On the site of a newspaper in SW Illinois, St. Louis, bnd.com there is an article about the Bishop of Belleville, Most Rev. Edward Braxton.
It seems that in one of the parishes in the diocese of Belleville, people are not kneeling as the rubrics of the Church indicate, for the consecration.
Bishop Braxton has taken a stand on kneeling.
My emphases and comments:
Taking a stand: Bishop tells parishioners to kneel
Braxton sends ‘high priority’ directive to Shiloh church
BY GEORGE PAWLACZYK – News-Democrat
SHILOH — Belleville Catholic Bishop Edward Braxton has set a deadline of this weekend for all parishioners who attend Corpus Christi Church: You must kneel during the high point of the ceremony, the Liturgy of the Eucharist. [Otherwise known as Mass.]
Braxton sent a letter marked "high priority" to Monsignor James Margason, pastor of Corpus Christi, who posted the information for parishioners.
In the Catholic Church, the Eucharistic Prayer marks the central prayer of the Mass and is the moment when the "bread and wine are transformed into the body and blood of Christ," according to a directive from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. [Ummm… well… somewhat more than a directive of the USCCB, but let that pass.] The group advises that all should kneel at this time. [Okay… remember that this is a secular report, right?]
But at the 91-year-old wood frame Shiloh church, about 50 of the approximately 90 to 150 people who attend any of four Masses [that many?] on the weekend sit in an annex, where there are rows of seats that have no kneelers — long, padded devices in a pew that can be folded down.
For years, many parishioners at Corpus Christi, including those in pews with kneelers and those without, have remained standing during the Eucharistic Prayer.
Margason said that Braxton’s Dec. 7 letter to him was posted prominently in the church and that parishioners in the main section equipped with kneelers now kneel during the reading of the Eucharistic Prayer. However in the annex, the people stand, Margason said. He declined further comment. [I bet.]
The letter did not state whether there would be consequences for continued standing, even in the annex where there are no kneelers.
Dave Spotanski, the diocesan chancellor of administration, said he could not comment because the letter was a private communication between a bishop and a priest, even though it was posted publicly at Corpus Christi Church. [You have to wonder what the priest was about when he posted the letter. A public hand washing, perhaps?]
The parish, which has nearly doubled to 515 members since Margason took over in 2005, [getting the dynamic at work?] has approved construction of a new and much larger church that will be equipped with kneelers for all churchgoers. Construction will begin next year.
Braxton, who rarely comments to local reporters, could not be reached.
The letter made no reference to a lack of kneelers but pointed out that as the diocesan bishop, Braxton is "the chief steward of the mysteries of God in the particular church entrusted to my care and as the guardian of the whole of the liturgical life of this Diocese." It also stated that Braxton had been "informed" that when Margason was pastor of St. Luke’s Church in Belleville, parishioners sometimes remained standing during the Eucharistic Prayer.
"Now, however, the members of the congregation at St. Luke’s Parish kneel as they should," the letter stated.
Margason was the vicar general under former Bishops Wilton Gregory and James Keleher.
Braxton, who was installed as bishop in 2005, also wrote, "Please inform your parishioners that, at my instruction, they must begin following the liturgical norm of kneeling during the entire Eucharistic Prayer."
A publication titled "General Instruction of the Roman Missal," printed by the Catholic Order of St. Benedict in Collegeville, Minn., [sigh] states that those attending Mass should kneel during the Eucharistic Prayer when it is "reasonable." Situations where it might not be reasonable, according to the article, include reasons of health, lack of space and the number of persons present.
It is not uncommon to see elderly people sitting during the Eucharistic Prayer, or people standing on crowded Masses at Easter and Christmas.
I am glad the bishop stressed the importance of kneeling, even though reasonable accomodation must be made when it simply isn’t possible.
However, lack of a kneeler does not make kneeling impossible.
It just makes kneeling a little closer to the ground… like real kneeling.
This poll came with the story. The good guys are winning. Let’s keep an eye on it.