QUAERITUR: Sitting instead of kneeling during the Consecration.

From a reader:

First, thank you for your internet ministry and your tireless promotion of the liturgical use of Latin.

My parish is being renovated and Mass is temporarily being celebrated in a nearby university chapel. Since the chapel is non-denominational, it lacks kneelers. While my parish typically kneels during the consecration, the congregation has taken to sitting after the Sanctus while in the university chapel.

I recall hearing that the only licit postures for the congregation during the Eucharistic prayer are standing or, where permitted, kneeling. However, I also recall reading that the GIRM stresses the importance of uniformity of posture during the Mass. In light of these two considerations, what should one do when an entire congregation assumes an incorrect posture during the Mass?

Let’s be clear. Kneeling for the consecration is not permitted.

It is required.

It is the universal law in the Latin Church that the faithful kneel for the consecration. GIRM 43 says that we kneel the epiclesis to the “Mysterium Fidei“.

However, there is particular law in the USA. The practice in the USA is to kneel from after the Sanctus until the end of the Doxology, that is, during the entire Eucharistic Prayer:

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. The faithful kneel after the Agnus Dei unless the Diocesan Bishop determines otherwise. (GIRM 43.3)

Any local variation, such as standing or sitting for the consecration, would require permission from Rome granted in a document.

However, a person can excuse herself from kneeling if, for reasons of health, lack of space, the large number of people present, or some other good reason, she cannot kneel. Common sense applies.

About the no kneelers issue. I recall the story of an American Cardinal Archbishop visiting the seminary within his territory. In the “renovation” of the chapel the kneelers had been removed. When the Cardinal expressed his desire that the seminarians kneel, the rector pointed to the fact that there were no kneelers and there was no longer any money to put them in. The Cardinal responded: “Who said anything about using kneelers?”

Again, if it is physically too hard to kneel, people are excused. Most people can kneel on the floor for a while.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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  1. Sixupman says:

    Churches sans kneelers is common in France and even some in the UK.

  2. Suburbanbanshee says:

    Most people can kneel on the floor, if the chairs aren’t set up so close together as to leave no room for kneeling. (And in places where there are young people, the default is to set up chairs so close together that chubby people can’t fit, and tall people have no legroom.)

    Needless to say, proper setup of chairs does allow kneeling, and is safer and more comfortable.

  3. Texas trad says:

    It’s a no brainer…..put the kneelers back!

  4. acardnal says:

    Not kneeling during the Consecration and having no kneelers in church was/is a pet peeve of Mother Angelica. I remember her on her TV show being very upset about this issue so she invented portable foam kneelers and made them available to viewers through her catalog store and told viewers to use them – even if it meant they were the only one kneeling in church!

    I have always knelt during the Eucharistic Prayer in church’s without kneelers.

  5. jprioli says:

    @Fr. Z: I seem to recall from that story that the money for kneelers was somehow found.

  6. Inigo says:

    I never really got the idea of “confortable kneeling”. If it hurts, offer up the pain, if it doesn’t, be very grateful, and offer up your gratitude. Just a question: if Jesus would suddenly appear before you, what would you do? Would you immediately fall on your knees, no matter what, or would you start looking for a kneeler? I saw 80+ year olds, barely standing getting on their knees in the street on the bare ground when they saw the Blessed Sacrament in procession, and stayed that way until Our Blessed Lord was out of sight!

    If somebody truly belives in the Real Presence, and is passionately in love with Our Lord, for that person, kneeling is not just an option, or some rubric, it is the way to be.

  7. chantgirl says:

    I went to a confirmation at a church that was attached to a school. The church had had its’ kneelers ripped out. The result was that many of the younger children could not even see the altar if they actually knelt in the pews. They were just staring at the back of a pew. This seems to be a pretty good way to keep children from kneeling, or depriving them of the sight of the Eucharistic Lord. How exclusionary!

  8. APX says:

    When the Cardinal expressed his desire that the seminarians kneel, the rector pointed to the fact that there were no kneelers […] The Cardinal responded: “Who said anything about using kneelers?”

    This reminded me of my first time go to Mass in a new parish that was built with big plush comfy pews, but when I stuck my foot out to put down the kneeler after communion (This was in Canada and we only recently started to kneel for the consecration, but now remain standing after communion) and was met with air rather than a kneeler. Without even thinking about it, I knelt on the ground in prayer because that was what you’re supposed to do after receiving communion. I quickly noticed I was the only one kneeling.

    I also made an interesting observation yesterday at our church picnic. whilst praying the rosary I find it more comfortable to actually kneel with bare knees on pavement, than it it to kneel on kneelers. Kneelers seem to put all the weight on the knees causing undue stress, whereas the weight is more evenly distributed over the lower leg when kneeling on the ground or a full size step.

    The only time I recall not kneeling was during school Masses held in the gym where you’re sitting on bleachers, which don’t make kneeling possible.

  9. anilwang says:

    Relating to the “story of an American Cardinal Archbishop” story, I once went to the local university parish for daily mass. I noticed that it was small with thick wall to wall carpets and lacked kneelers. I was a bit upset, but I would not let this stopping me from kneeling. I was pleasantly surprised that everyone knelt as well when the required times arrived, and I was also pleasantly surprised that kneeling on the soft carpet was easier than kneeling on the kneelers.

    That said, even though faithful Catholics don’t need kneelers to kneel, I still prefer kneelers (or no pews as the traditional Eastern Rite with full prostrations) since they remind the unfaithful or poorly catechized that kneeling is part of the Latin Rite.

  10. skypilot777 says:

    When I took my wife and kids on vacation to the Outer Banks of North Carolina, we went to a very large and modern looking parish (it actually looked like a warehouse from the outside and not too different inside) for Mass. There was a very “forcefully” enunciated message from the Bishop of the diocese that we were NOT TO KNEEL AT ANY TIME during the “worship service”. Oddly enough, the warehouse/church was furnished with kneelers.
    We were however encouraged to purchase incense to burn in dishes distributed around the “spiritual fountain” of which the presider was so proud.
    My question is: Does this bishop have permission in writing from Rome to order the negation of the GIRM?

  11. acardnal says:

    skypilot777: Sadly, the abuses continue. Another example for Summorum Pontificum as Fr. Z would say.

  12. Darren says:

    I occasionally go to weekday mass at a nearby parish that does not have kneelers in the chapel they use… so I kneel on the floor (I am usually only one of maybe two or three of the 20-30 or so who does). When I am not feeling well I sometimes stay in the “gathering space” of the church where I can see but not transmit my cold to others (and not have to sniffle or blow my nose in the pew) – when I feel well enough to go – I will kneel on the hard floor. If it is raining that day, my umbrella offers some support! It is not that difficult for the average person without knee problems. Yes, it hurts a bit by the time of consecration… but, offer it up.

    I remember when the diocese had the rule of standing for the entire Eucharistic Prayer, instead of kneeling… …I can’t imagine that at all today! Back then (maybe 12-15 years ago – I forget which bishop it was at the time) I wasn’t the Catholic I am today, I was more of a Catholic-INO back then.

  13. Sissy says:

    The church I usually attend has hard folding chairs crammed so tightly into rows that you can barely pass, let alone kneel. I’ve only seen one person kneel the entire time I’ve attended, and I only found out from this post that I’m supposed to. I feel sick (and really dumb). I have no problem kneeling on the floor; I feel horrible I’ve been sitting there. I should have known better, because we always knelt in the Anglican church, but I figured it was just one more thing about the Catholic liturgy that I had to get used to. Wow.

  14. A similar story from Atlanta: Shortly after his appointment in 1993, Archbishop Donoghue (RIP) published a statement in the diocesan newspaper that kneeling would now be required. As I recall, a pastor wrote a letter pointing out that his church had been built without kneelers, to which Ab. Donoghue replied that the his new policy merely required all Catholics to kneel, it did not require all churches to have kneelers. Indeed, the traditional Latin Mass community that was established in Atlanta at about that time, met for a time in a Maronite church without kneelers–the Maronites stand a la the Orthodox–but many carried kneeling cushions with them each Sunday.

  15. TMKent says:

    In eastern North Carolina (NC has two diocese), Bishop Burbidge has determined that the faithful should all stand following communion ( see GIRM 43.3 above). Any effort by an individual parish to expand his directive to the consecration is outside the GIRM. Many individual parishes in the Raleigh Diocese still kneel per their pastor’s directive (individuals are always permitted of course, but this is not their Bishop’s desire ). The bigger broblem that I notice is when individuals from the Raliegh Diocese attend mass in the Charlotte Diocese and make a noticable point to stand after communion when everyone else kneels (as is desirected by the Charlotte Bishop, perhaps under a mistaken idea that their Bishop is “correct”. My understanding (plz corect me Fr. Z.) is that kneeling is always permissable (after communion) but standing must be at the Bishops’s directive.

  16. ajf1984 says:

    As parents of three young boys (3.5 yrs, 16 mos., and almost 2 mos.), my wife and I often have to take at least one of the little ones into the vestibule at some time during Mass (we try to avoid the ‘cry rooms,’ mostly because they 1)increase the distractions, both visually and audibly, and 2)are often little more than lounges for the older siblings and even the parents to catch up on the latest Cosmo issue, or check Facebook, etc…but that’s another topic). We will always kneel as much as possible during the Eucharistic Prayer (with intermittent burst of jumping up and running after one of the lads as needed!) even out there in the ‘gathering space,’ where there are no kneelers. I never understood the logic behind the “no kneelers, no kneeling” concept, barring of course those who are physically impaired from kneeling on the bare floor. As Inigo said, for those who can kneel (albeit somewhat uncomfortably), there’s a great little mortification there to offer Our Lord, and if it is comfortable, let’s be grateful and offer our gratitude as well!

  17. Supertradmum says:

    In most European churches , there are no kneellers. One kneels on the stone floors. Same in Malta. Sadly, many Maltese sit, but many who are in the Church there are older than I am.

    Anglican ladies have a nice custom of making kneeling cushions.

    Kneel, regardless, unless because of health, you cannot. I had to give up kneeling at taking the Host, as they churches here do not use lovely altar railings. I hurt my knee and cannot get up at all gracefully.

    But, I kneel on the floor in the pews.

  18. Supertradmum says:

    kneelers–spellcheck is not helping on this one–sorry

  19. wmeyer says:

    The parish I attend is currently renovating its church, and Mass is now held in the parish hall, where chairs have been placed with insufficient room to kneel.

    I used to attend daily Mass at another parish, where the chapel was built with pews which are reversible. Uncomfortable, but that is as nothing to the very unhappy geometry of kneelers attached to reversible pews. I soon learned that it was much less stressful to sit in the front row and kneel on the carpeted floor than to use those kneelers.

  20. skypilot777: Apparently the no-kneeling statement you quoted was incorrect (perhaps out of date). The Diocese of Raleigh (NC) has an uncommonly excellent looking statement of general norms for liturgy:


    Following are the diocesan norms for kneeling during the Eucharistic prayer:

    75. In the Dioceses of the United States, the assembly is to kneel after the singing or recitation of the Sanctus (Holy, Holy) until after the Great Amen of the Eucharistic Prayer, except when prevented by reason of health, lack of space, the large number of people present, lack of kneelers or other good cause.109 Those who do not kneel should make a profound bow when the priest genuflects following the elevations of the ciboria or paten and the chalice.

    76. If deacons of the Word and of the Eucharist are present, they are to kneel from the Epiclesis until the elevation of the chalice. This norm does not apply to those deacons who are unable to kneel for reasons of health and/or age.

  21. Gratias says:

    During the last few years of Cardinal Mahony’s tenure people were asked NOT to kneel. We had kneelers but most obeyed the “no need to kneel” indication from the parish priest. It was awful because we kneeled anyway. There was no kneeling at any point. Even today most in our NO parish stand after communion instead of kneeling, but at least with Abp. Gomez we kneel at consecration.

    In Europe it is common not to have kneelers. If so, I sit near at the aisle and then kneel on the aisle during consecration for there is not enough space.

  22. Nathan says:

    skypilot777 and cardnal,

    Your anecdote about the lack of kneeling on the Outer Banks piqued my curiosity. That’s in the diocese of Raleigh, and Bishop Burbridge has been a supporter of the TLM and the implementation of Summorum Pontificum. He had the entire diocese offer a novena for the recovery from cancer of a fine young seminarian who is openly attached to the TLM. It didn’t compute that there would be a forceful decree from the bishop not to kneel.

    I looked on the diocesan website and came across Bishop Burbridge’s guidelines for the celebration of Holy Mass (Ordinary Form). Here’s what he has directed re kneeling:

    75. In the Dioceses of the United States, the assembly is to kneel after the singing or recitation of the Sanctus (Holy, Holy) until after the Great Amen of the Eucharistic Prayer, except when prevented by reason of health, lack of space, the large number of people present, lack of kneelers or other good cause.109 Those who do not kneel should make a profound bow when the priest genuflects following the elevations of the ciboria or paten and the chalice.110

    83. The assembly is to kneel following the conclusion of the Agnus Dei (Lamb of God) as a sign of humility before the Presence of Christ, the Lamb of God, Who is about to be received by the faithful in Holy Communion.120

    92. The normative posture for the reception of the Holy Communion in the Dioceses of the United States is standing.133 However, communicants are not to be denied Holy Communion because they kneel.134

    My guess is that there may have been some misrepresentation about the bishop’s intent in the Mass you attended, or they may have been using a decree from the bishop about 20 years ago. A clue about where they may be coming from was on the parish website, which pointed out that it was staffed by an order rather than diocesan priests (and the statements about “being inclusive” weren’t exactly lining up with what I saw as the bishop’s priorities on the diocesan website). While it’s not useful to over-generalize, there are some orders that are behind many dioceses in getting rid of the liturgical “spirit of Vatican II.”

    Reason #54,675 why I’m glad not to have the responsibilities of a bishop….

    In Christ,

  23. Nathan says:

    Henry Edwards, you scooped me once again. It’s an honor to be thinking along the same lines as the distinguished gentleman from Knoxville!

    In Christ,

  24. Prof. Basto says:

    This is starting to become a problem for me. I have had three knee surgeries, two on the right knee, and one on the left knee. I now usually walk with a cane outdoors, for better balance when walking the streets. Stairs, steps (even going up one single step), slopes and ramps are worse for my knees, and painful. A straight plan, like a normal street, is better, but after a few blocks it gets painful too. A condition known as “condropathy” has developed and progressed, and I now have osteoarthritis, but knee replacement surgery is not yet recommended. Because the artificial knee parts have a short lifetime (10, 15 years), and in order to avoid multiple replacement surgeries, this needs to be postponed as much as possible. Instead, I do constant physical therapy, for years now, and I try to avoid anti-inflamatory drugs and painkillers as much as possible, due to their adverse effects.

    Because of my condition, kneeling, even for a while, is particularly painful, especially if the surface on which one kneels is hard. Some churches have soft, cushioned kneelers, but most have only the usual bare wood bar on which the parishoner is to kneel.

    In the Novus Ordo, I have no problem kneeling, since it is only for the quick moment of the Consecration, and that is usually not sufficient for the pain to get unbeareble. The pain usually starts as a light pain, and then increases exponentially with the passage of time while the position is maintained. So, in the Novus Ordo, kneeling is not a problem.

    And I make a point of kneeling (although I believe I would be excused per the laws of the Church on difficulty grounds), because: (i) it is Jesus Christ there in hidden in the Eucharist, and if I saw Him with His hair, His eyes, his nose, his arms, etc., I would certainly fall on my knees even if it were very painful, and thus I feel obliged to show the same reverence towards the Eucharist; (ii) there are multitudes of people who ignore the posture commanded by Holy Church and simply stand during the Consacration, and I do not like to associate myself with that attitude. So, even though I am the one that would have legitimate grounds to stand, I kneel. If perhaps the parishoner on my side gets unconfortable because he is standing while I’m kneeling holding a cane, and that discomfort leads him to kneel, then good, I managed to bring one fellow Churchgoer to the correct position.

    In the TLM, however, a true problem takes place. There are so many moments when one is required to kneel, that my energies are quickly worn out before the Consecration. Still, I usually remain kneeling during the whole Canon, but when I rise for the Pater Noster I’m usually in a high degree of pain. So, there was one occasion when I could not continue standing, and just kind of collapsed, full of sweat, and sat in the pew from the Pater Noster until the end of the Mass. I only rose to go to Communion, and at that point I knelt as usual. I left the Church with swollen and stiff knees. Which leads me to my problem:

    The incidents of greater pain are on the increase. What should I do? Kneel only during the Canon and Holy Communion? I feel as if that would be akin to adopt a Novus Ordo system of postures for a TLM, and that certainly would generate criticism from my fellow TLM goers. But I simply cannot continue kneeling during all the prescribed times.

  25. Supertradmum says:

    Prof Basto, will pray for you on this point. Your pain is a sacrifice.

  26. APX says:

    76. If deacons of the Word and of the Eucharist are present, they are to kneel from the Epiclesis until the elevation of the chalice. This norm does not apply to those deacons who are unable to kneel for reasons of health and/or age.

    The only deacons I have ever witnessed kneeling were transitional deacons. For some reason I all the permanent deacons I see remain standing and mimic the priest’s outstretched arms.

  27. Nathan says:

    Prof. Basto, God bless you! From my own experience serving at the TLM, I have seen a good number of saintly people who haven’t been able to kneel because of medical conditions, and I don’t think it has ever been cause for criticism. In fact, I have noticed much less of an insistence on lay conformity at the TLM than I have at the Novus Ordo (even thirty years ago at Masses offered by the SSPX).

    As a dear trad friend of mine (may she rest in peace) once pointed out, there were different kneeling practices by the faithful in geographic regions prior to the liturgical changes, and when someone in the US criticized a European for not kneeling at the “proper time,” he told the American to go to hell, he’d kneel when he was darned well supposed to.

    I am a server occasionally at the TLM, and it is a regular occurrence that people with knee problems come to the gate in the center of the altar rail and stand for Holy Communion. I have also had to open the gate to allow Father to go to the pew to distribute Holy Communion to someone who could not kneel and had difficulty coming to the altar rail.

    Please do not be worried, it’s really ok to offer your infirmities with the Holy Sacrifice and to sit if you have to.

    In Christ,

  28. APX says:

    @Prof. Basto
    As far as the TLM goes, I can’t see it a problem for you to sit during the kneeling parts, and you can receiving communion standing if you can’t kneel. I don’t think any TLM goers would notice, and even if they did criticize you for it, I wouldn’t worry about it. Those who would criticize you for this, would find something else to criticize you about any way. I understand your concerns about being criticized for adopting NO practices. I find myself worrying at times about saying “Holy Spirit” instead of “Holy Ghost” when I pray because that’s how I learned to pray, (save for that weird rap prayer that needed a word that rhymed with “most”, but I digress), but it’s not what traditionalists say.

  29. nykash says:

    “Who said anything about using kneelers?”

    Indeed! The cluster that I attend mass has very old, mostly uncomfortable kneelers. Keep in mind I’m not complaining; it’s a nice penance.

    My wife and I attended a local mass where the congregation stood after receiving communion. We both knelt; after mass, people pointed at us as we made our way to the car. Needless to say, we never went back and found a good, orthodox parish.

  30. Elizabeth D says:

    There are kneelers at the churches I attend but I kneel directly on the floor anyway, unless I am sitting right next to someone who insists on using the kneeler. Most people could kneel on the floor with no problem though everyone understands some people have physical infirmities. It is not a long enough period of time to hurt you, in either form of the Mass. Makes no sense when I go to an event with a Mass that isn’t in a Church, and everyone but me stands simply because there are no kneelers. Fifteen decades of the rosary kneeling on concrete, is a sacrifice, but even so you will typically be back to normal 2 minutes later.

  31. Johnno says:

    Odd that ‘no kneelers’ is an excuse. I’d just kneel on the floor. That’s simply what many people would do in India. In fact, in India, most parishes I’ve been to that have kneelers don’t have any nice comfortable cushioning. It’s just hard wood. I never ever saw kneeling as supposed to be a comfortable thing. Then again growing up, the Catholic schools would punish us young boys by having us kneel on the floor int he corner for a length of time. That’s when suitable corporal punishment was normal, don’t know if that’s the case today. But I always saw kneeling as an act of penance. So kneeling during Mass made sense in that light.

  32. (X)MCCLXIII says:

    This thread and the neighbouring one about kneeling for communion highlight for me a difference that I have observed between the US and England. Over there you seem (forgive me!) very bossy about all kinds of things*. And I wonder whatever happened to the idea that there are no rubrics for the laity? But Nathan made a good point:

    “I have noticed much less of an insistence on lay conformity at the TLM than I have at the Novus Ordo”

    and I wonder whether this insistence on conformity that one hears of and even sees from time to time is a side-effect of a misplaced emphasis on external “participation”.

    Of course the faithful should kneel, so far as they are able!

    * We are getting bossier than we were :(

  33. Sissy says:

    Isn’t it interesting that the progressive crowd wants lockstep conformity from the laity, yet believes the priests should be free to innovate at will?

  34. wmeyer says:

    Sissy, even worse, I spent time in a parish where the progressive laity believe they can tell the pastor what to do in the liturgy.

  35. Sissy says:

    wmeyer: Oh yes, I’ve seen that one! Before Holy Week, the DRE told my RCIA class that our Bishop had sent out a letter to the priests of the parish advising them they were were not to perform foot-washing on women. She told that the priest said he couldn’t possibly tell the women that because “You know how that would go over; I’m not telling them that!”

  36. Sid says:

    I thank Henry and Nathan for setting the record straight regarding the Diocese of Raleigh, its liturgical practice, and its fine bishop.

  37. Aegidius says:

    People appear to over extrapolate their local European experience. While the no-kneeler policy may be true in many of the quasi apostatic Belgian dioceses (as I had to learn this spring), in Bavaria, Germany, Austria, South Tyrolia, Switzerland the overwhelming majority of churches still has, and uses, kneelers. Jawohl!

  38. Jenny says:

    This is one of my pet peeves. Our parish is in a store-front right now while money is raised to build a permanent building. The choir is up front to the right off the altar. It isn’t ideal, but there’s not a whole lot of places they can go–it is just a store front. The piano player usually stays seated which I can understand since she would have to get up and down several times. The cantor kneels. The women in the choir behind the cantor usually kneel. The men look like they are sitting in recliners watching a movie. Now I should be charitable and assume that all the men in the choir have health problems that do not seem to have afflicted the women; however, I cannot help but assume that the men have decided kneeling is unmanly and don’t want to look too pious.

  39. NoraLee9 says:

    At Holy Innocents in NYC, the 2-5 pews on the left have no kneelers. The young tale it as a challenge and kneel on the floor. Those without knees (like me) don’t kneel.
    I found that the wooden pew gets mighty hard on this arthritic pelvis during the all-night First Friday vigil. Therefore I will be the corpulent middle aged woman sitting on the cushy brown blanket in left pew number 3 this Friday night….

  40. skypilot777 says:

    Henry Edwards, TMKent, and Nathan:

    I just checked out the website of the parish of which I was speaking. It appears that there have been very many improvements since my family attended Mass there.
    I read that Bishop Burbridge was installed in that diocese in 2006. My family was at this parish in 2007. I can only conclude from your input, that Bishop Burbridge has done a lot of good for his diocese since his installment and that we may have been witnesses to the last vestiges of decay before his arrival.
    I assure you that the I have accurately quoted the statement we heard read before Mass (or “worship service”) as it were. In addition, the “spiritual fountain” and the incense were definitely NOT a figment of my imagination.
    I am very happy to see that a proper Baptismal font has been built connected to the fountain and that there is no longer any evidence of incense burning around it. Numerous other great improvements have been made to the furnishings and fixtures, including a centrally located tabernacle and a proper pipe organ. The virtual tours of the church on the website are accompanied by Gregorian chant! I hope that’s another indication of improvement there.

    acardnal: The improvements to the NC parish are heartening. (In fairness, this was the only parish I’ve ever seen in NC.) Yet I know full well that the abuses go on all over. This parish was not the first nor the last “do not kneel” parish I’ve been to, nor is it the only “spiritual fountain” with incense that I’ve ever seen. I’ve seen plenty more in my travels, and far worse has stricken my eyes.

    The rot in the Church is still widespread and we must continue to pray to Our Lord to restore it and labor as hard as we can to offer Him our help.

  41. AnnAsher says:

    “who said anything about using kneelers” Love it. Also love the diagram. Also love your measured guidance. There are times my choice is to leave or sit and hold my special needs 7 year old. I opt for the latter.

  42. fvhale says:

    Soft, cushy American kneelers are so….soft and cushy.

    I remember the first time I kneeled at a mass in Italy in a church that had wooden bench/pew furniture. Whammo! Wow, I think the tiled floor would have been more comfortable than that very hard, bare, wooden “kneeler” on the back of the bench in front of me. Kneeled much more slowly after that.

    Actually, most Sundays I kneel on the floor in my parish, because my service during mass keeps me in a place where I am not in the middle of a set of pews. No problem. My Lord died on the cross for me. I can kneel on the floor. Heck, I’d probably kneel on pointy rocks if that was necessary to receive the Body and Blood of my Lord.

    But weekdays, I get to enjoy the soft and cushy padded kneelers. Americans have nothing to complain about.

  43. Marion Ancilla Mariae says:

    Marion: “I wish people ordering other people to kneel for 10 and 15 minutes at a time would give (a) their age; (b) their weight; (c) their osteopathic and neurological condition.”

    Jamie: (An amalgam of other commenters) “Hi! I’m Jamie! I’m 22 and weigh 86 pounds and I once broke my little toe as the lead ballerina in “The Nutcracker” when I was six!”

    Marion: “Honey Babe, you kneel for as long as you want, whenever and wherever you want. Knock yourself out. I was you more years ago than I want to remember.”

    Rudolfo (another Amalgam) “Hi! I’m Rudolfo; I’m 26, weigh 150 lbs., and am in perfect health. If you find kneeling uncomfortable, understand that to show reverence to God you must kneel anyway, and if it bothers you offer it up.”

    Marion: “Hi! I’m Marion, I’m well over 40, weigh . . . shall we say more than I care to admit, and have multiple osteopathic and neurological problems. I look OK, can walk fine if I watch it, but if I knelt for even two minutes, I would spend the next 24 hours walking like Frankenstein, even with pounding Alleve and Tylenol, and wearing ice packs strapped to the kneecaps. This is a non-starter. I think God understands, although I get that you don’t.”

    OK, just my two cents. My late mother, who suffered from arthritis and Parkinsons’ disease insisted on attending Sunday Mass for many years after her advanced age and conditions would have excused her. Of course, she couldn’t kneel or stand. Just sit. And hobble in and out of her pew on her walker. Her reverence and love consisted in being there even when she would rather be in her comfortable hospital bed.

    I realize, again, that that’s not “good enough” for some people. And that’s just the way it is.

  44. John Nolan says:

    In the EF Missa Cantata the rubrics for the Missa Solemnis apply, which means standing for the orations (at the Dominus vobiscum), sitting for the epistle and offertory (and when the priest sits), standing for the Preface dialogue and again from the elevation of the chalice to the Agnus Dei. However, most devotees treat it as a low Mass and kneel for most of it. Paradoxically if they followed the OF rubrics they would be more correct.

    Anglicans tend to kneel when the celebrant says “Let us pray”. In fact, kneeling is for private devotion and adoration; the correct posture for public prayer is standing.

  45. Skeinster says:

    Without kneelers or pews (say you’re in the line for confession) I can get down and kneel without trouble. I just can’t get up again without some ungainly, not appropriate for church maneuvering.
    So I stand.
    My other situation: I’m on one of the church cleaning crews. The Blessed Sacrament is in its tabernacle on the altar, not in another little chapel. We pass in front of it a LOT while cleaning. I am not able to genuflect every time I do so- my leg would give out. I’ve settled for an initial genuflection, then a bow the rest of the time. No one else seems to have a problem with that.
    Intention counts for a lot, I think.

  46. oakdiocesegirl says:

    Unfortunately, I have seen at least one brochure for the doctor’s office-I think from the American Orthopedic Assn or something like that-which explicitly says any & all kneeling is bad & no one who wants to keep their knees should ever do it. I doubt being in church ever crossed the author’s mind, but if you meet someone who says their doc told them not to kneel, they’re probably sincere. This brochure did not have any scientific references to back up its overreaching advice.

  47. Marion Ancilla Mariae says:

    oakdiocesegirl wrote: “all kneeling is bad & no one who wants to keep their knees should ever do it. I doubt being in church ever crossed the author’s mind, but if you meet someone who says their doc told them not to kneel, they’re probably sincere.”

    A friend of ours worked twenty years as a heating and air-conditioning installer. Crawled around inside metal ducts on his knees all day long. After twenty years, his knees were completely shot. Couldn’t even walk. Used to happen to lots of these guys back in the day, and also to women who were paid to spend all day on their knees scrubbing floors and stairs in enormous buildings. Were gradually crippled by their work. Bad business. Nowadays these workers use knee pads and other joint-saving equipment, and are encouraged to take regular breaks.

    Kneeling in a stationary position (not crawling about) on a padded kneeler for 10-15 minutes a few times a week is probably different. I’m not a medical professional, but common sense would seem to suggest that if a person who is not of advanced age and who is in good physical condition, and is of close to normal weight, were to adopt a stationary kneeling position on a padded kneeler for 10 or 15 minutes per day a few times a week, and if that person experiences nothing more than slight discomfort (i.e., no sharp pain or burning sensation in the knee area), then kneeling does not represent a health problem for that person.

    If on the other hand, the person is of advanced age, and / or is significantly underweight or overweight, and / or if there are osteopathic problems in the picture (such as arthritis, osteoporosis, osteopinea, history of fractures, etc.), and especially if the person experiences something worse than mild or passing discomfort, (especially a sharp or stabbing sensation, which can signal injury), then, yes, kneeling even for a few minutes on a kneeler may be medically inadvisable for a time.

  48. Pax--tecum says:

    Sometimes I’m the only one kneeling at the Consecration. I’ve sometimes had to kneel on the floor, but I willingly offer it up to Jesus. Recently, one of our priests introduced the custom to tell the people there is the possibility to kneel, before beginning the Eucharistic Prayer. When he says that, most people will kneel, but this ad-lib interuption of Mass for giving directions to the people is not allowed in the Missal. Why couldn’t they print the gestures of the people in the missalettes?

  49. Will D. says:

    Why couldn’t they print the gestures of the people in the missalettes?

    I believe they are printed in the Bustin’ Bread hymnal, but I can’t say I’ve ever seen anybody follow the Order of Mass in them. I know that the last time I tried, I found it very badly organized. They’re printed in my hand missal, but of course, anybody likely to go the the bother of buying his own missal probably already knows the postures/gestures.

  50. cl00bie says:

    My wife and I attend the EF monthly at the local friary. Their chapel has kneelers, but they are horrifically uncomfortable. I’m thinking they were designed for mortification. My wife and I choose to put the kneelers up and kneel on the carpeted floor (like a number of the friars :))

  51. Michelle F says:

    Every time this “no kneelers” excuse comes up, the first things that pop into my head are all of the photographs I’ve seen of soldiers kneeling in the mud while a priest celebrates Mass on the hood of a jeep (some examples are here: http://www.southernfriedcatholicism.com/2010/11/today-is-veterans-day.html).

    Doesn’t this demonstrate the importance of kneeling no matter what the conditions may be?

  52. Prof. Basto says:

    Thanks, Supertradmum.

  53. Pingback: Marriage Love Gluttony Sin Syria Kneeling Sin Concelebration | Big ?ulpit

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