Friday, 1 July 2011

Proof: The Canadian Bishops' Conference wants you off your knees!

...and to obey a "lay minister" when ordered to do so!

Where is the GIRM (General Instruction on the Roman Missal) for Canada?

A few months ago, I posted this and this. I stated at that time that Canadian bishops asked the congregation for Divine Worship and Discipline of the Sacraments to approve a variety of kneeling postures for Canada. I also indicated at the time that this was the reason for the delay in the Recognitio for Canada. (I will also say that I was chastised by a few bloggers demanding "proof"and that I publicize my "sources.")

I've written three times to the experts at the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops to ask this question. I wrote this week to remind them that I had already written twice before with no answer and I finally received a response with the proof that my suspicions were correct:

"The GIRM with Canadian adaptations is not in print yet precisely because the matter of posture is not yet settled. Until that happens (which we think we be soon) we cannot make the GIRM available."

Not if this blog can help it.

This is what was submitted to Rome for approval:

(52) In the dioceses of Canada, they should kneel from the singing or recitation of the Sanctus to the Memorial Acclamation, except when prevented by reasons of health, lack of space, the large number of people present, or some other good reason. Those who do not kneel at the Consecration, however, should make a profound bow when the Priest genuflects after Communion. The diocesan Bishop may allow the common practice of kneeling at the Consecration only. Where it is the practice for the people to remain kneeling after the Sanctus until the end of the Eucharistic Prayer and before Communion when the Priest says, Behold the Lamb of God, it is laudable to retain this practice.

(53) To achieve uniformity in gestures and postures during one and the same celebration, the faithful should follow the instructions given by the Deacon, lay minister, or Priest in accordance with what is laid down in the Missal.

Can you explain to me why any Catholic in the pew is to listen to any "instruction" from a lay minister?

What is a lay minister anyway?


Anonymous said...

I am not surprised at all! At the St. Michael's cathedral the new pews for the choir were installed, but without praying-desks. Choir remains sited during Consecration !

Anonymous said...

This is funny because generally there is much kneeling at Ukrainian Catholic churches, where there should probably be only standing on Sundays. How backwards!

Carl Vanderwouden said...

Indeed, I would also like to know what exactly a "lay minister" is too.

Young Canadian RC Male said...

I'd bet my money that they probably mean either a lector (who can kind of be abused as an announcer in places according to the 2002 GIRM) or perhaps the newest addition to the lay clergy, the pastoral assistant.

Tony said...

The simple fact that this needs to be argued shows the deep crisis of the Church and the very sad state of churchmen.

TH2 said...

Br. Anthony took the words right out of my mouth.

Sed Contra said...

Does Toronto have a dog in this fight?

Does anyone think that the Archdiocese is going to prohibit us from continuing to knee after the Sanctus until the end of the Eucharistic Prayer and before Communion when the Priest says, Behold the Lamb of God? Especially because the note says that "it is laudable to retain this practice".

Vox Cantoris said...

I think the sentence about "laudable practice" is the bone.

The kneeling posture which we have always observed in Toronto is that which is approved for the GIRM in the United States and Great Britain.

The reality across Canada is that kneeling is "all of the above" depending on where you are. So, our expert liturgists want to meet the various needs of all Canadians.

Yes, Ukrainians, Maronites and others don't kneel; that is their liturgy and tradition. In the west, this is our sign of humility and veneration of the Real Presence.

The interesting question is how did this more traditional kneeling posture survive in some parts of Canada, most of Ontario, B.C., and some other places and become such a mishmash elsewhere.

What bishops in Quebec and the Maritimes and the West specifically got the people off of their knees because as it is in Toronto is how we all did it.

Anonymous said...

A friend just recently emailed in great consternation. She said that the priest at her parish has told other parishioners that all kneelers are to be removed from all Canadian parishes and some parishes in Hamilton have already begun to do this. A day or so later, another friend went to his parish church and found that the kneelers have been removed this week. I find this hard to believe. I will name the parishes, if required.

Vox Cantoris said...

Please email me immediately at voxcantor (at)

I require the names of the parishes and your on statement, name and contact information which will be kept confidential!

Gabby said...

Regardless of what is done in the Archdiocese of Toronto, the 1975 GIRM which Canada is still using only calls for kneeling at Consecration. It's also the only place where kneeling is required in the universal 2002 GIRM. In practice the CCCB has left it up to the bishops for their diocese and in most cases the Bishops have left it up to the Pastors to decide. While travelling I've encountered everything from no kneeling at all to kneeling for the entire Eucharistic Prayer and everything in between.

Vox Cantoris said...

You are correct, the 1975 GIRM currently in force does state that kneeling is at the "Consecration." Prior to this there was no regulation even in what we now call the Extraordinary Form, but there was custom.

However, in the 2011 GIRM you are not correct.hat you don't regard is what is in the U.S. and U.K, GIRM and that is the kneeling posture which is the most traditional as the norm (that which we do in Toronto).

As for 2002, that GIRM does not apply to Canada. In fact, the Canadian bishops stated on the Conference web site that they had no intention of implementing the 2002 GIRM until such time as their was a French equivalent.

This is no longer the case as Roma locuta est.

Gabby said...

I was referring to the 2002 UNIVERSAL GIRM, the Latin one without the adaptations requested by the England and Wales & US Bishops' Conferences. The Latin GIRM still only requires kneeling at the Consecration but allows Bishops' Conferences to adapt this for their own countries, while allowing that where kneeling for the entire EP and after the "Ecce Agnus Dei..." has been the custom it is laudable to keep doing it.

As for the French GIRM, that was completed by the AELF (the French equivalent of ICEL) and accepted by Rome in April of 2008.

Originally the CCCB had said that both the French and English had to be implemented at the same time, but later that changed to "There is no legal requirement to implement the 2002 GIRM until the Roman Missal which it prefaces is implemented since the 2002 GIRM is specific to the Third Typical Edition." This should happen in November, although the official decree hasn't yet been made.

maria k said...

Why is it so important that everyone do the same thing? Myself, it means much to me to kneel after the Agnus Dei. And I don't want to stand around after receiving communion, waiting for everyone to receive. The story I get is that "standing is the way our culture shows respect" and "kneeling was for slaves back then". Our Bishop is wonderful. He is all for the new ways. I dare to disagree though and am starting to dread going to Mass because I am afraid.

Vox Cantoris said...

Dear Maria K,

"Do not be afraid!"

Remember who said those words?

Where is your diocese? You can write to me privately at voxcantoris (at) rogers (dot) com