wrongs now make a right?…I seem to recall Christ once told St. Faustina she was correct for obeying her superior despite being denied permission to do what Jesus had asked of her….Christ’s example to us was humility, charity, and obedience. Sadly, all three seem to be lacking in many of the responses. Is kneeling is important enough to God to overcome those deficits?

    Ah, I was waiting for somebody to bring up obedience. Obedience has limits. We are bound to obey persons in authority only in the legitimate exercise of their authority. We are bound not to obey them when they command us to sin; and we need not obey them when they overstep their authority. I think this situation falls into the latter category. Assuming there is not a good reason to order the congregation to stand — and it doesn’t appear that there is — the priest is abusing his discretion. We would not, I think, be sinning to obey him; but since he is overstepping his authority, neither would we be sinning against obedience if we did not obey him.

    I think Rome has actually come out and said, in the context of administering Holy Communion, that the faithful may not be affirmatively forbidden to kneel. If that is true at Communion, then surely it is also true at any other part of the Mass. Since the priest lacks the authority to forbid me to kneel, I would kneel regardless of his directive.

  47. Kat says:

    I chose “walk around in the church the entire time,” because it was as close as possible to my actual answer: snatching up one of the felt banners decorating the pew (and maybe a flowy orange scarf, if available), performing a liturgical dance, and then prostrating myself at the altar. That is surely what is meant by his worry someone might trip and fall — if someone were kneeling, they would definitely present a hazard.

  48. Therese says:

    I voted “other.” After a pervasive flood heavily damaged my parents’ parish, the kneelers were removed until they could be replaced. The pews pack you in pretty tightly as it is, and so when Father insisted we stand, we stood. But it began to seem that the replacements were long in coming, and at one point I asked whether they were coming at all. (I was getting a little worried, as the arrangement was getting too comfortable.) The kneelers arrived shortly after.

    Were Father to instruct us to stand with the kneelers available I would either:

    1. Kneel anyway
    2. Leave, depending on the circumstances, or
    3. Go to the crying room and kneel there.

  49. The Sicilian Woman says:

    I’d be suspicious about the priest’s command, but without knowing the reason (maybe some new edict from Rome?), I’d defer to him at that particular Mass.

    Then I’d ask Fr. Z., just as the one reader did, about the priest’s command and its legitimacy. Upon hearing that nothing’s changed with regards to the congregation having to kneel during Eucharistic Prayer, I’d continue to kneel at that church in the future, or find another parish. I’d possibly write a note to the priest and/or his bishop, and say a prayer for him, too.

  50. Clinton says:

    In Joseph Pearce’s book Wisdom and Innocence: A Life of G. K. Chesterton the author
    quotes F. J. Sheed comparing Chesterton and Hilaire Belloc:

    “Each had his own way of being himself, which means that they had their different ways of
    forcing men to listen. I shall tell a story of each, well known to men of my generation, not
    perhaps to our juniors.

    Belloc was kneeling at Mass in Westminster Cathedral. A sacristan whispered to him ‘Excuse
    me, sir, we stand here.’

    Belloc: ‘Go to hell.’

    Sacristan:’I'm sorry sir, I didn’t know you were a Catholic.’ “

  51. Michelle F says:

    I would stand as the priest instructed because I believe all priests have authority over me, and I believe that I am obligated to obey them in all that is not sin.

    I would not, however, be happy.

    If I were a visitor to the parish, I would not go back. I know this isn’t part of the “normal” rubrics for the United States, so if it were my parish and the priest was newly ordained, I would talk to him. If it were my parish and the priest was not newly ordained, and he persisted in this for a couple of weeks, I would leave without saying anything.

    The reason I wouldn’t say anything in this last case is I have tried to talk to experienced priests a few times regarding some strange thing(s) they were doing, and their reactions have varied from a shrug with no changes, to getting my head bitten off with no changes. I leave the problem of liturgical abuses for wealthy and powerful parishioners to solve since they seem to be the only ones capable of getting experienced priests to do anything.

  52. johnmann says:

    Miss Anita Moore, it would also be inappropriate to deny Communion to someone wearing a tank-top to Mass. Kneeling isn’t disobedient but it’s completely optional either.

    “The faithful should willingly adopt the method indicated by their pastors, so that Communion may truly be a sign of the brotherly union of all those who share in the same table of the Lord.” Eucharisticum Mysterium 34(a).

  53. Allan says:

    Years ago my wife and I attended mass in Zurich, at an Engish speaking mass. When the Sanctus bells rang we knelt down, and the priest erupted with a very loud STAND UP, we did not, he again, a little louder shouted STAND UP, NO — STAND UP. I looked directly at him (we were in the first pew) and simply shook my head NO. We knelt throughout the cannon. After mass many people came up to us to shake our hands. Evidently he had been bullying them for some time.

  54. anilwang says:

    Having been in that position before, I’d just kneel according to the GIRM and speak to the priest after mass. In the mean time, I wouldn’t give it a second thought so as to keep my full focus on the mass.

    Kneeling is an essential part of the Latin Rite. If I don’t kneel, I don’t feel I’ve been to mass, and I know I’m not alone in this. It was one of the first things I relished when I returned to the Catholic Church (along with genuflecting). Without either, the pull to mass would have been less.

    What I do notice is that people tend to be shy, so if someone doesn’t take the first step no-one will as the “Asch conformity experiments” ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Asch_conformity_experiments ) confirm. So for the sake of the shy ones and the ones who may drift away, I feel kneeling according to the GIRM is the responsible thing to do.

  55. Phil_NL says:

    Apart from the GIRM, this priest also forgot that Catholic saying par excellence: “when in Rome, do as the Romans”. If 3/4th of the congregation is kneeling, that’s obviously the habit of that parish (unless 3/4th of the congregation was transplanted from elsewhere, but that looks like quite a stretch. I’m assuming the more likely scenario, that the priest was ‘flown in’). It would be strange, and almost always ill-advised, to change such a custom by mere announcement. Local custom is stronger than that, even if by the sheer shock people will do as told the first time.

    And as many priests know: it wouldn’t work the other way either. If a parish is used to standing, then just saying ‘and now kneel!’ will almost surely achieve poor results. Preach first on such topics, announce it well in the bulletin, get people on board prior to making the ‘formal’ change, repair defective or absent kneelers, and so on.

    Very strange, in all.

  56. Precentrix says:

    I would kneel, at least for the consecration (hanc igitur onwards). Standing for the rest is largely a cultural thing and the local Polish congregation don’t kneel until that point, but for the consecration itself, they do. Of course, this is assuming we’re in a Latin-rite parish!

    It has taken a year of avoiding his Masses whenever possible (we have other priests) for my pastor to allow me to receive Holy Communion kneeling. But, DG, that little problem is now sorted :)

  57. Cantor says:

    Geesh. How about:

    Why not ask the priest?

    Our parish almost always has SRO, so there are many standing along the walls. If they were to kneel, yes – the aisles would be dangerous zones for those whose little ones select that precise moment to “have to go”. Perhaps the parish has experienced somebody somehow fall in the past. So don’t go off writing Father Z, your bishop, cardinal, or Holy See until you first give the man an opportunity to answer your question.

  58. jules1 says:

    In Maronite Masses most people stand anyway at the consecration. I would do what the priest asked in this case.

  59. pelerin says:

    Allan mentions kneeling at the Sanctus bells. After having always knelt upon hearing the Sanctus bells I found it difficult to get used to standing until the Sanctus was over. It just seemed automatic to kneel at that point. When the changes came I don’t remember ever being told why we should now stand for the Sanctus and thankfully it is still the practise in England to kneel for the Consecration.

    In France it used to be the practise to stand throughout the Consecration although now people are able to choose whether they wish to kneel or stand. I have noticed that those of African origin favour kneeling and I remember attending one Mass where the congregation was evenly divided with Africans kneeling and French standing. When I asked a friend afterwards what was the ‘corrct’ posture she replied that it was whatever one wished.

    What does annoy me is that when I sink to my knees when at Mass in France I always seem to find myself behind someone who stands through the Consecration! I know you don’t have to see what is going on but I don’t like having my view obstructed at the Elevations particularly as there is often no bell used to announce this.

  60. VexillaRegis says:

    In our parish everyone kneels when they should – it’s almost like if the priest had pressed a button. This is the work of our former pastor, who firmly, but gently, instructed the congregation on this matter. Sometimes we see newcomers trying to stand or sit where you aren’t supposed to, but they quickly succumb to peer pressure!

  61. jbosco88 says:

    If we were told to stand, I would assume it would be so we could all see what Father was doing.

    I’d stand on the pew to get the best view. It’s all about active participation after all.

  62. jbosco88 says:

    Why do you need a kneeler to kneel?

    I attended a Mass a year ago in the Archdiocese of Liverpool, England. The church was heaving and over spilled into the carparks. The Sanctus ended, everyone knelt – including the people outside on the Tarmac. Even a little old lady with a Zimmer frame knelt.

    And that’s one of the more liberal UK diocese!

  63. Dr. Edward Peters says:

    I have never, ever, ever, see anyone fall in Church as the result of another’s posture. Ever.

  64. Supertradmum says:

    pelerin, in my parish, the French kneel and some of the Africans stand. There is no national or ethnic Church rule.

  65. PA mom says:

    At the church I attend when at the shore, the Franciscans there have many of these habits mentioned here, effecting many parts of the Mass. This summer, after being instructed to “all stand” pleasantly, which I pleasantly declined, I found in the bulletin that it was to maintain uniformity of posture. Side wings of the churches have folding chairs, so roughly 1/4 of the people would not have a kneeler. Oh, and a part about the age of the congregation. But that sort of speaks for itself, right?

  66. WGS says:

    another advantage of the E.F. — For the E.F. there are no rubrics for the layman. Certainly, one should use common sense and charity and have respect for tradition, but rubrics for the layman were imposed only with the O.F.

    By the way, in the situation mentioned, I would have (and have) knelt and immediately offered prayers for the celebrant that he will be enlightened.

  67. Jack Orlando says:

    (written before reading other comments)

    Obedience is important; private judgement in matters of religion is at best questionable. The priest who orders people to stand is disobedient. The people who kneel anyway after the order are also disobedient and set a poor model. (“If I can disobey the celebrant, I disobey the Church”) The proper response to a Mass that doesn’t follow the Ordo is to leave. Then write the pastor. And if that does no good, write the bishop. And if that does no good, register at another parish.

  68. Supertradmum says:

    PA mom, many churches in Europe and Malta do not have kneelers. Some people kneel on the floor. Kneelers are a relatively late invention, as for centuries Catholics knelt on the floor. Unless one is infirm, one should do this without kneelers. In fact, Protestantism invented pews for commoners as well. This was to raise money, as people paid for pews and to provide for seats for long sermons.. Only the nobles and aristocrats had pews and kneelers in their chapels and sections in Medieval or pre-Revolt days. For the most part, the laity did not have anything but the nave in pre-Revolt times. Monks in choir had pews and kneelers, and little seats, as they spent so much time in the choir singing the hours.

    You might find this excerpt from an Anglican treatise on pews interesting. It was written in 1844. I love the tone here.

    “Persons who have visited Roman Catholic countries, can easily imagine that this would be the case so long as England formed part of the Romish communion. For whatever may be the errors and corruptions of that Church, respect of persons within the walls of her sacred buildings, and indulgence of personal ease and accommodation there, are certainly not to be laid to her charge. The services of that Church indeed make accommodation for sitting of much less consequence to her members than to ourselves. Chaunting and prayer, with short selections from the Scripture, form the chief [7/8] features of those services; and accordingly Roman Catholic congregations will be generally observed to be either standing or kneeling. Nor was the practice of preaching lengthy sermons, or rather (as it should now be called) of reading long essays, so much in vogue as it was afterwards under the reign of the Puritans, who carried it to a ludicrous extent, or as it is at present in a more moderate degree amongst ourselves. Under these circumstances, therefore, we should not expect to find general and luxurious accommodation for sitting in the early English churches, even if there were nothing but mere conjecture to rely upon.”

    As I have been reading Anglican liturgical history, I come across these goodies.

    http://anglicanhistory.org/misc/freechurch/fowler_pews1844.html

  69. mike cliffson says:

    Voted no 1.
    Other commenters have made all my points.

  70. I see that “non serviam” wins by a long shot. I can’t help but think that that is not really a good thing.

    I don’t like the order to stand either, but I also think that it is highly inappropriate to be openly rebellious against the priest in this context. There is a time and place to make a point about kneeling – during the mass is not it.

  71. VexillaRegis says:

    @carolinapublican: I agree with you. At a parish where I visit a couple of times a year, the norm is that the congregation rises at Sursum corda and not at Orate fratres. I know, that the pastor wants his herd to stand up at Orate, but he doesn’t dare to tell them that. (Bulldozers in the parish.)When in that church, I only rise for Orate if I’m in the back of the church and won’t block the view of people behind me.

  72. awkpearl says:

    I chose “kneel” instead of “walk out” because, if I made it through his homily without leaving, I might as well stay. (I would be listening to the words of the consecration very closely.) I have knelt in tiny spaces and on lumpy-pebble floors. If 3/4 of the congregation had to be told to stand, I would assume either there were kneelers or 3/4 of the congregation didn’t mind the floor.

  73. TheAcolyte says:

    What is interesting, is that traditionally for a sung Mass (per the 1962 Missale Romanum, Caeremoniale Episcoporum and all rubricians) all in choir and the congregation were supposed to kneel after singing the Sanctus and up to the Elevations, but then were supposed TO STAND to unite themselves silently with the celebrant during the Anaphora (as explained by J.B. O’Connell in “The Celebration of Mass: A Study of the Rubrics of the Roman Missal”); kneeling again only after singing the Agnus Dei.

    The only time they were supposed to remain kneeling after the Consecration was for Masses of a penitential nature, such as Requiems, Ember Days, during Lent and the like – this is all spelled out in detail by every rubrician who addresses the choir (participation) rubrics as well as the two cited liturgical books.

    Unfortunately, most traditionalists are completely clueless about this important distinction, so it is rarely ever practiced (I’ve never seen it done once in fact).

  74. skypilot777 says:

    I’m so frustrated by the current atate of affairs in the Church – the majority of priests I’ve encountered promote error and anything non-Catholic and non-Canonical and the heirarchy supports them or carelessly lets them continue and all the while most of the laiety either passively follow along in confusion or enthusiastically embrace any craziness as long as its “new” and “engaging”.

    This is just another example among so many I read about every day and experience myself at least once a week. If I went to daily Mass in my diocese, I would probably experience more of this “tripe” on a daily basis.

    I know many here feel the same frustration, including perhaps you Fr. Z. (Of course, I don’t have any priests like Fr. Z available to me.)

    If it makes any difference, I voted to disobey the erroneous bully priest, to continue kneeling, and to pray while offering up the lashing from the “nuns-on-the-bus” fans.

    God help us.

  75. Johnmann:

    I am not sure anyone answered your question about what to do with a bad knee.

    The answer is always, common sense.

    If you can’t kneel, don’t kneel. God doesn’t ask such a thing. I think if I were someone who needed to remain standing, I would, however, stay off to the side or to the back, out of courtesy to others.

    When my father was in his declining years, while I was in the seminary, I would take him to Mass. At that point, he stood and sat with difficulty. I would watch him struggle to his feet, helping as best i could–being at his side did not give me as much leverage. I was concerned when he attempted to stand during the gospel, in particular because were he to topple over, I might not be able to prevent a serious fall, and falling in a narrow pew would make for real difficulties helping him.

    So, I said, “Dad, you don’t have to stand; it’s all right to stay seated.

    Who was I? A mere seminarian. He ignored my counsel.

    So I mentioned it to the pastor, asking that he might tell my Dad the same thing. He came over before Mass one Sunday and did exactly that. My dad remained seated.

  76. pmullane says:

    A few thoughts:

    I chose that I would kneel. I appreciate that some would not want to ’cause a scene’ or would feel that they are best being obedient to Fr’s wishes, however Christ is being crucified on the altar, because of my sins, and the only legitimate posture for me (other than flat on my face) is to be knelt with my head bowed, telling my lord I love him. Its legitimate (and preferential) to kneel during the canon, and I’m well within my rights to do so. I doubt very much if anyone would notice 1 person or family kneeling when everyone else is standing, and if they do notice or mind its their issue rather than mine. If Fr wants to make a scene about it then it is him making a scene, however I would imagine few priests would want to reproach individual people in the pew. If he did, I may take the high road and leave. But no, I’ll be kneeling for the crucified Christ, telling him I love him and I’m sorry for my sins. I feel its slightly unfair to equate this to saying ‘non serviam’, a diabolical attitude. A priest has no right to say that you cannot kneel for your crucified lord, and it is illigitimate for them to try.

    I too have never been to any Mass where people would be in any danger of falling over anyone else kneeling (And during the Eucharistic prayer!). I would humbly submit, however, that if a Church is a tripping hazard when people are kneeling at the consecration, then perhaps the Church (or the layout therof) is not an appropriate place for the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, and an alternative venue should be arranged until this can be rectified.

    With respect of children going to the bathroom during this time, I had a very Holy parish Priest suring a ‘housekeeping’ announcement make the request of parents not to use the bathroom in the Church at precisely this time, as this is a the high point of the Mass and when people move about the pews this can be very distracting for both the priest and the people attending. In reality this is a time period of mabye 10 minutes, it should not be impossible to work ‘bathroom breaks’ so that little ones do not need to go at this time.

  77. Sissy says:

    carolinarepublican, I see your point. But I wonder if there is a limit? In the military, for instance, you’re only required to follow lawful orders. Suppose the priest is demanding something that is not “lawful”?

  78. PA mom says:

    Supertradmum-thank you! Yes that is interesting. Church history in general I find very interesting. If it was always that way in the old days then why did the Vatican II priest not rip out all of the seating along with the altar rails, etc?
    And yes, as I read the responses, I see that perhaps the stubborn approach is not best. Fr Z you would kneel, but you are his equal in this respect, we are not. I feel far less sure now.

  79. chantgirl says:

    First of all, I have never understood the suggestion that people remain standing until everyone has received Communion. You waste most of your private moment with the Lord looking around the church waiting for the people to come back to their pews. I know that people can pray in any position, but there is a reason people usually come back and close their eyes after Communion- it helps them to shut out distractions and actually pray!

    Secondly, if a priest is going to do something like this, he should make the announcement before Mass. It is not kind to spring this on people in the middle of the consecration when they are trying to concentrate and focus on Calvary (I also think it is unkind to force people to listen to terrible music during Communion for the same reason). It is a distraction at the moment when people are searching their souls, and preparing to unite with the Lord. I’ve seen priests carry on with Mass while some kind of emergency was happening in the pews, and the people in the pews handled it just fine. Heck, priests have said Mass of the battlefield with bullets flying.

    If the priest announces this sort of thing prior to Mass, people who find it intolerable can leave and go find a different Mass. The cynic in me says that many time when this sort of situation occurs, someone is trying to impose his own personal will on others, despite what the rubrics are. If not, some of us have been conditioned by the insane abuses of the past to be skeptical even when there is a valid reason for a priest to change something.

  80. Andrew says:

    In my diocese in Canada our bishop has told us we should all stand if the Church doesn’t have kneelers, without any directive or deadline for parishes to get kneelers. My parish doesn’t have kneelers in every pew, consequently I stand a lot along with everyone else. Except when the Eucharist is in procession to the chapel for adoration during which time almost everyone can somehow find the ability to kneel without kneelers. (In most of Canada we only kneel just for the actual consecration which often lasts about a minute anyway)
    In a neighboring diocese I did experience the priest telling people to stand for what appeared to be no good reason when the new translation came into effect last advent, which I happily ignored ( I later learned from the bulletin even though they quoted the GIRM requirements for kneeling they ignored the implications and just stated they stand because they had done this for decades as the posture of a resurrected people. No wonder it was so bright in there).
    Here we also “have” to stand after communion until everyone else has received. There is a letter on the topic from our bishop that confuses me(which in charity to my bishop I must admit I haven’t yet tackled it fully, but it does quite confuse me on the surface) on the matter stating that according to GIRM 43 the standing posture can’t be rigidly imposed on the faithful but yet this doesn’t mean standing is optional because a bishop or conference of bishops can agree on a posture being the expected stance. So of course you can sit if you can’t stand for say health, but even though it isn’t rigid it isn’t really optional otherwise. To me this still seems to fly in the face of Cardinal Arinze when asked about this topic as well as the actual GIRM, which is what confuses me.
    The whole point is supposed to be unity but I now feel more alienated from the rest of the Church as ever and more united in protestant congregation worship. Please pray for me and others here struggling with these questions of obedience when it comes to kneeling and rejoice and praise God for even the smallest beauties you have in your liturgy.

  81. Joe in Canada says:

    Andrew: if you go down the right hand side of this blog to Some useful WDTPR references, Notitiae, 2003, you will find the Church’s thinking on kneeling after Communion: http://notitiae.ipsissima-verba.org/show/72 . Specifically,

    In many places the faithful are accustomed to remain kneeling in private prayer or to sit after they return to their seats once they have individually received the holy Eucharist at Mass. Whether the provisions of the Third typical edition of the Roman Missal prohibit this practice?
    ?. In the negative and with a rationale.

    The rationale is that by the prescripts of the General Instruction of the Roman Missal, n. 43 is intended to give, on the one hand, within broad limits some uniformity of posture in the congregation for the various parts of the celebration of the holy Mass, and at the same time, on the other hand, not to regulate posture so rigidly that those who wish to remain kneeling or to sit would no longer be free to do so.

  82. carolinapublican says: I see that “non serviam” wins by a long shot. I can’t help but think that that is not really a good thing….I don’t like the order to stand either, but I also think that it is highly inappropriate to be openly rebellious against the priest in this context. There is a time and place to make a point about kneeling – during the mass is not it.

    This is over the top. There are limits to authority. To decline to obey an order that comes from an over-reaching of authority is not a case of “non serviam.”

  83. The Masked Chicken says:

    Johnmann wrote:

    Miss Anita Moore, it would also be inappropriate to deny Communion to someone wearing a tank-top to Mass. Kneeling isn’t disobedient but it’s completely optional either.

    “The faithful should willingly adopt the method indicated by their pastors, so that Communion may truly be a sign of the brotherly union of all those who share in the same table of the Lord.” Eucharisticum Mysterium 34(a).

    You are taking this out of context. The actual paragraph reads:

    34. The Way of Receiving Communion
    a) In accordance with the custom of the Church, Communion may be received by the faithful either kneeling or standing. One or the other way is to be chosen, according to the decision of the episcopal conference, bearing in mind all the circumstances, above all the number of the faithful and the arrangement of the churches. The faithful should willingly adopt the method indicated by their pastors, so that Communion may truly be a sign of the brotherly union of all those who share in the same table of the Lord.

    It is quite clear that the use of the word, “pastors,” is made in reference to the members of the episcopal conference, i.e., bishops. In the United States, the episcopal conference petitioned Rome for the method of kneeling quoted by Fr. Z from the GIRM 43. That decision of the “pastors,” ratified by Rome, is what is under consideration in EM 34(a). So, your document actually supports kneeling, even if the local pastor says otherwise, unless there is a good reason to do otherwise.

    Kneeling is the obedient thing to do. I refer you to the Summa II-II-104 (http://www.fisheaters.com/summa22104.html) on the subject of, “indiscreet obedience.” The local pastor does not have the right to change the liturgical rubrics except in cases of necessity (Necessitas non habet legem – necessity has no law). Not being a member of the parish, I have no knowledge of a necessity that would require standing, however, the original poster seems to have been visiting the liberal parish. If this is the case, there may have been a condition of necessity in existence of which he were unaware. If he were not a regular attendee of the parish, then charity dictates that, where there is a lack of knowledge and no time to rectify the defect, the local pastor should be obeyed UNTIL it becomes otherwise apparent that the pastor is acting lawlessly. All obedience is an act of charity, properly reasoned.

    Now, to say that kneeling isn’t disobedient is correct, since it is per regula, but standing, without a just cause (and prudential necessity or good reason is a just cause) is disobedience to the correct authority, which is the episcopal conference.

    To summarize:

    If the original poster were a semi-regular or regular attendee at that Mass, then standing would be disobedience to the proper authority (the Bishop’s conference), unless the poster had a prudential reason for tolerating the violation of the GIRM for a season – the poster might have prudentially stood that one time so as to not disrupt the Mass and talk to the pastor, later. This is a judgment call, however. The rubrics want a uniform posture, yes, but that posture is kneeling.

    If he were a visitor, then standing would be correct under the presumption of charitable interpretation of the local pastors actions, unless there were sufficient evidence beforehand to indicate that the pastor had no prudential reason for his directions. There is not enough evidence from the story (as I read it) to tell which were the case. If the poster learned, after-the-fact, that there were no valid reason, then he has the option of tolerating the behavior for at time if there is hope the pastor might be fraternally corrected, or obeying Rome and the episcopal conference and referring the matter to the local pastor’s superior, or leaving, although this permits the unlawful behavior to continue and there may be matters of correction of fault that warrant a response. Such fraternal correction, however, is a matter of prudence, since not all correction will be gladly received.

    Yikes. I wrote too long.

    The Chicken

  84. Pax--tecum says:

    I’m quite often the one of the few people standing up for the preface, while most others remain seated, and finally, when the sanctus is over, they will rise and stand, while I will kneel. I’ll never stand before the great mystery on the altar. I’m Catholic, I’ll kneel. Standing is for protestants who don’t believe in the Real Presence of Our Lord Jesus Christ.

  85. gracie says:

    It’s also true that Catholics in at least some of the Eastern Rite Churches stand or bow profoundly – and do not kneel or genuflect – throughout the Mass. These Rites are as ancient as the Latin Rite. One example of this is the Maronite Rite which is conducted in Aramaic and I don’t think you can get much older than that.

    That doesn’t make them right and us wrong but it does show that signs of worship come from the cultures in which they sprang up. Presumably the Latin Rite traditionally has kneeling and genuflecting because they were part of the cultural norms of Rome and the Western tribes that came under the Latin Rite. Think of the medieval knights kneeling before their kings and you get the idea. It’s embedded in our historical DNA that kneeling connotes the acknowledgement that we’re in the presence of a higher power. Somehow the Eastern Rite bowing has been introduced into our Rite but the problem is that the reverence that should go along with it isn’t there because it doesn’t feel natural to us. We do it but do any of us bow slowly and reverently TO THE WAIST with our eyes closed as if we’re bowing before an Oriental potentate (which is what I suspect is the cultural frame of reference is for the ER Churches)? I don’t think so – we feel self-conscious and clunky doing it and so do it quickly and sort of half-way because that’s what we’ve been told to do but no way does it strike at our hearts the way kneeling or genuflecting does.

  86. pinoytraddie says:

    I would stand to avoid “Dagger Looks” by fellow Churchgoers but with a long face to show My displeasure at such disrespect to the Liturgical Rubics.

    BTW. In the Philippines where I am from.Everyone stands after the Consecration.(Hello Dom Anscar Chupungco O.S.B!!! The world’s smartest Liturgist)

  87. sirlouis says:

    I would continue to kneel. The Mass is the property of the Church, not of the celebrant. I do as the property managers, the bishops, say to do.

    Trip and fall? Unless there is something more that does not come across in the original post, the celebrant is being disingenuous. If I am correct in that, then he is both a bully and a coward for not stating his true motivation. The only sensible way to deal with bullying and disingenuity is to refuse, firmly, to respond to them. Not necessarily push back. Just don’t allow the bully to have his way.

    By the way, can someone please educate me about what a “resurrected people” is? “Resurrected person” makes some sense, but none of us is that except in the sense that baptism is a sign of “resurrection in the Lord.” But if that’s what’s meant, it’s news to me that my standing up is an announcement of my baptism. Anyway, a whole people is not baptized, so how can a whole people be “resurrected”?

    To my mind, “resurrected people” is one of those phrases that are vaguely uplifting and comforting but on examination mean nothing. Do you remember the Old Testament verse, “Hold thy tongue before the LORD, for He speaks in the silence of the spirit”? No, of course you don’t, because I just made it up. When you try to take it apart, you find that there’s nothing there. But it sounds good. Maybe someone can explain to me why “resurrected people” is not of the same ilk.

  88. (X)MCCLXIII says:

    I’m only part way down this thread as I write, and I have read several thoughtful and thought-provoking comments. I’m prompted to add something of my own by this from Girgadis, which I think gets right to the nub of the matter:

    “Just think that if this priest had offered Mass ad orientem, his attention would have been trained on the altar and not on the congregation.”

    Absolutely! And it reminds me of something a priest friend of mine said to me a few years ago.

    The next parish to mine was planning to reorder the back of the church, to form some kind of meeting space. I thought it a dreadful idea. The motivation was something like this: that the church was never full and, especially on weekdays, it was depressing (I paraphrase, but I think fairly) for the celebrant to look out at a mostly empty nave. So I asked my priest friend when next I saw him whether he had the same problem when the congregation in his equally-large church was small:

    “I never look at ‘em”

    Please pray for the repose of the soul of Fr Stephen Cross.

  89. (X)MCCLXIII says:

    A few of the comments mention lack of kneelers. I think that’s neither here nor there, but I refrained from commenting because I feared that if I were to say “kneel anyway!” it might come across as criticism rather than encouragement, which would not be my wish. But then I read frjim4321 posting what I consider to be cant, with

    “Would be interesting to hear the backstory on this … maybe there are no kneelers … It’s hard to comment intelligently without knowing all the facts.

    Giving benefit of the doubt to an anonymous priest is one thing, but the context is pretty clear and I invite Father to read the poll question again, carefully.

    Furthermore, my elision from the quote from frjim4321 includes “As some have posited…” No, Father. Nobody has posited any such thing – neither before nor after your own post. Certainly, I could find nothing of that kind, although one commentator following you has supposed (on reasonable but not conclusive grounds) that there must have been kneelers.

  90. acardnal says:

    One doesn’t need kneelers in order to kneel.

    But if one insists, portable foam kneelers are available from EWTN’s catalog.

  91. wmeyer says:

    acardnal: Kneelers are not essential, but space is. For another two weeks, until renovations are completed, we attend Mass in the parish hall, on folding chairs which are spaced to closely to permit kneeling without a good deal of disruption to people around us.

  92. @ Miss Anita Moore, O.P. says: ” This is over the top. There are limits to authority. To decline to obey an order that comes from an over-reaching of authority is not a case of ‘non serviam.’”

    Not over the top at all. I’d say.

    To illustrate my point, suppose that a few people showed up at an OF Mass and proceeded to bellow all of the responses in Latin. It would be, after all, in keeping with the Church’s legitimate preference for Latin. Then suppose the priest were to ask them to stop (NOT from the altar during Mass), but they persisted at each Mass. Would that be acceptable? Or just obnoxious?

  93. Phil_NL says:

    As for kneeling without kneelers: don’t underestimate the about of bad knees (and backs) in your average parish. Add to that that especially the younger generation isn’t used to much physicial distress (frankly, if I have to just stand for more than an hour, I start feeling my feet already), and you can promote kneeling all you want, without some ergnomic kneelers it sin’t going to happen. In fact, even those pews with built-in kneelers are often straight out of the catalog of the Spanish Inquisition, as theyw ere made for people considerably shorter than the present generation.

    Yes, there are plenty of people who can make do without, bless them, but there are loads as well for which it would be unreasonably painful.

  94. Phil_NL says:

    Should have been ‘amount’ in the first line, obviously… it’s getting late here, sorry.

  95. wmeyer says:

    carolinapublican: I’ve not done the research, but the Canons must be consulted. Consider that a number of bishops have forbidden the celebration of the EF in their dioceses. This is not permitted, as was made clear in the Motu proprio Pope Benedict issued on 7/7/2007. Consider, too, that there are priests and bishops who have proscribed kneeling to receive. The Canons afford all the faithful the right to kneel, in spite of the indult in the U.S. for standing.

  96. carolinapublican says: Not over the top at all. I’d say….To illustrate my point, suppose that a few people showed up at an OF Mass and proceeded to bellow all of the responses in Latin. It would be, after all, in keeping with the Church’s legitimate preference for Latin. Then suppose the priest were to ask them to stop (NOT from the altar during Mass), but they persisted at each Mass. Would that be acceptable? Or just obnoxious?

    The issue is not one of obnoxious behavior, but whether the faithful are obliged to obey a priest who orders them to stand during the consecration. Even if it were about being obnoxious, there is nothing obnoxious about kneeling when we are told to stand. There would be nothing obnoxious about kneeling through the whole entire Mass. Rather, the obnoxiousness is on the side of the priest who arrogates to himself authority that contravenes the legitimate freedom of the laity.

    What this is about is the parameters of obedience. You suggested earlier that those who decline to obey such a directive as the one at issue here are equivalent to the devil saying he would not serve God. This is simply false. In fact, a few years ago, Rome specifically disapproved this stance when a priest in the Diocese of Orange, California told his congregation (a) that it was a mortal sin for them to kneel after the Agnus Dei, because the bishop had directed the people to stand, and (b) those who wanted to kneel instead were welcome to leave the parish.

    The priesthood does not carry with it boundless authority. All things being equal, we simply are not obliged to obey a priest when he issues an order that he lacks the authority to issue.

  97. AnnAsher says:

    I would continue kneeling. He can make suggestions but he may not dictate my pius posture. Furthermore, am I to abide the dictates of one priest or the commands of God? At the name of Christ every knee must bend. That’s two knees., if it’s all of them ;)

  98. acardnal says:

    Reminds me of my military days. We were taught to always obey orders unless it’s an illegal order in which we could refuse, e.g. committing adultery, wearing the wrong rank, stealing the commanding officer’s car, etc.

    Likewise, the priest or bishop has no authority to require people to stand. Period.

  99. (X)MCCLXIII says:

    There’s talk here of congregations “obeying” celebrants, and even of celebrants giving “orders”. I wonder – where on earth does this language come from? How did we ever get round to thinking in these terms?

  100. acardnal says:

    wmeyer, I often wondered why you don’t change parishes since you are in a very liberal one if I remember correctly from previous posts.

    Somehow God protected you when you entered RCIA some years ago; despite the heterodox books and teaching they used, you were able to find the orthodox teachings and doctrines that the Church really proclaims!

  101. wmeyer says:

    acardnal: I am about to change parishes. I am still registered in a very liberal one, and the one to which I will change is liberal as well, but one priest there is excellent. This parish is the one closest to us, and the good Father has impressed me greatly, in his homilies (direct and hard teaching), in our conversations after Mass, and in the confessional.

    I stayed with the first parish I joined, partly in thanks to the pastor (now resigned) and partly in the hope of contributing to some course corrections. The likelihood of the latter is close to zero, now that the former pastor has departed. They are firmly in the hands of the Modernists.

  102. Sissy says:

    wmeyer, your situation is exactly like mine. I entered the Church in an ultra-modernist parish replete with horrors untold. Lately, I’ve been attending a parish that is closer to my home. One of the priests there is a wonderful, orthodox priest and an excellent confessor. I just learned they are starting a schola. One Mass each Sunday features Gregorian chant. Even though it is still somewhat on the progressive side in some regards, I see hopeful signs that the “reform of the reform” is underway. I could have written your post!

  103. wmeyer says:

    Sissy, my favorite local priest is a very orthodox man, ordained a little over a year ago. He has told me explicitly that he reads no theologians of he 20th century. His homilies are always teachings, and mostly hard teachings, at least from the perspective of our liberal brethren. ;)

  104. Sissy says:

    wmeyer: You are very blessed to have a wonderful priest like that; we have a newly-ordained young priest as well….court’s still out, but I’m hopeful!

  105. wmeyer says:

    Sissy, encourage and support him. Pray for him. Assist him.

  106. Sissy says:

    wmeyer: great advice to a new Catholic. I plan to tell him that I am praying for him and will support him. I’m feeling hopeful.

  107. wmeyer says:

    Sissy: I’m new, too. Raised with it, but baptized only last year, at 63. Talk to him, thank him for his homilies. Encourage all the best of what he does. Let him know someone does care.

  108. Sissy says:

    wmeyer: Welcome home!

  109. wmeyer says:

    Thanks, Sissy!

  110. cathgrl says:

    This happened at a funeral once. I didn’t know the people (I was there because it was the only Mass that day available within a half-hour drive). I didn’t want to cause a scandal to those attending, so I faked a coughing jag and went to the narthex to kneel.

    I used to live in a diocese where this sort of thing was rampant (except everyone was trained to stand). I knelt on the floor in the pew. No one tripped over me.

  111. @MissAnita Moore

    Never did I mean to imply that kneeling was sinful, just ill advised in this situation. The rule is, after all, that the faithful “should” kneel, not “must” kneel. I assure you if the priest had said to do something that was in fact sinful, like put the Eucharist in your wallet to “keep the Lord with you” or some craziness I would be in Walk Out voting bloc.

    My use of the term “non serviam” was meant to draw attention to the Attitude of substitution of one’s own self-righteousness over good judgement. ESPECIALLY in a situation where no sin or anything even approaching sin is at stake.

  112. MAJ Tony says:

    TheAcolyte says:
    4 September 2012 at 9:02 am
    What is interesting, is that traditionally for a sung Mass (per the 1962 Missale Romanum, Caeremoniale Episcoporum and all rubricians) all in choir and the congregation were supposed to kneel after singing the Sanctus and up to the Elevations, but then were supposed TO STAND to unite themselves silently with the celebrant during the Anaphora (as explained by J.B. O’Connell in “The Celebration of Mass: A Study of the Rubrics of the Roman Missal”); kneeling again only after singing the Agnus Dei.

    The only time they were supposed to remain kneeling after the Consecration was for Masses of a penitential nature, such as Requiems, Ember Days, during Lent and the like – this is all spelled out in detail by every rubrician who addresses the choir (participation) rubrics as well as the two cited liturgical books.

    Unfortunately, most traditionalists are completely clueless about this important distinction, so it is rarely ever practiced (I’ve never seen it done once in fact).

    Come to Holy Rosary in Indianapolis and you should see it. We’re pretty mindful of the 62 Rubrics. The red rubric book Translation of the Rubrics for the Celebration of the Mass according to the 1962 Missal was written by the previous EF celebrant, Fr. Dennis Duvelius. Incidentally, he left the FSSP and is now in Bp. Etienne’s home parish St. Paulin Tell City, IN. They’re currently renovating (properly, of course) one of his parishes, St. Mark. He is a native of the Batesville area, which isn’t too far from the FSSP run parish Ss. Philomena and Cecilia.

  113. Sissy says:

    carolinarepublican said: “My use of the term “non serviam” was meant to draw attention to the Attitude of substitution of one’s own self-righteousness over good judgement.”

    What equips you to make the determination that the motivation is “one’s own self-righteousness”? Couldn’t it be the prompting of a well-formed conscience? I think it’s rather presumptuous of you to assume you know what motivates another person’s choice in this issue.

  114. Snirtler says:

    This subject leaves me torn. Since Cdl Mahoney’s indication in 2003 that “[i]n the Archdiocese of Los Angeles the faithful stand from the Our Father, the beginning of the Communion Rite, until all have received Communion,” the parishes within my immediate vicinity in LA have quit kneeling altogether during the Mass, except for a few individuals who do so after receiving Communion. This caused me to go to a parish farther away that was faithful to the norms in the GIRM.

    When I have had to go a church nearby, I sit at the back where I can kneel without drawing too much attention. In some of these churches, the priests sometimes remind people to keep standing. When they explicitly do so, I obey and remain standing but make a deep bow during the consecration (as I have seen the faithful do in Japan). When they do not, I kneel after the Sanctus and rise at the mystery of faith (the custom in the Philippines). When others around me kneel, I will sometimes be bolder and kneel until the end of the great Amen. Otherwise, I try not to be too obtrusive. Since Cdl Mahoney’s retirement, some individuals have reverted to kneeling during the consecration, while others stand. I take that as a sign of some inchoate sense of the need for greater reverence. And when I kneel while others stand, I try to remind myself that I do so out of reverence for our Lord rather than from defiance.

  115. cl00bie says:

    I would stand as instructed. There is grace in obedience when one is not ordered to do something sinful. In my sister’s parish (with no kneelers) I would kneel on the floor. I was never asked to stand or I would have.

    I would then let the priest know I was contacting the Bishop regarding his edict.