Banning kneeling violates religious freedom

single genuflectionAt HPR Fr. Regis Scalon, OFM.Cap. has a good piece which might be sent to ever parish priest who seeks to force people not to kneel during Mass.

Here is the introductory section:

Kneeling Ban: Good Liturgy or Loss of Religious Freedom?

Some religious leaders in the Latin Rite are pressuring Catholics not to kneel at the Consecration, or to genuflect at their reception of the Eucharist. This trend has gained a great deal of traction in recent years, and is causing alarm among those who see it as a restriction of religious freedom. As Catholics, we have come to expect that our secular government wants to restrict our religious freedom, but it’s a new and disturbing trend when it comes from inside the Church.

This trend, which is being fostered by serious religious groups and orders, [okay… I see what he is doing here, but how serious is a group that pressures people not to kneel or genuflect in the presence of God?] is being promulgated in both explicit and subtle ways. Whether it’s by making an actual rule, or by merely showing disapproval, participants in these liturgies are no longer free to “fall to their knees” in adoration. Instead, everyone must stand, sit, or bow—depending on the “rules” of that particular group. Deviation is not welcome, and in some cases, is forbidden.

What is behind this restriction? Is it a good thing? [No.] What does the Church say about the ways an individual may show adoration? The purpose of this paper is not to judge or condemn those who favor restrictions, but to show that such restrictive rules are incompatible with Church teachings, and even with the commonly accepted idea of religious freedom.

First, let’s be clear: the issue is not to stop anyone from standing, sitting, or bowing if their consciences tell them to do so during the liturgy. They should be free to do so! By the same token, those who wish to kneel should be free to do that as well.

Later, we will use Church teachings and documents to support the contention that a ban on kneeling is incompatible with our God-given religious freedom. For now, let’s examine the practical outcomes of such a ban: Under the “sit, stand, bow, or else” scenario, worshipers are being forced to think about “the community,” when they should be devoting their whole “body, soul, mind, and strength” to our Lord becoming truly Present in the Eucharist. [Do I hear an “Amen!”?] In a restrictive atmosphere, even when an individual feels called by conscience to kneel in adoration, they will wrestle with nagging questions: “Am I offending my fellow worshipers?” “Will I be seen as a religious fanatic?” “Will it hurt my ability to stay in the group?”

It’s wrong to force such uneasiness (for some, it could even amount to a troubled conscience) on anyone during what should be a moment of profound adoration of God! However, that’s the effect of this trend. Even though the motives of these “trendsetters” may be pure, the hope is, they will reconsider their direction. They may believe that conformity will provide a more pleasing communal experience. But that’s not the goal of Catholic liturgy. [Right!] The goal of our liturgy is to bring each individual into closer relationship with our Creator—not to please each other or the “group.” In short, it is wrong to coerce Catholics to act against a centuries-old tradition of “bending the knee” at the Consecration and Communion of the Eucharist. This is not a personal opinion, this is the position reflected in Church documents and teachings.

[…]

Read the rest there.

 

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41 Responses to Banning kneeling violates religious freedom

  1. Nathan says:

    I read the article and thought I had time traveled to 1998 or so. I had hoped that that since the GIRM specifies kneeling for the Consecration, since CDW had ruled that all the Faithful were allowed to kneel for Holy Communion, and since the USCCB had also ruled that (while standing for Holy Communion was the norm) the Faithful could kneel to receive Holy Communion, this kind of thing would not be a problem today.

    If I may ask, where and how widespread is the trend for the “you must not kneel at the Consecration” edicts? Is it novel in the places where it occurs? Have we moved into the “GIRM is optional” school of liturgy again on a widespread basis?

    In Christ,

  2. Joseph-Mary says:

    I can recall back in the early 2000s or so, reading Fr. Scanlan’s writings on kneeler. Yet this year a friend of his told me that his very Capuchins are wanting to stand only which I am sure would drive him crazy. In my previous diocese we were ‘invited’ to stand at the consecration because we are a ‘resurrection people’ don’t you know. And some of us were uncomfortable with that and learned that we did not have to be obedient to a disobedience which standing is.

    I genuflect on the way to Communion now and it has never been a problem. At one parish, during the week, kneelers are put out and I gratefully kneel. Basically only the older generation stands and takes in the hand when the option to kneel is present.

  3. iPadre says:

    In one parish, a man who knelt for Communion was grabbed by the arm and forcefully made to stand. Imagine the legal ramifications. If he did that to one of my parents, we’ll I won’t tell you what I would do to him!

  4. Mike says:

    The goal of our liturgy is to bring each individual into closer relationship with our Creator—not to please each other or the “group.”

    Which relationship is impeded by the intrinsic group-centeredness of the Novus Ordo.

    I don’t see how anybody can be surprised that abuses of reverent worshipers and communicants are back on the upswing.

  5. Sonshine135 says:

    I worshiped for many years in a church with no kneelers. My family often found themselves to be the only ones kneeling during the consecration, on the concrete floor. No one ever engaged us about it, and that’s fine.

    I was quite taken aback; however, on a recent vacation when a lady, presumably a Mass coordinator, told us that we should remain standing after communion and sing the communion hymn. I had not encountered such totalitarian directives like this before, but it is obvious that more than a few Catholics are out there who want to dictate how you worship. It sticks in my craw, but unfortunately, there are no “safe parishes” where I vacation.

  6. Chatto says:

    The mindset Fr. Scanlon describes is widespread in mainland Europe. I’ve been in to a number of beautiful churches in Spain and Belgium which are completely devoid of kneelers. The only people who kneel (on the bare floor) are the devout young people whose knees can take the punishment. And there are funny looks all round from the ageing congregations. Terribly sad.

  7. Clinton R. says:

    This directive of refusing the faithful to kneel before God is from the evil one. The fallen Lucifer after all is the one who told God “I will not obey”. He would not humble himself before God. How can we the faithful, not kneel before the Precious Body and Blood of Our Lord? The thought of parishes without kneelers is mind boggling. What are we then? Do we no longer believer Christ is present in the Eucharist? It is this loss of the transcendent that has emptied out parishes around the globe. If there is no God worthy of our most reverent worship, then why should anyone attend Mass? Have we forgot the admonition of St. Paul?

    That in the name of Jesus, every knee should bow of those that are in heaven, on earth, and under the earth. Phil 2:10

  8. Priam1184 says:

    I agree with Nathan. This sounds sooo 1998.

    On the other topic I have a question: Did I miss a commandment? Is my Bible missing something? Where precisely in Holy Scripture does God command “Thou shalt have religious freedom?”

    And if that is in there then what precisely is the point of the rest of the book? and of Father’s priesthood? and of the existence of the Catholic Church? and of so many other things?

    I mean, if religious freedom is what we are banking on then who cares whether or not one kneels at the Consecration? worships Allah? offers sacrifice to their pet goat? or doesn’t care anything about anything and just sits on the couch all day? If religious freedom is what we are about then we have to admit all these viewpoints as being equal, don’t we? Stupid.

  9. Good for Fr. Scanlon, maybe he can make a dent in the persecution against the pious Faithful.

    All the theological, historical, and canonical arguments are dust in the wind if you are in a parish or a diocese with militant progressives that forbid kneeling. If the bishops do nothing, then the sheep are helpless among these devouring lions. What are these poor people supposed to do?

    I wonder if the progressives get a kick out of letting us know how wrong these practices are, and then swiftly cite obedience to break our hearts, our wills, and cause despair. Although its less devout, standing isn’t a sin and the good can overcome evil with obedience to unjust burdens. The devil cannot overtake an obedient soul, obedience completely confounds the devil…I know it doesn’t seem logical [or pleasant].

    But this is how the good will win. Excruciating obedience in everything that is not sin.

  10. jacobi says:

    I think I have said this before, but if any priest ever tried directly or indirectly to prevent me kneeling , or making a distinct bow, (since I am no longer be in a position to get up after kneeling), before receiving Holy Communion then I would have words with him and sort him out good and proper – but after Mass and round the back of the church!

    But I would be very careful to ensure that, Jack Reacher style, he went down first, as I have explained, I would be in no position to get up.

  11. oldconvert says:

    I remember from my distant schooldays, those days when (in the UK) teaching and practice of the Christian religion was obligatory in State education, the most vociferous objectors to any suggestion of kneeling during the morning prayer assembly were always the fundamentalist Protestants, Baptists, Congregationalists, and some varieties of Methodist. Don’t ask me why they objected to such expression of reverence. Perhaps those religious leaders cited by Fr Scanlon would be happier in such congregations.

  12. Imrahil says:

    Oops.

    Good cause. Bad argument. (Forgive the frankness.)

    Religious freedom means, if it means anything, that adherents can adhere to their religion and the religions can make clear what this adhering consists in; that the religions can throw out heretics for their heresies, conduct their own affairs in peace (the old “libertas Ecclesiae”), that they decide what is, as far as their inner affairs are concerned, and so on. From the point of view of what religious freedom means, there is no difference between “do not kneel at the consecration” and “do kneel at the consecration”, if both commands are done by representants of the Church. There is one in objective reality, but objective reality is precisely what religious freedom is not about.

    Hence the Church as such cannot, by definition, interfere with the religious freedom of her members with any inner-ecclesial measure (which is why what the Inquisition used to do was aptly termed “handing over to the secular power”).

    A priest who says “around here, we do not kneel during the Anaphora” does something deplorable, something which cannot i.m.v. claim obedience. But as long as he’s no secret agent consciously bent on destroying popular expressions of Catholicism, as long as he’s,, however mistakenly, believing he’s just exercising the mandate he has from the Church in a way he seems fit, and as long as he happens to actually have that mandate, he is not infringing his parishioners’ religious freedom any more than the Church does when enacting liturgical law, excommunicating heretics, denounces habits as sinful (which sometimes aren’t), and so on.

  13. Sarochka says:

    Why kneel when you can prostrate?! I think what some of these parishes need is for a group to do a flashmob prostration at the consecration! Can you imagine? That would be so funny. We could say, ” No one said anything about not prostrating. You didn’t want us kneeling and so we thought you wanted us to prostrate ourselves before the tabernacle and at the consecration”.

  14. Elbereth says:

    Getting dirty looks doesn’t constitute a ban on kneeling or religious freedom. It is called having a spine.

  15. Suburbanbanshee says:

    Imrahil – The priest may not be sinning (because he’s mistaken, and you can’t sin unless you’re aware that it’s wrong), but he’s still objectively doing a bad thing (violating the freedom of the children of God, in a matter which isn’t actually his business).

    Also, a priest or even a pastor doesn’t have nearly the same powers as a bishop or a pope, and yet bishops and popes traditionally have been leery about making everything a liturgical law. The whole bent of canon law is to be generous, particularly in giving laypeople miles and miles of leeway. And yet, there seem to be tons of priests who are happy to lay down the rules (or “create customs”) on kneeling, while never preaching anything about serious sin or what Catholics believe and don’t believe.

    So yeah, I eagerly wait for the day I hear as much fire and brimstone directed from the pulpit toward adultery and abortion as I’ve heard against “breaking community custom by kneeling” and “being an introvert.”

  16. Prayerful says:

    Sadly although the aggressive Spirit of Vatican II people are aging and dying, their understanding of Pope Francis has given them new and malign energy. I can kneel on concrete, even though my knees were damaged in an accident, as a penance, but an older person might not be able.

  17. Maineman1 says:

    Instead of targeting pious believing Catholics, perhaps these zealous progressives should be more concerned about the collapse of the Church in the Western world.

    The Smoke of Satan still densely fills the Church.

  18. andia says:

    There is a priest near me who will refuse communion to anyone who kneels- or wants it on the tongue.
    He is known for just moving aside and leaving a communicant kneeling there.

  19. Phil_NL says:

    they will wrestle with nagging questions: “Am I offending my fellow worshipers?” “Will I be seen as a religious fanatic?” “Will it hurt my ability to stay in the group?”

    Frankly, those consideration shouldn’t be considerations at all. Between our Lord and the group or the opinion of mortals, it’s no contest.

    In fact, even though Fr Scalon is right, in a sense he’s still giving too much ground to the opposition: we shouldn’t reinforce the idea that ‘the group’ is important. Groups have no conscience, bear no responsibilities. Individuals do. Which is one reason why progressives always reason from ‘the group’. Your neighbour might be very important (plenty of examples from our Lord), but he or she is an individual, not a group. Outside concrete persons, groups have no rights, have no obligations, have no meaning at all except as a stick to hit others.

  20. Clinton says:

    Frank Sheed used to tell a story about the inimitable Hilaire Belloc, who was
    worshipping at Westminster cathedral. As was the custom of his childhood,
    Belloc was kneeling when he was approached by a sacristan who whispered
    “excuse me, sir, but here we stand during the Mass”. To which Belloc replied
    “Go to hell!”. The sacristan’s response? “I’m so sorry, sir! I didn’t realize you
    were a Catholic!”

    Personally, I shall always prefer kneeling and genuflecting before my God when
    I’m called upon to make my reverence. It is possible to stand before an equal, it
    is possible for equals to bow to one another. But kneeling and/or genuflecting
    before my God removes all doubt about where I stand in the relationship (no pun
    intended), for God and I are not equals.

    One last observation about those who’d force a congregation to stand because of
    the idea that we must have “unity of posture” at Mass, and that if anyone isn’t
    going along, it undermines the precious unity: what about unity of posture with
    the Church outside the walls of that particular church building? In a world where
    the norm is kneeling, isn’t this particular church’s novel insistence on standing (in
    defiance of the worldwide custom) undermining a larger “unity of posture” these
    people say they’re so concerned about?

    [Great Belloc anecdote!]

    Fr. Z's Gold Star Award

  21. Bea says:

    I’ve never had that problem but two members of my family and other stories I’ve heard about others, are real horror stories as to how people who want to adore and receive Our Lord are treated at the communion rail and/or line-up of communicants.

    Arrogant, unfeeling and wanting to show their “power” is what best describes the attitudes of some poor, poor priests. I can only assume they were badly catechized in their seminaries, have lost their belief in the true Presence or never had it and became clerics as a “job” , not a vocation. Fortunately we have some very holy and heroic priests that stand up to protect the Blessed Sacrament, unfortunately in some cases their bishops do not back them.

  22. joan ellen says:

    Since kneeling is no problem at a Traditional Latin Mass, I prefer the TLM. My prideful spirit requires that. At a Novus Ordo Mass I pray the Sanctus, Agnus Dei, Pater Noster, and sometimes the Gloria and the Credo in Latin…moving my lips only. It is interesting how the words in English often coincide with the Latin, especially in the Pater Noster which is in perfect sync. That is religious freedom to me.

    When attending the Byzantine Rite (in full communion with Rome), the liturgy honors the Risen Lord by standing throughout the entire liturgy. Those of us who also attend the TLM kneel as at the TLM for the Consecration and after receiving Our Blessed Lord. Fr. does not seem to mind one whit, or at least it does not seem that he does. That is religious freedom to me.

    On the rare occasions that I attend the Orthodox liturgy (in the name of Christian Unity, & then later attend TLM or Novus Ordo for my obligation), they like the Byzantine Rite, stand for the entire liturgy. Since they do not allow us to receive, sometimes I stand, sometimes kneel at the Consecration. After reading the comments above, next time I attend an Orthodox Liturgy, I plan to kneel at the Consecration. That is religious freedom to me.

    If it were forbidden to receive the Eucharist on the tongue, I would not receive. I also only receive from a priest because of his consecrated hands. If not able to do those two things, that would be religious persecution to me.

    After doing some reading about the early Church and about the Patriarchs, it is easier for me to understand (now) how the various cultures influenced liturgy, especially for the Orthodox and the responses/actions made by the faithful.

    It seems that Traditional Catholics can be Traditional Catholics, yet understand and appreciate the value of the Divine Liturgy offered ‘differently’ as in the Byzantine Rite, and even among the Orthodox, who also enjoy apostolic succession…and then also in the reverent Novus Ordo Missae.
    I have not studied closely, but it seems the Novus Ordo is a compilation of the TLM AND the Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom offered in the Byzantine Rite, and in the Orthodox Church.

    I do not receive the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Jesus without genuflecting before receiving Him. (would kneel on one knee only, but may not get back up, as jacobi noted above.) If it was forbidden to kneel at various times at Mass, or genuflect to receive, that is religious persecution to me. Would probably find a different parish.

    Some liberal Novus Ordo laity and some Traditional (to the too far right) laity tempt me to stay home and just pray the Rosary. Their religious points of view go too far from being right down the middle with Rome? Rome does not change. Only some of her people do. So, I keep kneeling, genuflecting, and praying in Latin to engage my whole soul. To be able to engage my whole soul in worship is religious freedom for me.

    I do not have the education nor the experience that Imrahil or some others above do, so my line of reasoning re: religious freedom differs, but seems valid, also. I do not mind correction.

  23. jfk03 says:

    In the Byzantine tradition one stands during the anaphora, but in many places the faithful do a prostration (zemnoy poklon) at the epiclesis. Pews and kneelers become common after the Protestant reformation in the west, though some Orthodox churches do have pews. All the ancient mosaics show people standing at prayer. What is important is the attitude of the worshiper. One must express adoration in the presence of the Lord. Unfortunately, in the west the anti-kneeling movement seems to be a product of theological liberalism of a rather dogmatic form.

  24. Papabile says:

    I guess I have a real argument with the good father with respect to his statement: First, let’s be clear: the issue is not to stop anyone from standing, sitting, or bowing if their consciences tell them to do so during the liturgy. They should be free to do so! .

    Really?

    He’s speaking about the Novus Ordo, which mandates kneeling after the Sanctus. It almost sounds as if he is saying one should ignore those rubrics.

    I guess I am the worst violator though. On the rare occasion I go to the new rite nowadays (I am fortunate to have the old rite available ona near daily basis), I usually remain kneeling through the Priest’s communion.

    It’s easier, and avoids the whole moist hands issue.

  25. AnnTherese says:

    Yes, we should be free to stand or kneel, and not forced or pressured or guilted into doing either. Both are reverent if our heart is reverent. It’s tiresome being judged for this…

  26. jfk03 says:

    I would add that in the Byzantine churches (Orthodox and Greek Catholic) communion is always received standing, from the priest who uses a silver spoon to place the Holy Mysteries in the tongue of the communicant. The sacred elements, body and blood, are placed together in the chalice. The communicant is expected to fast from midnight, just like in the west before Vatican II. There are other differences. Baptized infants and young children regularly communicate, since they are confirmed immediately after baptism. This, indeed, is the more ancient practice than the western norm.

  27. I would also add that in the byzantine church, kneeling is primarily a posture of penance. The metantia, is used for Adoration on Sundays…since the ancient canons forbid penitential kneeling on Sundays. When in Rome, kneel, when in Byzantium, stand. Full prostrations are done often during weekday divine liturgies, especially in the Russian tradition, but never on Sundays.

  28. WYMiriam says:

    “. . . worshipers are being forced to think about “the community,” when they should be devoting their whole “body, soul, mind, and strength” to our Lord becoming truly Present in the Eucharist. [Do I hear an “Amen!”?] ”

    amen and AMEN!!

  29. Gratias says:

    Kneeling to receive communion is a need for me. It is one main reason for which I only rarely attend the Novus Ordo now. If I were to keel for communion , I would be the sole religious fanatic of our local parish and in truth I do not want to offend the community of Eucharistic ministers who are my neighbors by being the odd one out. But my local parish has lost lots of weekly checks that now we present to parishes that host, albeit with modest enthusiasm, the TLM here in the Archiocese of Los Angeles. Our priests do not seem to to care, although the checks they lost from us used to represent 1% if the annual budget of this wealthy parish.

    It is not just the effective prohibition to kneel for and after Communion that is pushing me towards the Latin Mass, there is the modern music, rock and roll drums, shaking hands for the sign of peace, holding hands for the our father, and being offered wine by a bunch of women Eucharistic ministers. More importantly, when we attend the Latin Mass we feel part of a small movement that is preserving a 2000 year old so that it will not be lost to Western Civilization. So in my vain little head I see our role as that of those Irish monks that preserved the medieval illuminated manuscripts. So I think attending and financing as generously as possible the TLM is the thing in my particular circumstance.

  30. Imrahil says:

    Dear Banshee,

    my point was not that he was not sinning, but that, by the fact that he is a Catholic priest who believes he exercises his office, cannot possibly fall under the definition “infringing the religious freedom of Catholics”. What he does is still deplorable (to say the least), but not under that header.

    [I inserted, correctively, that a – God beware! – if he were a priest who, in his heart, were a conscious opponent of Catholicism rather than a Catholic, and who were striving, explicitly, to undermine Catholicism – as it were from without – just using subversive tactics, then this particular case might be different.

    Other than that, though, – and I just inserted that to remain logically correct, not because I believe this happens – as the question of right and wrong does not enter the specific debate of religious freedom, to be silent of rights of adherents within a religion towards ministers of the same, he does not infringe it, however bad what he does.]]

  31. Kerry says:

    There are, I believe, medieval illustrations of the devil without knees, as he has no humility, and cannot kneel.

  32. DonL says:

    I seem to remember, decades ago, where a priest called in thepolice and had a parishioner arrested for this behavior.
    Offend the confused priest or offend God; easy choice.

  33. The Masked Chicken says:

    “There is a priest near me who will refuse communion to anyone who kneels- or wants it on the tongue.”

    Secondly, approach him with a copy of the GIRM; then, go to the bishop; then go to the nuncio; then, send a letter to the Vatican (documenting everything) to the Congregation For Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments…

    but, first of all, pray.

    The Chicken

  34. The Masked Chicken says:

    There are some other, more interesting approaches one could take to resolving this problem:

    1) Become a saint
    2) Study the issue until you understand it, write a dissertation, then accidentally leave a copy in the Church restroom
    3) Become cunning as a serpent (who, rarely, attacks frontally, or, rather, wraps themselves around their prey – so, wrap yourself, spiritually, around the pastor)
    4) Become innocent as a dove (of course, doves get to sit and the cooing could get on the priest’s nerves)
    5) Pray to your Guardian Angel to have a talk with the priest’s Guardian Angel
    6) Faint while receiving the Eucharist – blame it on poor circulation while standing – demand a wheelchair, if you are not allowed to kneel
    7) Work really hard so as to get bleeding blisters on your hands – makes it easier to ask for Communion on the tongue
    8) Make friends with the bishop and ask him to accompany you to Mass, in disguise (offer to cook him a gourmet meal, in exchange)
    9) Genuflect whenever the priest passes by – tell him what a good job he is doing, “otherwise”
    10) Sing the hymn really badly while receiving in the hand – perhaps, Father will give you Communion in the hand just to shut you up
    11) Have your five year old fall on the floor right in front of the priest in the Communion line and “kneel” to pick him up while Father goes to give Communion

    These are serious matters, but if you let your opponent make you glum, they will have won. Be of good cheer – Christ has overcome the world (and He did it nailed to a Cross – of course, you could point out to the the first person to receive the precious blood had to kneel in order to soak it up).

    The Chicken

  35. I’ve long wondered whether these liturgical martinets are motivated by anything other than a determination that no one else show the reverence which they themselves don’t feel.

  36. Ben Kenobi says:

    Thank you Father Z!!! This has been aggravating me for a long time. When I was confirmed I was taught to kneel before our Lord and Saviour. I greatly miss my parishes that did it the right way – they kneeled. Now I am in a diocese that not only forbade it but has TAKEN OUT THE KNEELERS!

    Why don’t the pastors/bishops get it? I was taught this at my confirmation. I’m not changing. I don’t care whatever mandate that the local bishop ‘claims’ they found.

  37. jhayes says:

    Fr. Scalon’s argument for individual choice is in opposition to the GIRM’s position that postures and guestures should be uniform.

    42….A common bodily posture, to be observed by all those taking part, is a sign of the unity of the members of the Christian community gathered together for the Sacred Liturgy, for it expresses the intentions and spiritual attitude of the participants and also fosters them

    I checked Fr. Scalon’s bio in HPR to be sure he is in the USA. He is, so I am puzzled by his complaints since the requirement in the USA is to kneel from the Sanctus to the Amen of the Eucharistic Prayer.

    The GIRM leaves the posture and gestures of the faithful to be determined by each National Conference of Bishops subject to approval by Rome. It spells out the details for the USA in #43

    43. The faithful should stand from the beginning of the Entrance Chant, or while the Priest approaches the altar, until the end of the Collect; for the Alleluia Chant before the Gospel; while the Gospel itself is proclaimed; during the Profession of Faith and the Universal Prayer; and from the invitation, Orate, fratres (Pray, brethren), before the Prayer over the Offerings until the end of Mass, except at the places indicated here below.

    The faithful should sit, on the other hand, during the readings before the Gospel and the Responsorial Psalm and for the Homily and during the Preparation of the Gifts at the Offertory; and, if appropriate, they may sit or kneel during the period of sacred silence after Communion.

    In the Dioceses of the United States of America, they should kneel beginning after the singing or recitation of the Sanctus (Holy, Holy, Holy) until after the Amen of the Eucharistic Prayer, except when prevented on occasion by ill health, or for reasons of lack of space, of the large number of people present, or for another reasonable cause. However, 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 (Lamb of God) unless the Diocesan Bishop determines otherwise….

    Regarding receiving Communion, the choice of receiving standing or kneeling and on the tongue or in the hand is left to each communicant.

    160. The Priest then takes the paten or ciborium and approaches the communicants, who usually come up in procession.

    It is not permitted for the faithful to take the consecrated Bread or the sacred chalice by themselves and, still less, to hand them on from one to another among themselves. The norm established for the Dioceses of the United States of America is that Holy Communion is to be received standing, unless an individual member of the faithful wishes to receive Communion while kneeling (Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, Instruction, Redemptionis Sacramentum, March 25, 2004, no. 91).

    When receiving Holy Communion, the communicant bows his or her head before the Sacrament as a gesture of reverence and receives the Body of the Lord from the minister. The consecrated host may be received either on the tongue or in the hand, at the discretion of each communicant. When Holy Communion is received under both kinds, the sign of reverence is also made before receiving the Precious Blood.

    161. If Communion is given only under the species of bread, the Priest raises the host slightly and shows it to each, saying, The Body of Christ. The communicant replies, Amen, and receives the Sacrament either on the tongue or, where this is allowed, in the hand, the choice lying with the communicant. As soon as the communicant receives the host, he or she consumes the whole of it.

    [You seem to have missed the point of his piece. But may just be trying to undermine the freedom that Catholics should have to kneel in the presence of God.]

  38. joan ellen says:

    Chicken: If we are failing at #1…Be a saint…which I translate as grin and bear it…then we can, and should ask our guardian angel to ask father’s guardian angel to pray harder for him.

    jhayes: I hope the GIRM does not mean that we should be uniform with postures such as the orans position at the Our Father.

    On occasion I’ve had the thought that some of the fathers (perhaps bishops as well) are interested in fostering Church unity by having the Western Church adapt some of the ways of the Eastern Church. Isn’t it preferable to leave the Eastern practices just as they are, & leave the Western practices as they were…for integrity of the one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church.

    Why? At the present time it seems the Church is the new Babylon, as some Protestants claim. Not so much in the language department, rather in the belief department. Rarely can a Catholic be found who shares the same faith as I in my understanding of Catholicism. In other words, the Church is badly splintered…and refusing kneeling, genuflections, communion on the tongue, etc. are mere manifestations of the splinter…caused by…probably relativism.

    How can we ever expect to restore whole, integral families if the Church is first in need of a whole and integral restoration?

    It will happen. When all Christians pray and work together, and set the example for each other and the billions of people on the planet who need to see us do that…while kneeling, in humble submission, at Mass, especially.

  39. andia says:

    The Chicken Said:

    “There is a priest near me who will refuse communion to anyone who kneels- or wants it on the tongue.”

    Secondly, approach him with a copy of the GIRM; then, go to the bishop; then go to the nuncio; then, send a letter to the Vatican (documenting everything) to the Congregation For Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments…

    but, first of all, pray.”

    Priests, all priests, are the first people I pray for every day -both in Thanksgiving and then for needs and intentions. Nothing makes me happier than to pray for priests.

    Under no circumstances would I complain to a bishop about a priest-there in lies the road to priests being removed, we have enough of that. I simply go to a different parish and pray for a better solution to present itself. The ONLY time I talk to one priest about another priest, even is to ask for a check on their medical condition ( as in when I was worried about evidence of a priest’s diabetes worsening- and yes I am qualified to make that assessment but thought it would be better received from a brother priest rather than a parishioner) or somesuch —to me it seems like it’s too close to gossip.

    I will speak about such things on the internet -when I trust the person running the forum to give straight answers as to whether something that puzzles or frustrates me is ok or not- but that is all I will. Your milage on that may vary, but thanks!!

  40. The Masked Chicken says:

    “Under no circumstances would I complain to a bishop about a priest-there in lies the road to priests being removed, we have enough of that.”

    Be that as it may, the bishop has the ultimate human responsibility in a diocese for making sure that the liturgy is correct and the sacraments are properly done. Moreover, abuse, be it personal or sacramental, is abuse. If people had come forward earlier in the child abuse scandal, things might have not escalated. One can always lodge a general claim to the bishop, asking him to remind all priests of the diocese about the rules regarding kneeling, so one does not, necessarily, have to make the issue personal. There is a Christian responsibility for fraternal correction, where it can be done properly.

    ” I simply go to a different parish and pray for a better solution to present itself.”

    Thus, leaving the situation to fester. It is true that you have to know when to hold ’em and when to fold ’em, but simply leaving at every abuse means that you will be traveling from Church to Church without end. Sometimes (and this is a matter of discernment and discretion), it is better to treat early with a band-aid rather then put the problem off and require major surgery, later. It depends. There are no hard-and-fast rules, but kneeling is something that should be more universally addressed, in my opinion, since small bad habits breed larger sins.

    The Chicken