Another angle on kneeling for Communion

Michael Voris, of RealCatholicTV, has an interesting observation about something he saw in Nigeria compared to common practice in the USA.


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  1. DisturbedMary says:

    Reminds me of Lourdes and the pilgrims who travel on their knees to petition Our Lady.

  2. tcreek says:

    Michael Voris is not allowed to speak as a “Real Catholic” don’t you know? Some bishop or staff said so.

  3. APX says:

    I have seen the knee crawling thing at my parish. Not on the way up for communion, but during adoration, both in the church and in our perpetual adoration chapel.

  4. haribo says:

    I’m not sure Michael Voris is right when he speaks about what the bishops and chancery “would do,” if something like this happened. Honestly, who would really care if someone walked on their knees back to their pew? Unless they’re tripping people, in which case they’d need to stop, most people would think they person was either foreign or just a little off. And if a pastor mandated it someplace where the practice was completely foreign (like North America), he’s acting outside his bounds and should be corrected. This is one of the only Voris videos I’ve watched, but if he takes the same accusatory tone towards the hierarchy with every hypothetical issue, I can see why he causes problems.

  5. tealady24 says:

    Well, I like that!
    “Kneel-crawling thing”? Isn’t it called adoration? Isn’t this our Lord, body, blood, soul & divinity?

  6. John UK says:

    As a teenager, [not that long ago – well four decades!] I recall it was customary to kneel in the queue for the rail (though to walk forwards): and if someone didn’t, then one heard Father’s “Kneel down for our Lord, my dears, kneel down for our Lord.” Ditto if he was descending to the nave to bring Holy Communion to someone unable to physically make it to the rail.

    Autre temps, autre moeurs!

    Kind regards,
    John U.K.

  7. disco says:

    The chasuble the priest is wearing in that video is quite nice as well

  8. mamajen says:

    I grew up in a parish where we used the altar rail and received communion on the tongue. I loved it. However, I think it’s important to respect the norms of a parish, assuming they are licit and reverent, of course. Over-the-top actions by a few run the risk of seeming pharisaic or show-offish and distract attention from the mass. It’s a delicate situation. I have a few “preferences” that I insist on as far as possible (I don’t hold hands for the Our Father, I don’t receive communion in the hands), but I try to be discreet about it so as not to draw attention for myself. Insisting on using the altar rail is not something I do, and I think “kneel-walking” is far too extreme (in a parish where that is not the custom).

  9. digdigby says:

    To quote Rutger Hauer in BLADERUNNER “I have seen things you wouldn’t believe… ”
    Rewrite the litany of horrors this galactic slave speaks of… and replace them with some of the liturgical abuses of the last forty years.

  10. Supertradmum says:

    haribo, I know of one Church where those coming up to Communion on their knees were asked to stop. In Europe.

  11. mrose says:

    How beautiful and inspiring. I surmise to say that those faithful know Who they are receiving.

  12. Years ago at a regular diocesan Mass, I genuflected whilst the person in front of me was receiving. When I went to receive, the priest scolded me for “confusing the person behind” me by genuflecting. Then, when I tilted my head back to receive on the tongue, he scolded me again and said, “Hold out your hands!” I pretended not to hear him (still standing their in the awkward position of having my tongue out.) He said much louder, “HOLD OUT YOUR HANDS!” I looked at him and said softly, “I prefer to receive on the tongue, Father.” He said… “NO!” as he pushed my shoulder to move me away from him. So when Michael says there would be an outcry for approaching on your knees….I AGREE!!!

  13. Christine111 says:

    That’s absolutely horrible, Colleen! Unbelievable.

  14. Trad Tom says:

    Michael Voris “causes problems,” as Haribo puts it, because he speaks the truth and is not afraid to do so. I don’t care what others may say: I love the guy and his truth-baring apostolate.

  15. irishgirl says:

    DisturbedMary-the ‘knee crawling’ is also done at Fatima. There’s a path that goes from the entrance to the shrine grounds all the way to the Capelinha (Little Chapel of the Apparitions).
    And of course, St. Bernadette herself did the penitential knee crawl when Our Lady asked her to ‘for the conversion of sinners.’
    Colleen Hammond-that is an awful experience you went through! You say that the priest actually pushed you away just because you genuflected and then told him in a gentle tone of voice that you preferred Communion on the tongue?

  16. Ted says:

    Also, the altar seems to be oriented for ad Dominum worship, and the priest seems to be wearing a maniple.

  17. mamajen says:

    I’m sorry you went through that, Colleen. I had a similar experience (albeit not quite so bad) when I was at college. I always receive on the tongue, and one day a grumpy extraordinary minister told me “we don’t do that here!” I was shocked, and I’m sorry to say it put me off receiving communion for several months lest I encounter that man and/or someone with a similar opinion again. Of course I could have simply received in the hand from then on, but it felt wrong to “cave” simply because of my fears…and so I just didn’t go up at all. I didn’t write or speak to anyone in the diocese about it because one of the priests at the parish had a fondness for picking apart his conservative critics in the homily. It was a sad, sad time. Years later a priest asked me to be an EM (not ideal, I know, but a very large parish with 1 priest) and it gave me tremendous joy to distribute the Eucharist on the tongue.

  18. Dismas says:

    Even from 5000 miles away, Voris’s divisive, imbalanced, hypercritical rhetoric still manages to set my teeth on edge. Maybe I’m wrong but frankly, I really don’t see much difference in his tactics from that of a priest publicly humiliating a communicant at Mass by demanding they receive the Eucharist in the hand and not on the tongue.

  19. stilicho says:

    Michael Voris is spot on as usual.

  20. Athanasius says:

    DisturbedMary-the ‘knee crawling’ is also done at Fatima. There’s a path that goes from the entrance to the shrine grounds all the way to the Capelinha (Little Chapel of the Apparitions).
    And of course, St. Bernadette herself did the penitential knee crawl when Our Lady asked her to ‘for the conversion of sinners.’

    Yes, but the monstrosity of an ecumenical, formless and neoteric shrine that the bishop recently completed in Fatima was for the purpose of preventing pilgrims from making this knee crawling.

  21. Johnno says:

    @ Dismas

    Despite the exaggeration of words on Voris’ part, this is precisely the sort of thing that is happening.

    And besides, which, Our Lord Jesus Christ also used hyperbole and exaggeration, and Our Lord was divisive, and some might even call Him imbalanced, hypercritical and intolerant… But He is God and He used such language to get the seriousness of his points across. Because the fact is that being softspoken and gentle all the time will get you nowhere with many of the folks who need to be confronted about a great many things.

    You say you don’t see a difference, but there is one. Voris is rightly criticizing bishops and parishes who are not doing their job or giving Catholics who wish to be reverential their right to receive Communion in the manner they desire. Whereas a priest publicly humiliating someone to receive in a certain way is simply wrong and has no right to, especially when there is no disturbance being caused to those around them. Kneeling or genuflecting might be one thing, but I don’t see how reception on the tongue will upset the persons around or behind you. This priest I’ll bet is the sort our Lord referred to back in his times as scoundrels and vipers. Very colorful language! Even Voris never goes that far… And then there are all those other saints and Church doctors who’d express the same situations in other eloquent manners…

  22. Yes, Christine, IrishGirl and MamaJen…. it was a horrible and awful experience. Being denied the Sacrament by a priest simply because I refused to receive in the hand is something I never thought would happen. And it’s not an isolated incident! I’ve heard the same thing as MamaJen–“We don’t do that here!”

    Like you, MamaJen, after that I felt awkward and distracted going to receive our Lord and I struggled with the “singularity” issue. But my Spiritual Director set me straight–showing reverence and respect for Jesus in the Eucharist is NOT a bad thing!

    Funny thing about Michael Voris–people will say they don’t like his tone or his approach, but I’ve yet to see anyone (maybe I’m missing something) point out any ERRORS in what he says. My daughter (17) says that he’s a very masculine man who isn’t afraid to speak his mind and express his opinion, and maybe people just aren’t used to that kind of masculinity anymore! ;-)

  23. Lorenz says:

    people will say they don’t like his tone or his approach

    For a more visible example of this, has anyone seen the disgusting assaults on Michael Voris by the blogger Mark Shea? For about the last year Shea has been obsessing over RCTV and blogging and ampliphying any dirt he could find.

  24. wmeyer says:

    As to Voris, I think what people really don’t like is the points he is making, because they don’t agree, or it would make them change their lives if they listened seriously.

    As to Shea, he reminds me of my sister-in-law: loudly self-righteous, self-identified as Christian, and exceedingly quick to judge, and to gossip.

  25. Supertradmum says:

    Voris only irritates those who do not want to hear the message. I remember a student long ago who told me she did not listen in class or take notes because she did not like the way I dressed. Similar stupidity.

  26. inara says:

    another interesting observation from this video: all the women appear to have their heads covered.

  27. mamajen says:

    This is only the second Voris video I’ve seen, so I don’t really have an opinion of him one way or the other. In this video, though, it seems that he is citing a rather extreme example as a comparison to the worst examples here, and then going overboard predicting the kind of response such behavior would elicit here in the states. In the video we saw a mass in a foreign country, in a tiny church where kneel crawling is apparently the norm. Maybe they do it out of reverence, maybe they do it out of tradition, or maybe they do it for the same reasons as those “protestant” ideas he mentions. Who really knows? That kneel crawling would not be received well over here (where there is zero precedence for it and much larger churches where it would be completely impractical, by the way) should not reflect poorly on American Catholics, IMO. He started out telling us about liturgical abuses in Nigeria, so obviously the fact that kneel crawling is allowed there isn’t an indication that the Church is in better shape overall there. I’m kind of at a loss as to the point of his argument…unless he is commenting on the freedom aspect, which I guess I can see. Perhaps I am over thinking what he was trying to say.

  28. Supertradmum says:


    There is precedence in America for such crawling on the knees. My mother who is 84 said that when she was a child in Holy Week in St. Louis, the people crawled up to reverence the Cross, or in her Church, the Holy Image of the Dead Christ at St. John Nepomucene. Also, in some Byzantine Catholic Churches, this type of kneeling and indeed, complete prostration on the floor is common during Holy Week. I have been in two parishes where the laity did this in the aisles. It was an amazing experience. I wish we did it more.

    And, I think his point was that this is the real aspect of reverence as compared to liturgical abuses. Someone, maybe you, may know the saint who stated that at the Elevation of the Host, all the angels knelt, and that if we understood the Presence of God in the Eucharist, we would enter Church on our knees. Might have been St. Alphonsus, but do not know.

  29. mamajen says:


    I think it’s risky to equate outward actions with reverence. If all of those kneel crawlers in the video were moved by a true understanding of Who they were receiving, then that is wonderful and admirable. I can’t assume such, however. My husband is a convert who came from a “high” Anglican upbringing, and my mother-in-law has liked to tell me that they are “more” Catholic than actual Catholics because of the mass style with lots of smoke and the hymns they use. Tradition is big for them. But they completely skip over aspects of the Catholic faith that they don’t particularly enjoy.

    I also cannot assume that all Catholics who participate in liturgical abuses do so with full knowledge that they are being irreverent. In fact, perhaps they believe that some of their crazier antics ARE a show of reverence. Who knows.

    I guess perhaps the point of all of this is that our leaders are not doing their jobs properly. They are allowing abuses to take root, discouraging those who want to be more reverent, and failing to educate people as to WHY we should desire to return to our traditional practices.

    I still think that kneel crawling here in the states is I’ll-advised because it would interfere with the mass (many parishes are large and have tight mass schedules), and it would attract undue attention to the individual. Of all the things that we do wrong over here, I don’t think the fact that kneel crawling would seem out-of-place or even be discouraged is a symptom of our shortcomings.

  30. Dismas says:

    Poison concealed in the wine of truth is no less deadly, the wine only makes the venom more palatable, it’s effects stealth…

  31. Johnno says:

    @ mamajen

    I recommend checking out Voris’ past videos as this is just the latest example of a theme that’s being carried on, where the point is that Western Bishops have been far and wide taking measures that discourage reverence of the Eucharist, and that indeed for a long time there has been an evil and covert agenda within the Church by it’s enemies to destroy belief in the Eucharist, and they use subliminal means beginning with the treatment and reverential discipline for handling and accepting the Eucharist. As usual, people’s beliefs are conditioned and reinforced by their actions. When receiving the Eucharist in a casual way, they are never reinforced by the full impact of what we have before us. God’s body and blood, more precious than gold and diamonds, or any valuable trinket in this world! The Eucharist is a mystery, the priest is a consecrated person and only he should be allowed to handle it because he is special and because the Eucharist is special and we are all unworthy of it. We therefore beg God for His mercy and to deliver us, and God reaches out to us and enters us as His OWN action, not ours, we are only to receive it and receive it reverently because our LIFE DEPENDS ON IT!!!

    Who is more likely to understand all this and believe in the real presence? One receiving in their hands or one receiving it by crawling to it on their knees as Cardinal Arinze aid we ought to do if we actually believed it, as even a Muslim man admits that if he were to believe it he’d be lying prostrate before it. I am not saying that those receiving it in the hand do not believe this as well. But it is undeniably true that the likelihood of which Catholics do not believe in the real presence are likely the ones who would balk at the idea of kneeling for it, and misunderstand that Communion is not something you take for yourself, it’s something you receive, but we use our hands to take everyday, and this risks making the communicant think that they are taking communion. Besides which, if Catholics want the world to take them seriously that that is God in that little host of bread, then they should take pains and inconvenience themselves in their actions to honor it and receive it. Today the Communion processions is more comparable to a fast food line, next, next, next! Can we finally leave now?

    Thus it is no wonder that given years of practicing and treating the Eucharist like this, priests and bishops don’t bar immoral politicians from the Sacraments and the apostates see no reason why they shouldn’t continue taking it, as if it was some kind of ‘right.’ Communion in the hand, originally an abuse but allowed under grave circumstances, is now become the norm. And one shoudl rightly ask whether the bishops allowed this to be out of a belief that it would provide greater understanding and appreciation for the Eucharist (it’s done precisely the opposite), or simply because Catholics and priests were already abusing reception in the hand anyway, so they thought they’d just go along to get along because as we all know getting along is better and easier than correcting or disciplining someone, God forbid, we might have to actually teach them about the Eucharist in order for them to understand why we should be more reverent… This is the sort of mentality that led to some priests I’d heard who were involved with marriage tribunals who thought, it’s better to annul all the cases presented to them, even when there were no grounds for annulment, because these people were likely to commit adultery anyway by marrying someone else, so by annulling it, they therefore somehow protect them from the sin of adultery… What a pathetic state the Church has become… Who needs the Church to become democratic when priests and bishops are used to caving in anyway?

    I believe that the bishops and priests should take the trouble not to discourage reception of holy Communion against the now-accepted-norm-that-was-once-the-exception, but to encourage others to follow the example if they can. It’s be perfect for introducing a discussion on what the Eucharist is and why it’s important… something the majority of Catholics have a problem in believing.

  32. Christine111 says:

    Despite what some may say about Michael’s “tone”, it’s a fact that his apostolate has been successful in drawing many souls back to the faith–so clearly his tone appeals to a number of people.

    There is room in the Church for all types of saints–those who whisper, and those who shout from the rooftops (although, frankly, I don’t know of many saints who whispered).

    You save souls your way; let Michael save souls his way!

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