From a reader:
Today at mass, our priest told the congregation that the archbishop wanted to emphasize that the people should remain standing after communion until the tabernacle is closed. This is to emphasize the unity of the people. If I choose to kneel after communion, in violation of the archbishop’s instructions, does this disobedience constitute a sin? My pastor says yes.
I don’t think so. Of course a great deal depends on your attitude. If, while you kneel there, you are thinking about what a jerk the priest is, or how irreverent the people around you are, then you’ve gone down the wrong path.
Meanwhile, I don’t get the obsession to have everyone doing exactly the same thing. Moreover, if the imposers were to think this through for a few seconds, they would realize that it has for a very long time been customary for everyone to kneel until the tabernacle is closed. If solidarity is the aim, why not have some solidarity with our forbears who built our churches and handed the Faith down to us?
We need a lot more kneeling in the presence of God.
Who do we think we are?
It seems that more than one person has this question in mind.
From a reader…
Before mass (OF) this morning, our priest spoke about “posture”
during mass. He referenced a decree by the former archbishop calling for everyone to stand at the Agnus Dei so that we can stand united. It is the practice of some (including me and the missus) to kneel at the Agnus Dei. we were also instructed to not kneel after reception of the Eucharist until the priest and deposited any unconsumed hosts into the tabernacle. We have been at other parishes in other dioceses where kneeling at the Agnus Dei is the practice. My hand missal (Midwest Theological Forum) calls for kneeling the Agnus Dei. Is there an historical answer to this?
For the most of the Church’s history, there were few, if any, rubrics governing the posture of the laity at Mass. The whole notion of having to stand or sit or kneel or bow in a united fashion, to symbolize our unity, is something rather new. Certain customs developed over the centuries, based on the sensus fidelium. We stood for the proclamation of the Gospel, for example, and when pews came into common use, most people sat for the homily.
For the most of our history, however, people stood in the Church for the entirety of the Mass, or they knelt on the floor out of devotion. Some probably milled around, visiting devotional shrines, or attended to unruly children by taking them into the vestibule.
The obsession with telling the laity precisely what they should be doing at any particular point in the liturgy is quite recent.
“Genuflect on only one knee when the Blessed Sacrament is exposed!”
“Don’t make the sign of the cross at the prayer after the Confiteor!”
“Bow to the altar as a symbol of Christ, but don’t genuflect to Christ Himself in the tabernacle!”
These are ridiculous novelties dreamed up by “experts” who are also perhaps control freaks.