Friday, 2 December 2011

Is the Bishop of London listening?

A few minutes ago I received a letter from a friend in the Diocese of London. She has written to Bishop Ronald Fabbro, CSB on the matter of hard-handed actions and words by some priests to enforce an instruction from the Chancery.
She writes: "He also mentioned how change is difficult and he knows more catechesis is needed, etc. That's fine, the main thing is that he respects the fact that people can kneel if they choose. Now, people need to encourage him to let all the diocesan priests know since some are being bullies when people choose to kneel. I'll still be encouraging people to send in incidences of bullying, threats, accusations, etc., to Bishop Fabbro and if they wish to Rome, too. And, to consider sending Bishop Fabbro a message about their disappointment in his wishing to change a long-standing custom of kneeling after Communion." Now, make no mistake, this is not over; we need to see what next Sunday brings in London.But, let it be known, the Internet is giving us the laity the ability to stand up and be counted and to address this. Now, what are you Catholics doing about this in Calgary, Sault Ste. Marie, Saint John, Kamloops, Antigonish, Halifax, Winnipeg, Moncton, Regina...
"So while desiring to see a move toward this unified posture, it would never be my intent to forbid kneeling following the reception of Holy Communion." Most Reverend Ronald Fabbro, CSB, Bishop of London in Ontario.


From George said...

It is strange that the CCCB wants to be so individualistic in its kneeling habits while attacking the laity as being individualistic if they want to adore their Lord on bended knee.
The bishop of Nelson believes that Rome has blessed this latest liturgical wrinkle of all standing after communion to honor the community. Needless to say it has been met with howls of indignation on my part and that of many others.

Anil Wang said...

My memory is hazy on this.

I recall that the issue of kneeling was still not resolved (recognitio was not yet given) when the order was given to use the revised Roman Missal in Advent -- the Vatican wanted more kneeling than we currently have and the CCCB wanted less. So what we have is interim until recognitio comes.

Am I correct?

Vox Cantoris said...

Dear George,

The Bishop of Nelson, with all due respect to His Excellency, has been given very bad advice.

Rome has not ordered this. It is not in the GIRM and the former Cardinal Prefect made very clear his views on this matter as you can see in the post below.

That is what you need with you on Sunday morning.

I am not telling you to disobey your bishop, but he is mistaken.

Fortunately, I am in Toronto. If our Archbishop did this, with what I know and my "informed conscience," I would kneel.

Keep us posted here please.

Thanks for reading.


Gabby said...

No, Anil Wang, we have what the universal GIRM has: kneeling at the Consecration and the notion that it's laudable for those parishes who have been kneeling for the entire Eucharistic Payer and from the "This is the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.." until Communion to keep doing so. Standing is still the universal posture after receiving Communion but as Cardinal Arinze said, that doesn't mean that kneeling or sitting is forbidden.

Vox Cantoris said...

Dear Anil,

Thank you for your many contributions to the discussion.

You are correct that the order to implement the Missal on Advent I was given before the Recognitio of the GIRM because points were still not clarified.

A source revealed last week to me that the CCCB did not want to immplement the Missal until 2012 after taking a look at how it went in the U.S. That was a non-starter.

My belief is that many resent having the new GIRM and Third Edition and Liturgiam Authenticum and they have implmemented it because they had no choice but don't expect those "externals" they like to condemn us for.

Recognitio on the GIRM was given in August.

The norm for kneeling in Canada is the Consecration, that is a must at a minimum. Where the practice is more traditional, from the end of the Sanctus to the end of the Doxology and from after the Agnus Dei, that is a "laudable practice to be retained."

The period after Communion has no rubric in the GIRM other than a period of "sacred silence" so they are reading something into it that is not there.

Tomorrow I shall post more on where this comes from.


Gabby said...

The rubric is to stand after Communion since it GIRM 43 says that we stand except where we are told to sit and kneel.

Anonymous said...

If standing was the universal norm for immediately after Communion, it would have been mentioned in the dubium about the issue, yet it wasn't. And, Cardinal Arinze has repeatedly stated that Rome has never given a rule for posture for immediately after reception of Holy Communion.

The only conclusion to come to is GIRM 43 is silent on it. Everything is not in 43, Rome said it is meant to be interpreted broadly not rigidly.

Furthermore, Rome has always left it up to the individual to choose posture after receiving Communion and continues to do so, standing is not the "rubric" for after Communion, there isn't one.

Vox Cantoris said...


Paragraph 43 of the GIRM does not say that we "stand" after Communion.

In fact, it says where kneeling has been occurring then that is a "laudable for this practice to be retained.

Since Cardinal Arinze was Prefect when the GIRM was written and he made the pronouncement quoted, addressed a formal Dubium from Cardinal George and spoke about this on video, why would he contradict himself?

As for it being a "universal posture after communion" I have never, ever attended a Mass where this has been the case.

Leave the people alone.

Vox Cantoris said...

Gabby, why would you call the "laudable practice" a "notion?"

Gabby said...

Perhaps 'notion' was a bad choice of word. The gist is that if parishes are kneeling now, they are free to keep kneeling throughout the EP and from the "This is the Lamb of God... until Communion."

But it's not true that the GIRM is silent on posture after Communion. The GIRM says "they stand until the end of Mass except as below" and below tells us when to kneel and when to sit. So if we are not told to kneel or sit after Communion,then we are to stand.

The dubium didn't say that standing was not the posture after Commmunion, it said it did not "regulate posture rigidly in such a way that those who wish to kneel or sit would no longer be free". Obviously that would make no sense if the GIRM wasn't calling for standing at this point. But the bishops are not free to insist that everyone stand, since the dubium says they may sit or kneel if they wish.

Anonymous said...


It is not unusual for the GIRM to be silent on some things, and it can be further confirmed if Rome never states a "norm" in dubiums or Church document. As in the case of standing after Communion, if it was the norm Rome would have stated it in the dubium, but they didn't.

#43 is also silent on posture for receiving Holy Communion, again proving it is not comprehensive, many instructions in the GIRM are not comprehensive rather rely on a hermeneutic of continuity with the traditional posture, which in the case of after Communion has been always left up to the individual.

More proof is that Cardinal Arinze has repeatedly stated that Rome has never made a rule for posture after Communion in the GIRM, ever.

That means the GIRM is silent on the matter and it's intentional. Catholics aren't soldiers who need every movement and thought dictated, there is legitimate freedom, the posture after receiving Communion is such a freedom as Arinze has stated.

Here are Cardinal Arinze's own words:

"There is no rule from Rome that everybody must stand during Holy Communion. There is no such rule from Rome. So, after people have received Communion, they can stand, they can kneel, they can sit. But a bishop in his diocese or bishops in a country could say that they recommend standing or kneeling. They could. It is not a law from Rome. They could -- but not impose it. Perhaps they could propose. But those who want to sit or kneel or stand should be left reasonable freedom."

Gabby said...

The posture for Communion is not dealt with in GIRM 43, it's dealt with in GIRM 160 "The Priest then takes the paten or ciborium and approaches the communicants, who usually come up in procession.

It is not permitted for the faithful to take the consecrated Bread or the sacred chalice by themselves and, still less, to hand them on from one to another among themselves. In the Dioceses of Canada, Holy Communion is to be received standing, though individual members of the faithful may choose to receive Communion while kneeling. When standing before the minister to receive Holy Communion, the faithful should make a simple bow of the head. When receiving Holy Communion on the tongue, they reverently join their hands; when receiving Holy Communion in the hand, they reverently open their hands placing one beneath the other, and they consume the host immediately upon receiving it."

Vox Cantoris said...


"In the Dioceses of Canada, Holy Communion is to be received standing, though individual members of the faithful may choose to receive Communion while kneeling"

The norm to receive is "Standing" that does not mean you need to remain standing.

Cardinal Arinze has dealt with this as has been quoted above by Anil Wang and elsewhere on this blog.

I think Cardinal Arinze knows what the GIRM said and Rome's intention.

They cannot "regulate" us like this.

Gabby said...

Where have I said that they could? I've said every time that while the norm is standing (per 'stand until the end of Mass except...') posture is not regulated so strictly that those who want to kneel or sit can't.

Anonymous said...

Gabby, do you really think that we should stand to pray quietly after Communion (GIRM 88) or to listen to parish announcements (GIRM 90a)?

Well, I don't, and I can't imagine anyone insisting that the congregation stand for these actions, which are not really part of the ritual anyway. But the GIRM doesn't really allow you to sit then, does it? :-)

Gabby said...

The GIRM certainly allows you to sit to pray quietly after Communion. GIRM 43 says "The faithful should sit, on the other hand, during the readings before the Gospel and the Responsorial Psalm and for the Homily and during the Preparation of the Gifts at the Offertory; and, if appropriate, during the period of sacred silence after Communion.

As for the announcements, if they are done properly, we would be standing. Why? Because they are supposed to be short and come immediately AFTER the Prayer After Communion for which we are standing and immediately preceding the Blessing and Dismissal for which we are standing. Why sit down for 30 seconds?