Lib liturgy positivists force people to stand after Communion

We’ve seen notices from a diocese of chancery decrees (bullying?) imposing that people remain standing after Communion, instead of having personal freedom to kneel in prayer and awe about the Presence within them.   No, No!  You MUST STAND.

My friend His Hermeneuticalness, Fr. Finigan, has a good post about this in which he points out several reasons why such dictatorial practices are just plain wrong.  I’ll give you bullet points, but you should read the whole commentary with his explanations.  Here are his several Things That Are Wrong™.

1st Wrong Thing. It interferes with a proper desire to adore God and to be recollected.
2nd Wrong Thing. There is no mandate for it.
3rd Wrong Thing. It is an unwarranted extension of the authority of the clergy.
Bonus Wrong Thing. It imposes a ridiculous uniformity.

I might add another point: It can’t be enforced.

Fr. Finigan also picks up on something that I made a long time ago for a different reason. Fun.

There’s an interesting backstory to the creation of this item of Z-Swag.


There was a dubium … a dubium answered … by the CDW under Card. Arinze. It is on record at EWTN.

Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments
Francis Cardinal George, O.M.I., Chairman of the Bishops Committee on the Liturgy, received the following clarification concerning the right interpretation of the “General Instruction of the Roman Missal” on the posture of the faithful from their own reception of Communion until the period of sacred silence after all Communions have been received (at which time they may sit or kneel as they prefer). What is noteworthy is the clarification of the mind (mens) of the Holy See on the uniformity of posture of the faithful.
5 June 2003

Prot. n. 855/03/L

Dubium: In many places, the faithful are accustomed to kneeling or sitting in personal prayer upon returning to their places after individually received Holy Communion during Mass. Is it the intention of the Missale Romanum, editio typica tertia, to forbid this practice?

Responsum: Negative, et ad mentem. The mens is that that the prescription of the Institutio Generalis Missalis Romani, no. 43, is intended, on one hand, to ensure within broad limits a certain uniformity of posture within the congregation for the various parts of the celebration of the Holy Mass, and on the other, to not regulate posture rigidly in such a way that those who wish to kneel or sit would no longer be free.

Francis Cardinal Arinze

NB: This clarification was published in the July 2003 edition of the Newsletter of the Bishops Committee on the Liturgy[So… it is available in every chancery in these USA.]

“General Instruction of the Roman Missal,” Missale Romanum, 3rd typical edition

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 Prayer of the Faithful; from the invitation, Orate, fratres (Pray, brethren), before the prayer over the offerings until the end of Mass, except at the places indicated below.

They should, however, sit while the readings before the Gospel and the responsorial Psalm are proclaimed and for the homily and while the Preparation of the Gifts at the Offertory is taking place; and, as circumstances allow, they may sit or kneel while the period of sacred silence after Communion is observed.

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.

With a view to a uniformity in gestures and postures during one and the same celebration, the faithful should follow the directions which the deacon, lay minister, or priest gives according to whatever is indicated in the Missal.

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  1. Gab says:

    I have not heard of this being done here in Australia. No doubt, the N.O. parishes will follow suit.

  2. APX says:

    It’s popular in Canada, though most people don’t seem to actually follow it.

  3. onemore says:

    Not sure if it’s elsewhere but we definitely experienced this on a visit to the Diocese of Cleveland. An announcement was made, after mass, that we were supposed to stand. The bulletin for the parish had a letter from the bishop which had footnotes but those notes were excluded.

    Found their faq which tries to argue their case. I find it oversimplifies their case but I was pleased they did mention that It is not mandatory.

    Not sure what I would do if I was unfortunate enough to live in that diocese.

  4. Ms. M-S says:

    When they tried this in our parish we just quietly kept kneeling. No defiant stares, no signs, just quietly refusing to cooperate with inappropriate standing and ditto with clapping, handshaking, Nazi-type blessings by the congregation, invitations for audience callouts, and singing claptrap from the Haugen Hit Parade. It can’t be enforced but sheep can let themselves be led into it or they can quietly and stubbornly balk. There’s a quote from the only Source that ultimately matters about bad shepherds who mis-lead the sheep.

  5. BrionyB says:

    This seems like it would be awkward for those not receiving Communion for any reason. I would feel quite self-conscious and silly having to stand on my own while everyone else went up to receive.

    And I don’t think I would receive at a church where I had to do this. The time after Communion when I kneel and close my eyes, to just be still and know that “I am with you”, is the most sacred and sublime moment in my life; just the memory of it sustains me in my day-to-day life sometimes. It is genuinely upsetting to think that someone would want to take that away.

  6. L. says:

    This may be a form of the famous “Shift” used by the Dallas Cowboys football team. Is the Bishop named Tom Landry?

  7. ejcmartin says:

    The stand until the all have received instruction has been in force in my diocese since 2011. I posted Father Finigan’s article on my diocesan Facebook page and one of the respondents, who has been in the inner circle of the former bishop, stated “In my theology studies (I knew where this was going as soon as I read that), I was informed that Eucharist celebrations are community gatherings where those gathered join in a collective prayer and celebration. Private prayer and private adoration take away from the collective community prayer and adoration. Standing is a posture of adoration.” There you have it. Pray for our new bishop, our diocese is a mess.

  8. APX says:

    Does anyone have a copy of the letter from Rome that addresses it?

  9. Atra Dicenda, Rubra Agenda says:


  10. Here in Portland in Oregon the former Ordinary imposed/allowed to be imposed this ‘standing’ innovation but Mons Sample quashed it last year? two years ago? Not surprised, however, were I to hear that there are places where the ‘Stand Together Because We’re Community’ nonsense continues to afflict the people.

  11. Aquinas Gal says:

    I read the instructions from Cleveland and had to laugh at this part: “It is entirely possible to kneel disrespectfully, just as it is entirely possible to stand reverently.”
    Kneel disrespectfully? Really?

  12. GypsyMom says:

    As “onemore” above stated, this is being pushed at least in the Cleveland diocese. It was originally introduced during Bishop Anthony Pilla’s episcopacy. Several parishes had slowly discontinued the practice, or the congregation was often mixed between those who knelt and those who stood. We had hoped that our new-ish bishop, Nelson Perez, would have ended this ridiculous practice, but he instead doubled down on it. Happily, many parishes are not enforcing the directive, and many more parishioners are just ignoring it. We’re tired of the nonsense, of being treated like kindergarteners, and of following the continually changing whims of the chancery officials, who obviously don’t have any more important things to occupy their time, such as fixing our broken Catholic schools. The radicals and dissidents don’t seem to understand that when you ditch obedience to proper authority, “Hagan lio” goes both ways.

  13. Katherine says:

    I looked into this many years ago—maybe someone who knows more could correct me—but these bishops conflated a new freedom to receive the Holy Eucharist standing (thus the Cleveland Diocese repeated reference to 1969) with standing for the entire Communion rite. When the most recent GIRM came out, most Americans in the pews had already so ingrained the practice of receiving Communion while standing that the “change” to standing in the wording was misunderstood (also, a conflating/replacing of the word Communion with the phrase Holy Eucharist). Instead of being taken as correcting the words to match the post VII practice, it was taken as a new mandate to stand throughout the rite.

    The most recent GIRM states: “and, if appropriate, they may sit or kneel during the period of sacred silence after Communion.” So, these bishops take this as everyone’s Communion, not your individual reception of Communion.

    When this was mandated in Alaska, the bishop promised a period of sacred silence after the very last person received the Holy Eucharist and returned to his place in the pew for everyone to sit or kneel.

  14. Hidden One says:

    This is clericalism.

    It is discriminatory toward the elderly, the infirm, the exhausted, the blind, the arthritic, the visitor or guest, the non-recipient of Holy Communion, the injured, those in wheelchairs, the parents of little ones, the little ones, the easily distracted (including for clinical reasons), the socially anxious, the … lay people. This imposition really only affects lay people.

    It is clericalism. Plain and simple.

  15. It’s really simple. You just disobey. No one is bound to obey an ultra vires order. If we continue to be cowed, we will never reverse the weaponization of obedience. We can pray for a change of heart for our bad shepherds, but God also expects us to do our part.

    And so what if it results in the creation of a scene? It is not we who will be breaching the peace by refusing to be bullied. The guilt for that will lie with those who create the situation by acting unjustly.

  16. Joe in Canada says:

    OFL has a Notitiae Response link under Useful WDTPRS References on the right hand side of this very page – very useful!
    ejcmartin: I checked her cv and am not surprised she studied at an Anglican seminary. where one of the professors of Catholic studies is the former priest who was the rector at the Cathedral who instructed ushers to tap people on the shoulder during Mass – even the Consecration – if they were kneeling, and say to them “we don’t do that here”.

  17. exsquid says:

    I’m “fortunate” that neither my Bishop nor Pastor have dictated such a requirement. I can say that I would simply ignore any such requirement and continue to pray after communion just as I have done for the past 70 years. What would they do, bar me from Mass? If the Bishops won’t correct the abuses it’s up to the laity to do it for them.

  18. Josephus Corvus says:

    What is this period of “sacred silence” that the GIRM references? We have the Communion song while everybody goes up. There is a pause while Father distributes the Eucharist and bless those taking it to the sick. Then we have the “communion meditation” which is either another song, a cantor solo, or some other show-off by the choir or other instrumentalist that they brought in for a special occasion. This goes on until Father sits down for a minute. Once the music is done, the Final Blessing comes….

  19. DeGaulle says:

    We need to get rid of these chancers in the chanceries.

  20. bartlep says:

    There is a church in a vacation resort in the Diocese of Santa Rosa that has no kneelers. People stand during the Consecration, the Ecce Homo and sit after receiving Holy Communion. As a visitor there, I “stood out” as I knelt on the concrete floor during all of the above. Of course, trying to have a moment of silence with Our Lord is very difficult with the cantor and guitarist entertainment.

  21. luciavento says:

    onemore: I will be attending Latin Mass every Sunday now. Praise God we have several options for TLM every Sunday in the Cleveland area.

  22. TonyO says:

    It is probably not intentional on the part of most of the foolish people in the chancery – even the bishop – who initiate these crazy things, but it is surely intentional on the part of the satanic ones who put the ideas in their heads: part of what is going on here is the process of vitiating the virtue of obedience. They put the faithful, obedient, orthodox Catholic into a nearly impossible situation: obey the rubrics and the mens of the Church, (and disobey the bishop), or obey the bishop (and thus disobey the rubrics and the mind of the Church). Either way, the good Catholic feels sullied in their mind and heart by “not being obedient”.

    They do this especially where there is ambiguity in the law as written, so that the local authorities and their functionaries can run full tilt at the ambiguity and make it seem like their ruling has authority. This sentence in the third paragraph of #43 of the Instruction is where they hang their hat: The faithful kneel after the Agnus Dei unless the Diocesan Bishop determines otherwise.. There, you see, UNLESS THE BISHOP determines otherwise. If the bishop determines that they stand, then they don’t kneel.

    It is well known in the Vatican that the bishops take dubia and their answers as nothing more than pious wishes, when they don’t like the answers. The fact that the Congregation for Divine Worship only phrased their answer no. 43, is intended, on one hand, to ensure within broad limits a certain uniformity of posture within the congregation for the various parts of the celebration of the Holy Mass, and on the other, to not regulate posture rigidly in such a way that those who wish to kneel or sit would no longer be free in the form of a “explanation” of the “intention” means it is not binding as a law, so they would say. It doesn’t LOOK like a binding mandate, not by its form.

    And the obedient Catholic then doesn’t know what to believe. He is left wondering: “If I disobey the bishop and do what I want (i.e. kneel), I may be in the right because (probably) the bishop didn’t have the authority to make that rule to begin with… but if I OBEY the bishop and stand (which is a licit option anyway), I know for sure that I don’t disobey anyone.”

    All I can say is: If I were to stand rather than kneel on those terms, my anger and fuming at the unjust and immoral rule made by the bishop would (a) interfere with giving thanks to God, and (b) the more interfering my anger gets, the more this would heap mountains of coal on the bishop’s head for being the unjust cause of the ill temper.

  23. Ellen says:

    I ran into this once, I think it was in the Diocese of Covington. I was very uncomfortable. I knelt and didn’t care who looked at me.

  24. bibi1003 says:

    Ellen, I’ve seen it in two different parishes in the Diocese of Louisville as well and I was shocked both times. It felt like sacrilege. I mentioned it to my brother and he said it wouldn’t bother him because the people stand during the entire mass in the Orthodox rite.

  25. BrionyB says:

    I don’t think it’s particularly relevant that Eastern rite churches have standing instead of kneeling. As I understand, that’s their tradition and custom (and of course there is nothing inherently disrespectful about standing or any other posture, all these things are culture-bound to some extent).

    But if you tell people in a setting where kneeling has for centuries been the customary way to pray and show reverence that now they must stand, it’s hard not to see that as an attempt to reduce reverence and prayerfulness.

  26. roma247 says:

    @BrionyB and others: I agree that this is an insult at worst to our tradition and reverence, and ignorant at best.

    But it should be pointed out that even the Orthodox (and Eastern Catholics) do not simply stand upright during the most sacred parts of the liturgy. They make a profound bow during the Consecration and at other points throughout.

    Also it should be pointed out that their tradition (not always followed nowadays) is to stand for the entire liturgy–no sitting at all. And theirs can often be a long liturgy. So the standing becomes something of a sacrifice.

    None of these features of the standing posture seem to appear in this very odd new rule.

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