Wednesday, March 25, 2015


Okay, this is a pet peeve of mine. I don't like the different standards for kneeling, standing and sitting for the EF Mass, with the Low Mass having one set of standards and the High Mass another. I think this is an American invention as we like to tell the laity what to do in the pews.

Also, I think there is entirely too much kneeling for the EF Low Mass. You even kneel for the readings! I remember this as a child and not fondly. I remember how tired people got and how they did a butt-kneel. Has anyone seen this today in an EF Mass, a butt-kneel? It was very, very common in the bad old days prior to Vatican II. I did too, you just leaned back and you were kneeling an let your butt rest on the edge of pew. Nice no? NOT!

Because the EF Mass is the red-headed step daughter of the Church, most bishops' conferences don't pay any attention to it. Maybe this is good. I don't think so. Why can't they decree that the standing, sitting and kneeling of the EF Mass be more like that which is a part of the OF Mass. Just wondering.

Here are my suggestions for the EF Mass no matter if high, low or anywhere in between:

Stand for the entrance.

Kneel for the PATFOTHA

Stand for the Kyrie, Gloria, Collect

Sit for the First reading and Gradual/tract

Stand for the Gospel

Sit for the homily

Stand for the Credo

Sit for the Offertory Antiphon and Offertory

Stand for the Orate Fratres

Stand for the Secret, Preface

Kneel for the Sanctus and Canon

Stand for the Pater Noster

Remain standing through the Agnus Dei

Kneel after the Agnus Dei

Sit during the abultions and Communion antiphon

Stand for the Prayer after Communion

Stand for the Ite Missa Est

Kneel for the Placeat and Blessing

Stand for the Last Gospel


John Nolan said...

The postures for the lay faithful at Mass are not governed by the rubrics, but are a matter of local custom. People knelt (and still kneel) for most of the Low Mass, since they were making their private devotions while Mass was in progress. Since the High or Sung Mass was the exception rather than the norm, people tended to adopt the Low Mass postures for these as well, and still do.

Given this, it is certainly liturgically more correct at High or Sung Mass for the congregation to stand while the Introit is being sung, and for the Collect (at the Dominus vobiscum which precedes it, and this also applies at the Postcommunion); also at the beginning of the Preface dialogue, kneeling after the Sanctus (or at the Hanc Igitur) but standing - and this will probably surprise many - after the elevation of the Chalice until after the Agnus Dei.

Since the High Mass is the norm, then these postures are also applicable to the Low Mass, although as I said before, local custom tends to predominate.

With the emphasis on FCAP in the 1960s the laity were more dragooned as to their posture than heretofore, and ironically the Novus Ordo directives are liturgically more correct (although they have us kneeling until after the doxology which concludes the Eucharistic Prayer and standing at the Orate Fratres).

When I attend the OF I notice that people adopt the postures as directed, but in the EF they either stick to the Low Mass custom and kneel for most of it, or adopt the OF postures. However, laying down hard and fast rules for the congregation at EF Masses would be resented and quite rightly so. Let people follow their own conscience and liturgical sensibility.

Incidentally, even at Low Mass people sat for the Epistle and for the Offertory.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

The USA had strict local customs nationwide prior to Vatican II for the Mass and different standards for the low and high Mass.

The red booklets we use which have a Latin/English side by side translation give these so-called "rubrics" for the laity.

But for those who attend primarily the OF Mass, they could get confused if thre aren't more seasoned EF laity leading the way in front of them.

Anonymous said...

There are not--and, so far as I know--never have been any rubrics or mandated instructions for the behavior of the people at a TLM. Martinet-like direction of the people is strictly a Novus Ordo thing.

Let's not contemplate it for the usus antiquor. Let the people behave as they wish--including standing for holy communion if they wish. (Though in the enveloping atmosphere of reverence in the TLM practically no one will, other than in case of physical infirmity.)

John Nolan said...

The red booklets that Father mentions are used over here too. Their so-called rubrics have invited criticism. The idea of the Bishops' Conference telling me what to do at Mass is repugnant; it is merely a consultative body with no magisterial authority. If it had the temerity to 'decree' that I should do this or that, I would make damn sure to do the opposite.

Православный физик said...

John Nolan is correct, and I agree with him as far as rubrics go.

Father, when I do assist at the TLM, I tend to follow the postures as you have stated them.