Tuesday, 25 January 2011

Kneeling in Canada: What is your experience?

The implementation date for the new Roman Missal has still not been announced by the Canadian bishops. Sources indicate that there are two items that may be holding up Rome's approval of the "adaptations" as well as the "Proper" for Canada which is preventing publication of the Roman Missal. One is the "French Question." This is a desire to have no new GIRM implemented in English until the French translation is ready for Quebec. The second is the question of kneeling and on this there are two possibilities both disharmonious to the United States and Great Britain, but also to Toronto, where I reside.
  • Consistent with the 1975 GIRM (as I note below), kneeling ONLY at the Consecration;
  • A "Grey Book" instruction to kneel from the "Sanctus to Memorial Acclamation";
In the GIRM in English for the United States (the only English translation) kneeling is from the Sanctus to the Great Amen.
A few people have written me privately since the post, two below, about the kneeling situation. As well, a personal friend formerly living in Halifax has advised me that the kneeling situation there is as the Canadian bishops have apparently asked for in the new GIRM which is not in accord with the United States or Great Britain. A reader in Ottawa writes, "I feel that a few issues need to be clarified. Archbishop Prendergast never made any "rules" about posture in Ottawa. He did ask one of the parishes to put in kneelers. Also, to place and fill the chalices on the altar before Consecration. He also changed the order of the initiation sacraments for the English sector, to have unity, but I won't get into this now." My impression from the media reports is that the Archbishop instructed all parishes to have a unified posture; if this was only for one renegade parish, then I stand corrected.

Imagine my surprise further, when a reader advise me and through my own, more detailed research of the 1975 GIRM states, [21]..."They should kneel at the consecration unless prevented by the lack of space, the number of people present, or some other good reason."

In the interests of accuracy, I am quite surprised, though I find it interesting that in this case, there is a desire to be obedient; if that were the case with the Propers or Ad orientem worship or not changing any words or the restricted use of Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion, I might find it easier to accept.

I suppose that I am clouded by the more reasonable, if not slightly banal, liturgical situation in Toronto and the overall Archdiocese and its suffragan dioceses. While we have had a some incidents of liturgical weirdness, for the most part, we have not had the disaster present in many other places.

In Toronto, we kneel from the end of the Sanctus to the end of the Amen at the Doxology and we then stand and kneel again from the Agnus Dei and remain kneeling or sitting until after Communion.

I would ask my Canadian readers to make a comment in the comment box, Anonymous if you like.

What is your city?

What is your diocese?

What is the kneeling tradition?

But remember this; the 1975 GIRM also states, "...but it is up to the conference of bishops to adapt the actions and postures described in the Order of the Roman Mass to the customs of the people."
And in Toronto, the custom of the people is to kneel!


Anonymous said...

Diocese of Mackenzie.

Yellowknife, NT - About 5% of people kneel at all.

Elsewhere in diocese - kneeling from the end of the Sanctus until the Amen and for the minor elevation

I think it is just a collective bad habit in Yellowknife. Everyone kneels after Communion. It is a hard habit to break. Even I find it difficult to kneel when everyone around you is not...

As I understand the situation in Ottawa, the Archbishop's decision applies to all parishes and had nothing to do with kneelers.


Anonymous said...

Diocese of Antigonish:
Some churches have kneelers, some don't. Some people kneel (kneeler or not), some don't. The newer churches were built with no kneelers at all, and most people don't see a problem with this.

"They" talked of ripping the kneelers out of our church because they were "too hard to keep clean". "They" never asked for help to clean them though or mentioned that it was an issue. People would have offered their time to help with this. (I heard about it quite by accident) The almighty "they" were overuled by the older more reverent parishionners who got wind of the idea. I consider it an absolute miracle that the de-kneelering of the church was prevented.

JP said...

I can give you two pictures.

I regularly attend a Military chapel (MOC). We kneel at the Sanctus until the Anamnesis. I can't say this is entirely representative of the ordinariate though, as the chaplains are a rather mixed lot, and the Bishop is not particularly careful about this sort of thing.

The neighbouring civvy Church (Diocese of Pembroke) kneels from the Sanctus to the Great Amen, although a couple of parishioners kneel again at the Agnus Dei.

I am not sure this parish is representative of the whole diocese though, as the priest also uses the Nicene Creed for every Sunday Mass, which the rest of the diocese does not.

James TRahaqr said...

Hi we are in Sherwood Park Alberta. We came from the UK last september. We are used to kneeling from the Sanctus to the great Amen and then after the Angus Dei to after communion.

Therefore, we are in a minority here as only about 5% kneel with us. We are not affected by what others do, as the reverence and humility of the consecreation I think demands this - as well as the GIRM.

My understanding is that in Canada everyone should be kneeling to at leats the memorial acclamation.

There are other things that bother me, NO SILENCE before Mass. People have lost their way. There is no geneflection before the Blessed Sacrament, no bow at the name of Jesus, no confetior, no Hail Mary - ok we said the Nicene Creed but the Apostles Creed is ok. No bell in mass and no plates with Communion to protect. The parish is too big and I am certain that people go up to receive Our Lord and have not made their communion and therefore not in a state of grace. We may look for another parish that has a European or African priest as they tend to be more in line with Rome---after all we are Roman Catholics !

Anonymous said...

Diocese: Victoria, BC
Town of Langford

Before Advent 2011: free to kneel or stand from Consecration to Great Amen. Kneel after the Agnus Dei.

Since Advent, the priest specifically tells the congregation to stand directly after the Consecration, and also to "please remain standing" after the Agnus Dei.

My family now feels forced to stand, and we feel especially awful having to stand for the Ecce Agnus Dei, but being told to in such a manner makes it hard to kneel without stirring up trouble at the part of the Mass one should be most recollected. It's getting to the point that we just don't want to go to Mass there, but who knows, maybe other local parish Churches are in the same boat.

Should we be writing to complain about this to the Congregation, do you think? Now we are all forced to stand, and really, there is only kneeling for about 30 seconds for the Consecration. Where has our Catholic sense gone???

It is all the more puzzling, because this is a devout priest, so it seems to me he must have been told to do this.

God Bless,

Embattled Catholic.

Christopher Kirpluk said...

Ste. Anne Manitoba

Ste. Anne des Chenes Parish

Archdiocese of St. Boniface

Parish was renovated in 2010 with new pews - no kneelers.
Were instructed way before then (1980's) to stand during consecration. After the new GIRM for Canada in 2011 (it is now 5 years later in 2016) we still have no kneelers, most are standing.

There is great resistance to even the idea of adding kneelers even though the bishop has wrote a pastoral letter about it.

Anonymous said...

In the Diocese of Antigonish in Nova Scotia some Churches Kneel from the Holy Holy to the Great Amen. Others don't kneel until the priest pauses during the Eucharistic prayer..Thats right..He pauses and waits for all to kneel. Then places his hands over the offeratory and commences on "Therefore".