Thursday, August 11, 2011

TO KNEEL OR NOT TO KNEEL

(IF IT AIN'T BROKE, DON'T FIX IT)

Mass standing

Just what the heck do I do with my body and hands while standing so long listening to prayers?

Even in the Eastern Rite kneeling happens!

And if Giraffes like it and do it, what prevents us?


At Praytell, there is a lengthy article on promoting standing throughout the Mass, even for the Eucharistic Prayer. In some places, like the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, many parishes instruct parishioners to remain standing until the last person has received Holy Communion. How does that grab you, or what is your "standing" on that?

I don't dislike standing and I believe in the Extraordinary Form of the Mass there is way too much kneeling (even for the readings if one follows what missals say should be the posture for the Low Mass).

However in the reformed Mass in most dioceses in the USA, there appears to me to be the right amount of kneeling. Of course most dioceses have people kneeling (some sit, I know) after receiving Holy Communion.

Apart from trying to fix what's not broken, I do think that it is inhospitable for everyone to stand for extended periods of actually praying. What about children who can't see what is in front of them except for the back side of other parishioners? Of short people? Of people who can't stand for extended periods? They must sit while everyone is standing--quite awkward.

I would like to see the EF Mass posture and the OF Mass posture more aligned though. In the OF Mass, I would think that it would be quite appropriate to kneel of for the penitential rite as is done for the prayers at the foot of the altar in the EF. After that, I prefer our current practice in the OF Mass of kneeling, standing and sitting for both the OF and EF Masses.

21 comments:

pinanv525 said...

In this arrogant, humanistic, self-indulgent society people should be made to kneel whenever possible and for as long as possible.

Marc said...

I recall reading somewhere that there aren't any rubrics per se for the laity during the EF Mass as far as posture during the various portions of the Mass and that the common postures developed overtime and are based on that tradition. Is that true? With that in mind and considering all the kneeling, there is nothing preventing people from sitting if they need to sit. People do that quite often, but tend to make every possible effort to kneel during the consecration. (I'm talking about those with physical problems here, the rest of us should offer up the pain if it comes).

Personally, I prefer the EF postures because I find them more reverent and generally more conducive to paying attention and remaining prayerful.

I do like your suggestion about kneeling during the penitential right of the OF Mass!

But, I also understand that standing is considered the more reverent posture in the Eastern Churches, so there isn't anything inherently irreverent about it.

qwikness said...

Standing doesn't make sense to me. Standing doesn't feel respectful to God. It feels like your waiting at a bus stop.
PS That guy is not very nice.

Ave Verum said...

One of your pictures is very misleading: In the Eastern Divine Liturgy (St. John Chrysostom) there is NO kneeling. Kneeling is done only in the special Holy Week liturgies.
We stand...we stand like one would stand for an honored guest entering the room, only we stand in transporting adoration and worship; and we chant, among other phrases: "A mercy of peace, a sacrifice of praise"

Anonymous said...

Interesting that pin opines:
"In this arrogant, humanistic, self-indulgent society people should be made to..."
Pot calling kettle black?

Bill Meyer said...

Our parish liturgist wrote: If you’ve ever traveled abroad, you have discovered that many churches do not have kneelers, giving credence to the words in the Eucharistic Prayer: “We thank you for counting us worthy to STAND in your presence and serve you.” Standing during the liturgy has traditionally been a sign of joy in the resurrection. In fact, in the early Church it was forbidden to kneel during the 50 days of Easter, so overwhelming was the joy that the God-Man Jesus died and came back to life.

Really, I stay in hope of giving support to our Pastor, who is slowly trying to return the parish to somewhat more traditional practices. But many of the local norms set my teeth on edge.

Templar said...

I like the kneeling regimen of the OF Mass generally but believe it could be improved by additional kneeling at further points in the mass. In order of priority:

At communion
At the Angus Dei
At the Penitential Rite
At the Final Blessing

pinanv525 said...

The entire article places the focus on communing with one another...humanism...rather than on the veneration of Christ in the Blessed Sacrament and the receiving of His Body and Blood into ourselves. Typical de-constructionist agenda.

Anonymous said...

Our parish stands until the hosts are returned to the Tabernacle. Many of the old timers kneel anyway and do in other parts of the mass as was done many years ago. I have been told, but not checked for accuracy, that people stood throughout the mass in the (real) old days. I do know that there are distinct cultural differences concerning the relative respect shown toward superiors by either standing or kneeling. So a sly Calvinist lawyer might ask the question, "Does one stand or kneel when the (J)udge enters the room?" (Idumea)

This thread is closely related to a recent, contentious, post concerning the mass and how it is 'performed'. It could be that both are acceptable postures as long as they are done deliberately, meaning thoughtfully, to *create* a continuity between established Catholic tradition and 'local' culture. The senses are offended by many of the post Vatican II masses because they seem to be more condescending to local traditions than embracing.

I do not intend to derail this thread by bringing the up a recent wound, but I feel that Pin, for all his prickly commentary, has been inappropriately attacked. He and I disagree fundamentally on many things that are certainly part of the modern social canon (race relations, modern churches, etc.) but I can say for all here that his positions are well considered and the result of thoughtful reflection of evidence. His opinions may still be wrong in some manner, but that is the challenge for me, and those who would correct or inform him. I cannot simply deny his ideas or deride him when he places them, with their origins, for my consideration.

Fortunately, he is a strong man and can take a punch. I know for a fact he is self critical enough to incorporate new knowledge into his world view. This makes him the perfect model for apologetics that we would use on, say, Eastern Orthodox faithful. In other words, simple condemnation of his position, and by extension Pin himself, is self defeating.

I am not petitioning for a more polite atmosphere on this blog. The 'conflict' is not without purpose and very stimulating in a positive way. However, when Pin was attacked as a sinner, when he had even admitted to his struggle with taking communion in a 'modern' parish, an important point was missed. The art of the mass is being discussed in this blog in the context of bringing the faithful closer to God. If it is simply a perpetual exercise for the tolerance and patience of the faithful then it becomes indistinguishable from daily life and attendance merely a venue for reception of the Host.

I believe that these things are not irreconcilable. Perhaps we have discovered the Mystery or the Rational. For if I can find Christ in a layabout who does not take care of his family, then I can dang sure find Him in a knucklehead like Pin.

rcg

Henry Edwards said...

Marc: I recall reading somewhere that there aren't any rubrics per se for the laity during the EF Mass as far as posture during the various portions of the Mass and that the common postures developed overtime and are based on that tradition. Is that true?

Yes. There have never been any EF rubrics mandating posture of the congregation at any point during the Mass.

Detailed "norms" prescribing lay posture are strictly an OF thing, another innovation of a sort unknown prior to the Novus Ordo.

Though it should be understood that these norms hardly have the force of canon law. Indeed, just before the bishops voted to approve the US-adapted GIRM back in 2002, they were assured by the presiding chairman of the USCCB that with regard to posture they were "descriptive" (of what the majority were already doing), rather than "prescriptive" (of what everyone has to do). For instance, I believe it was mentioned that the standing norm would not apply to a parish that had maintained the custom of kneeling for communion.

But, of course, liturgists--who seemingly get their jollies by forcing others to do what they'd rather not, or by prohibiting others from exhibiting reverence that they themselves do not feel--immediately interpreted the norms prescriptively, and to be rigidly enforced (by themselves, of course).

So now, even a well-intentioned priest may feel a need for permission to encourage people to kneel for communion. (Perhaps the new 2011 translation of the GIRM will be helpful, since it puts standing and kneeling on a more even par than did the ideological provisional 2002 translation.)

Nancy A. said...

Standing is better than sitting, especially where standing is recognized as offering respect and homage, as some of the other comments noted. But kneeling offers both of these, along with humility and leaves no question of intent or meaning. Personally I would like to see more kneeling, namely during the penitential rite, the Agnus Dei, and the Lord's Prayer. Kneeling while receiving the Eucharist would also be good, if kneelers are provided (otherwise getting up and down in a timely and reverent manner would be difficult if not impossible for those of us with impaired joints).

Marc said...

@ Henry Edwards: Thank you for that explanation!

pinanv525 said...

RCG, Thanks for the comments. Ignotus (Anonymous) is merely projecting. Nothing to get upset about...

Templar said...

Pin!! Attacked? I've never seen it. Well okay, there is the resident threat troll who takes a swipe at him now and again, but I just assumed everyone considered the source and understood it for what it was.

Anonymous said...

Of everyone I have ever known I am least concerned about the need to defend Pin in any manner although I would gladly do so just to be present during the altercation. LOL!

Calling someone a sinner who is simply struggling with an issue is detestable and if it had been done to a weaker person it would have inspired a far more scathing reply on my part. But it is truly offensive because such casual condemnation are historically used as justification for anti-Catholic arguments so that I feel the need to police my own area more strictly before I Crusade abroad.

rcg

pinanv525 said...

I find in my Hebrew dictionary that "kneel" is from the same root as "to receive a blessing." How about that. Kneeling is mentioned as a posture of worship repeatedly in the OT: 2Chr.,Judges, Isaiah,Daniel, I&II KIngs, Ezekiel, Jer., and so on. In the NT,kneeling occurs repeatedly as the posture of worship: Matt., Mark, Luke, Acts, Eph., to mention a few.
Kneeling has been portrayed as the posture for worship and prayer in Christian art from the Middle Ages through the Renaissance to the present. The Saints are often portrayed as kneeling in paintings, Jesus knelt in the Garden, and the Wise men knelt before him (hint, hint). Perhaps it is because kneeling is taken for granted as the proper disposition for receiving Our Lord and Saviour by the faithful everywhere that it is not spelled out more explicitly...
You stand for the National Anthem (unless you are the current resident of the White House)because you are proud. You kneel before your Saviour because you are humble and contrite, grateful for His mercies and undeserving of His Grace. "Standing is the resurrection posture..." my sitting apparatus.

henry Edwards said...

Observing this pretty much as an outsider with no personal knowledge of the parties involved . . . I'm inclined to think that (1) A stalwart Catholic like Pin needs little defense, and (2) If I myself were serially attacked by an anonymous troll who implies he is a priest---but exhibits little knowledge of Catholic doctrine and liturgy, or practice of simple decency and Christian charity---then I would take it as compliment rather than criticism.

Anonymous said...

pinanv525 - I am not "projecting" anything. YOU are the one who skips mass, I don't. Ever.

"Stalwart" Catholics don't skip mass.

No one attacked pinanv525 - he was, rightly, corrected for his damnable "choice" to skip mass.

A person who skips mass isn't "simply struggling." That person has come to a dangerous and scandalous conclusion and has acted.

pinanv525 said...

Ignotus, Staunch Catholics miss Mass all the time...and go to Confession and try not to miss again.

Review your Freud regarding projection...of course, one aspect of the dynamic is that the individual in question is unaware that he is, indeed, projecting and will insist that others are at fault.

Now, folks, here is a fine example of liberal/progressive tactics. Continue perseverating about something and insisting it is true for a long enough time and you can get a significant number of people to believe what you say is true. This is a primary political tool of the Left and progressives generally.

Ignotus, give it up...

Anonymous said...

Another other minor difference in the EF and OF as to kneeling: The congregation customarily drops to their knees as the Sanctus begins while they wait until it is recited or sung before kneeling in the OF.

Also, in during the Credo in the EF, they kneel for the words regarding the Incarnation while they are (supposed to) bow during these words.

Templar said...

I wish kneeling for the Angus Dei was customary in the OF (as it is in the EF). It might curtail some of the back slapping, and wandering during the Sign of Peace that usually continues into roughly the second verse of the Angus Dei.

On the subject of the incarnation lines of the Credo, I will say that several years ago (before SP was released) the Parish I attended neither I (nor anyone I ever noticed) bowed at the words of incarnation. At St Joseph the bow was pronounced and noticeable, but it was only while learning the EF Mass that it was driven home for me what we were doing. That kneel in the Credo, and genuflection in the Final Gospel were a better Cathechism for me than anything I had been told or taught in the preceding 45 years. very much a "wow" moment. So much so that I have frequently knelt during the words of incarnation during the Credo in the OF Mass, without doing so conciously. It's so natural it just happens.