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Monday 6 February 2012

Apostolic Nuncio to Canada on Kneeling after Communion

I received a letter today from the Apostolic Nuncio to Canada regarding the issue of some bishops and priests forcing people to stand after Holy Communion. This has come about as misinterpretation of the GIRM (General Instruction on the Roman Missal) as it is in the Third Edition in force since the First Sunday of Advent past.

The Archbishop refers to my own provision of the evidence to him from a Dubium and Responsum involving the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops back in 2003 and Cardinal George. This fact has been well publicised and is readily available. The fact that some Canadian bishops and liturgists have taken a different view is unacceptable.

Vox Cantoris' letter received from the Apostolic Nuncio
You, dear Catholic friend, have the right to know the truth and to know when you are being misled.

What is important about the enclosure accompanying His Grace's letter is that it is taken directly from the bulletin, Notitiae, published by the Congregation. What is most notable about its content is that neither the dubium nor the responsum refers to the question coming from the USCCB. It is generic and in fact refers to "multis in locibus christefidelis"-- "Christians in many places." 

Therefore, with clarity the intent is universal. It did not specify the United States.

Let us be very clear. Paragraph 43 of the new General Instruction on the Roman Missal in Canada and elsewhere does not force you to stand after receiving Holy Communion.

It follows then that any bishop or priest in Canada ordering you to stand after receiving Holy Communion is in error and by doing so, they have exceeded their authority.

Let me repeat again.

The bishops, priests and liturgists who have forced you to stand after Holy Communion and to remain standing until all have received are wrong. Read that again. THEY ARE WRONG AND IN ERROR.



Here then is my translation of that pictured below from the September/October 2003 issue of Notitiae, the Bulletin of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments:
In many places during Holy Mass, some of the Christian faithful upon returning to their seats after receiving the Eucharist wish to remain in private prayer sitting or kneeling or standing.  Is it the intent of the statute of the third Latin edition of the Roman Missal to stop this practice?
Negative according to our thoughts.

The mind of the Congregation is that by means of the provisions of the General Instruction of the Roman Missal, n. 43, on the one hand is intended to grant broad terms -- some uniformity of the habit of the Congregation for the various parts of the body in the celebration of Holy Mass; (Vox--as example, the Gloria, Offertory, or Lord's Prayer) and at the same time on the other side of the body, not to regulate the habit so rigorously in such a way that those who wish to stand or to sit or to be on their knees (after Holy Communion) were no longer free to do so.


From George said...

On one hand the nuncio's answer is very consoling. On the other, we have been left to fall through the cracks of two ecclesiastical jurisdictions.

Elizabeth Dianne said...

In charity the nuncio is being very diplomatic and cautious with his selection of words. While I can understand that, the fact remains,these bishops have acted publicly and their correction should likewise be public. Are the dioceses involved in this abuse of authority going to apologize from all the pulpits this Sunday for all the distress and hurt they have caused? How many good and faithful Catholics were told to go and kneel in the back of the Church, either in person or on Catholic Internet forums, so that they would not make a scandal of themselves because of their disobedience to a direct order from the bishop? My goodness, Catholics have taken been heartbroken now for months,by all manner of self-righteous Catholics suggesting they put up and shut up. This has brought division into parish communities, between friends and family alike. No one is asking that these bishops be publicly stripped of their staffs and miters but they have a responsibility to apologize for the instigation of this mischief.

From George said...

Well said, Elizabeth. The so-called theology underlying this mischief is all about "unity". And my, what divisions and chaos this has produced. The CCCB needs to fire its liturgical committee..yesterday!

DWA said...

Perhaps I'm missing something, here, but I don't see the text of the letter from the Nuncio.

Edinburgh Flats said...

Excellent blog post

Kitchener Waterloo Traditional Catholic said...

Thank you for your work on this issue, Vox. Hopefully enough people in those dioceses are aware of this latest abuse. Imagine how different things would be if we had the Internet forty years ago.

Barona said...


Very well done! Congratulations for your tenacious defense of the Church in Canada. Bishops and clergy must learn to realize that they are the servants of the Truth. They are custodians; "watchmen"...

One can ask: if Catholics really, really believed that it was God they were receiving in Holy Communion, this debate would not even be happening.

Barona said...

The intent, albeit subtle, is to create a type of quasi-semi autonomous "Canadian church", that nominally acknowledges Rome, but does not in practice. Thus, there is an episcopal/clerical attempt for a "church" to be half off the rails. On the one hand, yes we are Roman, but on the other hand - no, we are closet protestants.

Elizabeth Dianne said...

Have you seen "The Carillon" published by the diocese of Calgary, Alberta yet? It is available online. Within it is an article by Simone Brosig, entitled, "Concerning the Communion Procession." Bishop Fred Henry is not stepping back from his directive. To the contrary, witness this admonition, any Catholic "who fall{s} into private prayer while the Communion Procession continues appears to neglect the presence of Christ in the other communicants and reduces Christ's presence to objectification of the host." Contrary to neglecting Christ, anyone who falls down on their knees to the Blessed Sacrament is giving the King of Kings proper and fitting worship while many of the faithful who remain standing can be observed ignoring Christ and gawking as if it were a "Communion Parade" not a most solemn procession. This statement completely dismisses the mode of Christ's presence under the Eucharistic species as unique. In this most Blessed Sacrament the whole Christ is truly, really and substantially contained. Let there be no confusion here, it is because it is the presence of God in the fullest sense that we kneel. We are on sacred ground and like Moses before the Great I AM in the burning bush we humble ourselves. This is mind-boggling.

Barona said...

Bluntly put, there is a word for all of this: schism.

From George said...

The heresy train is speeding up....Christ is the sum of all communicants...doesn't exist in Himself??? I guess individual judgment by Christ will be next on the chopping block. It will be a communal effort..don't worry...no-one will ask painful questions.

Barona said...

Parish paradox - whilst traditionalists measure the length of candles upon the rederos; the liberal marches around the church to ensure all are standing.

JP said...

We just neglected to teach our Bishop's revision on this point. Thanks David for having our back!

Barona said...

When one considers the attack on the Real Presence by another "liturgical educator" in Brisbane, Australia - it underscores my original point: it all comes down to the dogma of the Real Presence. It is being openly attacked.

Santa said...

Interesting post on the Witness blog on the state of things in Winnipeg, regarding this controversy:


Elizabeth Dianne said...

Barona, Yes, I did see that astonishing attack on the faithful who receive COTT. Again we are accused of disrupting unity. So it is awkward for ministers to give communion on the tongue to people while they are standing? Finally, they have realized it is time to put down kneelers just like Pope Benedict and Cardinal Antonio Canizares Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship requested in the Cathedral in Toledo, Spain. As for this new theology on the Eucharist, what would St. Paul say? "There are some who trouble you and want to pervert the Gospel of Christ."1 Cor.10 Did not Jesus most explicitly teach His True Presence in the Gospel of John 6? We take Him literally at His Word and believe. The I AM has spoken. If He could create all that exists out of nothing He most certainly could take that which already is and make it His own Flesh and Blood. If anyone refuses to teach that he/she is preaching another gospel.

Anonymous said...

Hello I just wanted to comment on this most important topic and I agree we should be kneeling after receiving communion. I find it hard and next to impossible to pray and stand and I think it is stupid to sing with others at this time when Jesus is fully present. I live in Calgary too and I think I might kneel from now on and thinking of writing to the bishop. The mass doesn't feel the same. The danger is now that the faith will resemble a protestant faith. I hate it. I would appreciate any suggestions. Yes I am considering moving to another city or maybe go to a latin mass. This is horrendous what this bishop is allowing.

Vox Cantoris said...

Dear Anonymous,

You are not required to obey an error. They cannot force you to stand, that is clear.

At the same time, one needs to approach this in humility.

Here is my advice.

1. Write the bishop, print out this letter and the Notititae.

2. Advise him that in Vancouver, Toronto, Hamilton, St. Catharines and many other dioceses, there has been no change.

3. Kneel after Communion or sit if that is your preference. Take a pew at the back or in an inconspicous location so as not to cause the Liturgical Fascists to attack.

4. Go to the FSSP at St Anthony's.

5. Advise all your family and friends of this siuation.

6. Or move to Toronto!

Elizabeth Dianne said...

"The Mass is the visit Jesus Christ makes to us, it is the invitation to live anew that which is most important in life; through the Word of God, through the offering of His life He makes to the Father, through His death on the Cross and His Resurrection. By participating in the Sunday Mass we experience an important, vital and central part of our lives. Therefore, for Catholics, the Holy Mass and the Eucharist can only be spoken of on our knees, in silence, and with respect. The contrary is called blasphemy." Cardinal Juan Luis Cipriani.

Anonymous said...

Hi Vox and thank you for your advice. I am planning to write to the Bishop of Calgary and good idea to print this letter. So let me get this straight Rome has said that we are allowed to kneel after receiving Holy Communion? So that means that Rome would have more power than Bishop Henry right? So I am not disobeying? The only thing is that I disagree with you with sitting at the back of the church I think I have every right to kneel wherever in the church(sorry I don't mean to be rude). I actually went to mass this morning and knelt boy it felt so good to speak to the Lord and even the guy beside me knelt too! I'm going to pass this letter to my friend about the apostolic nuncio to Canada and she was very surprised and agrees it is getting to be too protestant the mass. I am thinking of moving maybe Vancouver. I was there and was very pleasantly surprised the priests are very orthodox(yeah!) I even get to receive Holy Communion while kneeling and they have communion rails and the priest is so good I feel like I am at the Vatican. My other option is going to a different church here in Calgary and there the priest told me it is ok to kneel and practically a low percentage stand after receiving Holy Communion. Is receiving the precious blood of Jesus from the chalice wrong? I never knew and why? I am also surprise that this Bishop H. doesn't follow the GIRM? according to your remarks?
Thanks again for your advice. God bless.

Vox Cantoris said...

Dear Anon,

Print out the picture of the notice from Notitiae as well. Yes, the Bishop is wrong, Rome is correct. He has exceeded his authority. He cannot force you to stand. That is what it says.

Vancouver is in very good shape.If you go, you should check out St. Jude's.

As for following the GIRM in Calgary, I direct you to this:


Kneel in the front if that suits you. I only wanted to save you the grief. Personally, I would kneel in the front or wherever I chose to sit.

Elizabeth Dianne said...

I just attended a funeral Mass today in Michigan and what utter chaos. Everyone but a handful remained standing throughout the entire Eucharistic half of the Mass and yes that included the Consecration. The Canadians from the London diocese, who are now acclimatized to standing after the Agnus Dei and throughout the Communion Procession, figured standing was the way they do it now in the USA so they just stood there. My god-daughter who was one of the majority standing mistakenly believed these changes in posture are all part of the "new liturgy." With all the instruction the priest so generously delivered throughout the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass about what we are doing he could have asked the congregation to kneel. Sure, not a few of the mourners there were ex-Catholics and Protestants; all the more reason, to gently instruct them on proper conduct within the house of God. As for silence, not a moment before, during or after. Silence is most definitely called for in the General Instruction of the Roman Missal. After a lifetime of talking as if one were in a stadium people no longer know how to maintain reverential silence or to take a few minutes before Mass to pray privately. Talk, talk, and not just to their neighbour seated next to them but across the pews. Experimentation, innovation and cacophony has become the new normal; Catholics who are there to offer worship are left bewildered, overwhelmed and in a general state of shock. "Father, forgive them, they know not what they do."

Vox Cantoris said...

Dear Elizabeth Dianne,

Thank you for your contributions!


Elizabeth Dianne said...

Vox Cantoris, Thank you. I'm still trying to understand statements put out by various liturgical educators, in particular, the link Santa contributed from the archdiocese of Winnipeg. The bulletin inserts "Toward a Full, Conscious and Active Participation" pose more questions than they answer.

Elizabeth Dianne said...

“When they had plaited a crown of thorns they put it upon His head, and a reed in His right hand and they bowed the knee before Him and mocked Him, saying, ‘Hail, King of the Jews!’” Mat.27:29

Note, even these barbaric, pagan, ignorant soldiers knelt before the King of Kings though they knew Him not. How much more should we kneel, who have witnessed the death and resurrection of our LORD and Redeemer.

Elizabeth Dianne said...

Unlike the Roman soldiers who did not know what they were doing, we kneel because we believe; we are awestricken before so great a mystery. We stand not in the presence of an ordinary object, a spiritual sign, a literary metaphor, a mere fragment of bread or a cup of wine: we behold the Lamb of God with eyes of faith. The great I AM has stepped outside of the burning bush; descended from the cloud-covered Mount Sinai to reveal Himself, in person, in the flesh. We have seen His face.

Elizabeth Dianne said...

Hence, do not bid us to violate our personal consciences; to delay our prayers of thanksgiving; understand that we are thrown on our knees before the majesty of the LORD our God. We act in love, in obedience to His voice, the Shepherd we know. As the people of God of the New Covenant, members of the universal community of believers, we choose the blessing; reject the curse. We have been called by the Source of life. It is not us who consumes Christ but we are the ones who are consumed and transformed by the awesome and heavenly Mysteries we partake of, for the forgiveness of our sins, the pardon of our offenses, for fellowship with the Holy Spirit and for the inheritance of the kingdom of heaven.

Barona said...

I shall be dealing with the Winnipeg heresy and others in an upcoming post further exploring the modern Eucharistic heresies (transfinalization etc.).

Preliminary research seems to indicate a real, real crisis in the "heart and soul" of the Christian Faith. We must remember,it was when our Blessed Lord mentioned His Flesh that they "stopped walking with him". It was also Peter who confessed his belief in the Lord.

Elizabeth Dianne said...

Barona, I am looking forward to some concrete reasons why you think the Winnipeg article is heresy. It is a bombshell, though whether or not it is heresy would best be determined by the Congregation for the Faith. The presentation is so fluid in expression and construction that it lacks any clarity. In any case, it 'takes' words and concepts out of context. "Taking, blessing, breaking and sharing" all become part of an 'experience' we share rather than actual participation in the Sacred Mystery of the LORD crucified and resurrected.

For example,"What is being offered to God for change and transformation is not simply what has been placed upon the altar, but also those who stand around the altar" An isolated example? hardly. It continues, "bread and wine as well as the worshipping assembly are changed and transformed into the body and blood of Christ." We continue, (third swing at bat),"Through the praying of the Eucharistic Prayer, the bread and wine as well as the entire worshipping assembly are changed and transformed into the Eucharistic Presence of Jesus." Is any of this helping anyone to become more 'fully conscious' of what they are doing at Mass?

The new Catechism of the Catholic Church is more accessible to the faithful than this. Over a decade with more than a thousand bishops offering their revisions created a wealth of teaching on the Eucharist with all the references and resources for further research and reflection. Frankly, I would just as soon stick to it, Holy Scripture and the Holy Father. Witness the brevity yet the inherent beauty and truth of his words.

"With the Eucharist, heaven comes down to earth, the tomorrow of God descends into the present and it is as if time remains embraced by divine eternity." Pope Benedict

Elizabeth Dianne said...

"With the words of consecration, the Eucharistic Prayer, transforms the bread, wine and assembly into the presence of Jesus..." "Toward a Full, Conscious and Active Participation", Archdiocese of Winnipeg

Well I finally felt confident enough to share my findings with a group of serious Catholics and I can tell you, after only a few quotes they were genuinely shocked. We don't have degrees in theology but we do have "the rule of language which the Church has established through the long labor of centuries, with the help of the Holy Spirit, and which she has confirmed with the authority of the Councils." Mysterium Fidei by Paul VI

Elizabeth Dianne said...

"This presence is called "real" not to exclude the idea that the others are "real" too, but rather to indicate presence par excellence, because it is substantial and through it Christ becomes present whole and entire, God and man. ~Council of Trent, decree on the Eucharist~ And so it would be wrong for anyone to try to explain this manner of presence by dreaming up a so-called "pneumatic" nature of the glorious body of Christ that would be present everywhere; or for anyone to limit it to symbolism, as if this most sacred Sacrament were to consist in nothing more than an efficacious sign "of the spiritual presence of Christ and of His intimate union with the faithful, the members of His Mystical Body."~ Mysterium Fidei,Encyclical on the Holy Eucharist, Paul VI, 1965

Nancy said...

we also received a letter from the Nuncio, dated January 25th, similar to yours, we are in the Prince Albert Diocese, Sask. but right after: "negative, et ad mentem" was written (no, for this reason) , So ad mentem means "for this reason" and not " in our minds." It's just a detail but worth mentioning. And also, our little consecration bells have been suppressed,except for Christmas and Easter, is this happening just for us?

Anonymous said...

we also received a letter from the Nuncio, dated January 25th, similar to yours, we are in the Prince Albert Diocese, Sask. but right after: "negative, et ad mentem" was written (no, for this reason) , So ad mentem means "for this reason" and not " in our minds." It's just a detail but worth mentioning. And also, our little consecration bells have been suppressed,except for Christmas and Easter, is this happening just for us?

Vox Cantoris said...


I've seen the exact letter and wording you refer to sent to someone in the Diocese of London. THe response sent to me included the original Latin text as shown and the translation is mine.

I suppose I translated "mentum" to mean "mind" though one could more properly, as in the Nuncio's case, use "reason" and I will defer to him. Though in my own defense, one does "reason" with one's mind. Perhaps I was being to literal...you know, "What does the translation really say?"

As for the bells, they are a custom which the GIRM considers laudable to retain at certain places in the Novus Ordo. They are not required.

That being said...

Elizabeth Dianne said...

Well, I have a letter too from the Apostolic Nuncio, Cardinal Pedro Lopez Quintana with the same reasoning we are all familiar with from the Congregation for Divine Worship. This didn't impress everyone to whom I showed it but it did encourage the faithful who felt "kicked in the stomach" when this whole business began so abruptly last November. As far as the "unimpressed" individuals are concerned what counts to them is the authority of the local bishop.

Maybe someone needs to explain why this statement from the Vatican is significant in the first place and what authority does the Apostolic Nuncio of Canada have? After all, it is not like the bishops who initiated this latest rupture from our historical past, were ignorant of the controversy in the States back in 2003. It does suggest that the attitude of resisting authority stems, not from the Catholics who love Pope Benedict and JPII before him, but from a power struggle to win the hearts and minds of the faithful in Canada to "the Church in America." Yes, that is a direct quote from a dissident priest, who dared to preach this one Sunday to his parish about ten years ago. In a confrontation after Mass, this priest did not back down or apologize one iota for his homily. As far as he was concerned, the pope was just an old man and a senile one at that. This priest played with me like the cat who had caught the mouse and berated me for walking out in the middle of his "sermon" and refusing to partake of the communion with "the community." He repeated that several times. That's right, this parish priest who had openly preached rebellion accused me of breaking "communion." He felt so confident he would not be corrected by his bishop that he defied the parishioners in the preamble to his sermon to write to the bishop and complain if we dared. Apparently, he had spent his Saturday evening, answering the phone from upset Catholics who had threatened to do just that after his Saturday Mass. Did I write and complain. Yes. Did the bishop defend his priest. Yes. Was any action taken? No. All this to say, Catholics sitting in the pews, have good cause to be suspicious of anyone telling them to act against their Catholic sensibilities and conscience.

Elizabeth Dianne said...

I wish to provide a link to an article written by Colin Donovan explaining the difference between the "True Presence or Real Presence." It is important for Catholics to use correct expressions when speaking about Christ's presence in the Blessed Sacrament as there are many who seek to disorient the laity. Thankfully, it is brief. http://www.ewtn.com/expert/answers/true_presence.htm

Elizabeth Dianne said...

Contrast and compare the following:

"To fall into private prayer while the Communion Procession continues...reduces Christ's presence to objectification of the host." Archdiocese of Calgary,Alberta, Office of Liturgy, Simone Brosig, PhD.

"From whence should we start, as the source, to recover and reaffirm the primacy of God? From the Eucharist: Jesus, the last and definitive Word of God becomes flesh, comes to meet us as Person." Pope Benedict XVI, Italian Eucharistic Congress, Sept.11, 2011

Conclusion: the difference between these two is that one is teaching about a thing, an "object" whereas our pope is talking about the Person of Christ who has come to feed His flock the "total gift that He makes of Himself."

Elizabeth Dianne said...

"It can take time to reprogram our bodies, minds, and hearts. It can take time until a sequence that is distracting by its unfamiliarity becomes comfortably familiar." Simone Brosig, Office of Liturgy, Diocese of Calgary,Al. "Concerning the Communion Procession"

Contrast the arrogance of the above statement which presumes to "reprogram" the Mystical Body of Christ who have come to worship, like a software program in need of 'reprogramming.' One is aghast by the boldness of such language which inevitably reminds one of the ideologues from the last century who were also bent upon 'reprograming' people's "minds": in re-education camps. Even so, compare the ugliness of our contemporary culture with the beauty of this prayer from St. Thomas of Aquinas.

"Oh Godhead hid, devoutly I adore Thee, Who truly art within the forms before me; To Thee MY HEART I BOW WITH BENDED KNEE..."

Elizabeth Dianne said...

"Now in this sacrament the Word is present not only in his divinity, but also in the reality of His flesh; and so He is the cause of the resurrection not just of souls, but of bodies as well: “For as death came through a man, so the resurrection of the dead has come through a man” (1 Cor 15:21). It is now clear how profitable it is to take this sacrament."St. Thomas Aquinas on the Most Blessed Sacrament of the Eucharist

Elizabeth Dianne said...

Jesus "flesh was also signified by the manna. “Manna” means “What is this?” because when the Jews saw it they wondered, and asked each other what it was. But nothing is more a source of wonder than the Son of God made man, so that everyone can fittingly ask, “What is this?” That is, how can the Son of God be the Son of Man? How can Christ be one person with two natures? “His name will be called Wonderful” (Is 9:6). It is also a cause for wonder how Christ can be present in the sacrament." St. Thomas Aquinas on the Most Blessed Eucharist

As this supreme and most excellent sacrament is indeed "a cause for wonder," all the more reason to approach Our Lord in humility and immediately afterward to kneel in profound silence and adoration. John 6:32-33

Elizabeth Dianne said...

"“When a man feels proud of himself, he stands erect, draws himself to his full height, throws back his head and shoulders and says with every part of his body, I am bigger and more important than you. But when he is humble he feels his littleness, and lowers his head and shrinks into himself. He abases himself. And the greater the presence in which he stands the more deeply he abases himself; the smaller he becomes in his own eyes...

One has no need to be told that God's presence is not the place in which to stand on one's dignity. To appear less presumptuous, to be as little and low as we feel, we sink to our knees and thus sacrifice half our height; and to satisfy our hearts still further we bow down our heads, and our diminished stature speaks to God and says, Thou art the great God; I am nothing."
~Sacred Signs by Romano Guardini

Elizabeth Dianne said...

I have been rereading the instruction, Redemptionis Sacramentum, mandated by Blessed John Paul II and released March 25, 2012, by the prefect for the Congregation for the Divine Liturgy, Card. Arinze. The closing words are worthwhile reflecting on, particularly in light of the bishops of Canada who remain unmoved, by the pleas for mercy from their flocks, requesting that they rescind this profound adaption to the tradition of kneeling immediately following reception of Holy Communion.

"Let all Christ's faithful participate in the Most Holy Eucharist as fully, consciously and actively as they can, honoring it lovingly by their devotion and the manner of their life. Let Bishops...in the exercise of the sacred ministry, examine their consciences as regards the authenticity and fidelity of the actions they have performed in the name of Jesus Christ and His Church in the celebration of the Sacred Liturgy. Let each one of the sacred ministers ask himself, even with severity, whether he has respected the rights of the lay members of Christ's faithful, who confidently entrust themselves and their children to him, relying on him to fulfill for the faithful those sacred functions that the Church intends to carry out in celebrating the sacred Liturgy at Christ's command. For each one should always remember that he is a servant of the Sacred Liturgy."

"Servant of the Sacred Liturgy" Does a servant undermine the Master? Let's face it; it is incredible that fervent Catholics, seeking to adore their Redeemer in silence,on their knees, should be interfered with. The audacity of anyone seeking to come between the bride and her bridegroom is astounding, particularly regrettable that it should be from one who should have a deeper insight into the mystical nature of this union.To suggest these communicants lack a "proper theology" shows a lack of respect for the whole procession of saints, angels, patriarchs, prophets and ancestors who have knelt to worship God from time immemorial. After years of creativity, including pastors delivering homilies in clown costumes, sanctuaries decked with balloons and barely clad liturgical dancers, one wonders the legitimacy of such posturing. Should Jesus come again to cleanse the Temple of His Father with a whip, one has serious doubt it will be to chastise members of the congregation found kneeling and attempting to pray despite all the diversionary tactics liturgical activists have imposed.

"However the Priest will remember that he is the servant of the Sacred Liturgy and that he himself is not permitted, on his own initiative, to add, to remove, or to change anything in the celebration of the Mass.” GIRM no.24- (Vatican II, Constitution of the Sacred Liturgy, Sacrosanctum Concilium, no. 22)

Elizabeth Dianne said...

Correction: Redemptionis Sacramentum was released in 2004, not 2012.

Elizabeth Dianne said...

“This sequence- standing throughout the Communion Procession and sitting or kneeling after the last person has received - may take time to appreciate. It can take time to reprogram our bodies, minds, and hearts. It can take time until a sequence that is distracting by its unfamiliarity becomes comfortably familiar.”- “Concerning the Communion Procession” Simone Brosig, Office of Liturgy, Calgary, Alberta

Kneeling is a ritual act, meaning it is a customary practice of the faithful to kneel and has been a sound tradition for nearly a millennium in the Latin Rite. As such, it should be retained. Even so, it is not a bad habit or a mindless action that needs “reprogramming” for it too is a “powerful sign.” Kneeling is still a universal gesture of reverence to our saving God. No one has ever established kneeling is incompatible with praise and thanksgiving. The unfortunate reference to kneeling as a mere “impulse,” as this article asserted, negates the significance of this action. What did the instruction Redemptionis Sacramentum, from the Sacred Congregation of Divine Worship, say? “Let all Christ's faithful participate in the Most Holy Eucharist as fully, consciously and actively as they can, honoring it lovingly by their devotion.”

What manner of assumptions do we have when liturgists instruct the faithful to act as a “liturgical unit” during the Communion Procession; to ignore what they are “accustomed” to; to delay “private” prayers; all in favor of respecting a fabricated “sequence?” Bishops and liturgists acknowledge this change is “distracting by its unfamiliarity” or a “major shift” in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. The Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy is quite clear, “there must be no innovations unless the good of the Church genuinely and certainly requires them.”

What proof is offered that the faithful on their knees are not “active” and participating “fully?” Catholics on their knees honor the Most Holy Eucharist “lovingly by their devotion.”

“Is it not held today that man adores God with all his being? This means with his soul and body....If to bless means to adore, blessing and adoration are documented in Scripture by prostration and the physical bending of the knee and, metaphysically, of the heart. Only the devil does not kneel, because -say the desert Fathers- he does not have knees.” ~ “The Liturgy, Work of the Trinity: God the Father” (CCC 1077-1083), Fr. Nicola Bux, Professor of Eastern Liturgy and Consultor of the Congregations for the Doctrine of the Faith, for the Causes of Saints, for Divine Worship and Discipline of the Sacraments, as well as for the Office of Liturgical Celebrations of the Supreme Pontiff.

A final reflection from the Pope, written in “The Spirit of the Liturgy” when he was still a cardinal.

"It may well be that kneeling is alien to modern culture–insofar as it is a culture, for this culture has turned away from the faith and no longer knows the One before whom kneeling is the right, indeed the intrinsically necessary gesture. The man who learns to believe learns also to kneel, and a faith or a liturgy no longer familiar with kneeling would be sick at the core. Where it has been lost, kneeling must be rediscovered, so that, in our prayer, we remain in fellowship with the apostles and martyrs, in fellowship with the whole cosmos, indeed in union with Jesus Christ Himself. " Pope Benedict XVI, “The Spirit of the Liturgy”

Elizabeth Dianne said...

The newspaper of the Diocese of London, winter 2011 edition, is available in portable document format online at their website under media tab. The entire paper is dedicated to the Catholic Mass GIRM v.3. Bishop Fabbro on the front page wrote an article, "The Mass: Why the Change?:

"It is almost 50 years since the Second Vatican Council mandated a reform of the liturgy. In the document on the liturgy, the Council Fathers stated:

For the liturgy is made up of unchangeable elements divinely instituted, and of elements subject to change. These latter not only may be changed but ought to be changed with the passage of time, if they have suffered from the intrusion of anything out of harmony with the inner nature of the liturgy or have become less suitable. In this restoration both texts and rites should be drawn up so as to express more clearly the holy things which they signify (Constitution of the Sacred Liturgy, 21)

This is the link:

By the way, many of the people are standing because their pastors to whom they have complained have told them to take it to the Pope; he mandated this shift in posture.

Elizabeth Dianne said...

I respectfully submit that Bishop Fabbro is out of step with the mind of Holy Mother Church if he is basing his radical shift in posture on the basis of the constitution of the Sacred Liturgy,(S.C.no.21) What proof does he have that kneeling after reception of the Eucharist has "suffered from the intrusion of anything out of harmony with the inner nature of the liturgy?" The Sacred Congregation of Divine Worship has defended the rights of the faithful to kneel notwithstanding the misinterpretation of article 43 of the GIRM. If kneeling was identified as a laudable practice to be retained in this same article one cannot believe kneeling has "become less suitable" either.

I would urge the faithful to read the Apostolic Letter of Blessed John Paul II written twenty-five years after Sacrosanctum Concilium in Dec. 1988. It is called Vicesimus Quintas Annus. Bl.J.P. shared the same enthusiasm as Bishop Fabbro but he did have some cautionary notes which are pertinent to our efforts so that we can amicably and quickly resolve this impasse.

"There remains the considerable task of continuing to implant the Liturgy in certain cultures, welcoming from them those expressions which are compatible with aspects of ~the true and authentic spirit of the Liturgy,~ in respect for the ~substantial unity of the Roman Rite..." Anyone familiar with papal writings knows very well kneeling is a posture of adoration and intrinsic to authentic worship to God.

"The adaptation must take account of the fact that in the liturgy, and notably that of the sacraments, there is a ~part which is unchangeable~ because it is of divine institution, and of which the Church is the guardian. There are also ~parts open to change~, which the Church has the power and on occasion also the duty to adapt to the cultures of recently evangelized peoples. (S.C. no.21)" Southwestern Ontario cannot seriously be called "recently evangelized."

"Cultural adaptation also requires conversion of heart and even, where necessary, a breaking with ancestral customs incompatible with the Catholic faith." There is nothing incompatible with the Catholic faith in kneeling. Kneeling is itself an act of faith so much so that no other sign of reverence is required.

"This demands a serious formation in theology, history and culture' as well as sound judgement in discerning what is necessary or useful and what is not useful or even dangerous to faith." Who could possibly think kneeling is "dangerous" to the faith?

What is dangerous to the faith and unity is making unnecessary radical changes within the Sacred Liturgy; causing great disturbance within the assembly of God's people.

"Adoration is the first attitude of man acknowledging that he is a creature before his Creator. It exalts the greatness of the Lord who made us (Psalm 95) and the almighty power of the Savior who sets us free from evil. Adoration is homage of the spirit to the "King of Glory," (Psalm 24) respectful silence in the presence of the "ever greater" God. (St. Augustine) Adoration of the thrice-holy and sovereign God of love blends with humility and gives assurance to our supplications." Catechism no. 2628

Conclusion: The faithful who remain on their knees stand on solid ground: the rock who is Peter.

Elizabeth Dianne said...

"Conferences may determine, according to the procedure given below, whether the introduction into the liturgy of elements borrowed from the social and religious rites of a people, and which form a living part of their culture, will enrich their understanding of liturgical actions without producing negative effects on their faith and piety. They will always be careful to avoid the danger of introducing elements that might appear to the faithful as the return to a period before evangelization.

In any case, if changes in rites or texts are judged to be necessary, they must be harmonized with the rest of the liturgical life and, before being put into practice, still more before being made mandatory, they should first be presented to the clergy and then to the faithful in such a way as to avoid the danger of troubling them without good reason."(Cardinal Ortas, prefect for the C.D.W. No 32. Fourth Instruction for the Right Application of the Conciliar Document on the Liturgy, 1994)

Again, this change in posture was made mandatory before the preliminary conditions were met. It is pretty clear no effort was made to "avoid the danger of troubling" the faithful "without good reason." When folks received this mandate to remain standing it was without preparation or notice. As yet, no liturgist or bishop has produced proof that this change in posture was done by necessity. As for negative effects, people are still angry, confused and a few are ready to leave the Church because they feel their trust has been violated. Attendance of the Sunday Liturgy is down to 14% in this diocese from 80%. Can the bishop afford to be so indifferent to the pastoral needs of the flock entrusted to his care? Is the cost of losing more souls really worth it?

Anonymous said...

I went to church today in Calgary and I felt quite angry the priest reminded everyone that the posture for communion is standing. By the way he also mentioned that some have grumbled about this, gee I wonder why?
I am very upset with the priest and of course I knelt but felt very uncomfortable and afterwards felt angry.So now I am going to write to our priest telling him of this lack of respect for those who wish to kneel and sorry I cannot follow this stupid posture that works better for protestants. Any suggestions? I also plan to write to the Bishop. I felt very insulted.

Vox Cantoris said...

Dear Anonymous,

It is sad that they are doing this and that the priest would be sarcastic about it.

I would write a polite but firm letter and include a print out of the dubium above and this blog post, if you like.

You should also write to the Papal Nuncio in Ottawa and copy Bishop Henry.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Vox for your suggestion. By the way what is the address to the Nuncio in Ottawa and I can complain to Him about our bishop and can he do something? Or am I to do what the bishop says though I feel very uncomfortable. The priest said at Easter mass that the bishop has changed the posture of communion. I don't like to be put in this position but I rather obey Jesus than this priest or bishop.

Elizabeth Dianne said...

His Excellency Archbishop Pedro Lopez Quintana, Apostolic Nuncio to Canada,
724 Manor Avenue, Ottawa, Ontario, K1M 0E3; fax: 613-746-4786

The proper thing to do is to start with the bishop. You have a right as a Catholic to express your concerns politely and with respect. More than a right it is a duty to make known to your bishop how uncomfortable you are. Otherwise he will assume everyone loves this change in posture. Silence speaks volumes.

Elizabeth Dianne said...

Blessed John Paul II has a few timely words for us which are relevant in consideration of the professional liturgists and clergy who are forever shifting the focus of the faithful away from the substantial and exalted presence, par excellence, of Our Lord in the Eucharist. The following is from Redemptoris hominis:

"Indeed, the Eucharist is the ineffable sacrament!...With all the greater reason, then, it is not permissible for us, in thought, life or action, to take away from this truly most holy sacrament its full magnitude and its essential meaning. It is at one and the same time a sacrifice-sacrament, a communion-sacrament, and a presence-sacrament. And, although it is true that the Eucharist always was and must continue to be the most profound revelation of the human brotherhood of Christ's disciples and confessors, it cannot be treated merely as an “occasion” for manifesting this brotherhood."

There is the crux of the problem, the incongruous demand that communicants remain standing supposedly because private prayer on one's knees neglects the presence of the Christ in the community. There is something seriously wrong with a church which has identified private prayer as a problem and discourages it. A Catholic can do both, pray individually and as part of the community. It is not an "either-or" situation but a "both-and" one.

Awe and reverence which was once a hallmark of Catholic worship has been lost wherever the assembly has been over-emphasized. Standing is the wrong direction. The faithful, especially the distracted, confused and poorly catechized faithful, belong on their knees so that they will have a physical reminder that during the Sacred Liturgy they are participating in a most solemn event: the Paschal Mystery.

Elizabeth Dianne said...

Since this this sudden change in the Sacred Liturgy was introduced by some on the pretext of unity it behooves us to examine what Holy Mother Church has traditionally taught about unity. The following Father of the Church offers some words of encouragement and warning.

“So the Holy Spirit came in a dove. It is a simple and happy animal, not bitter with gall, not cruel with its bites, not violent with lacerating claws; it loves the hospitalities of men; when they give birth they bring forth their offspring together; when they go and come they cling together; they spend their lives in mutual intercourse; they recognize the concord of peace by the kiss of the beak; they fulfill the law of unanimity in all things. This is the simplicity which ought to be known in the Church; this the charity to be attained, that the love of the brethren imitate the doves, that their gentleness and tenderness equal that of the lambs and the sheep. What is the savagery of wolves doing in the breast of a Christian, and the madness of dogs and the lethal poison of snakes and the bloody cruelties of beasts? Congratulations are due, when such as these are separated from the Church, lest they prey upon the doves and sheep with their cruel and venomous contagion. Bitterness cannot cling and join with sweetness, darkness with light, rains with clear water, fighting with peace, sterility with fecundity, drought with running waters, storm with calm. Let no one think that the good can depart from the Church; the wind does not ravage the wheat, nor does the storm overturn the tree strongly and solidly rooted; the light straws are tossed about by the tempest; the feeble trees are thrown down by the onrush of the whirlwind. The Apostle Paul execrates and strikes at these, when he says: 'They have gone forth from us, but they were not of us. For if they had been of us, they would have continued with us.' ” St. Cyprian of Carthage, “De Unitatis, The Unity of the Catholic Church”, no.9

Unknown said...

To very devout Roman Catholics this may already be a very big deal but in my own opinion, it is not as important as acknowledging and accepting Jesus Christ in your life and allowing Him to lead you to salvation. I am also a Roman Catholic and this is what I live by. :)
- LaceAndGraceVeils.com

Anonymous said...

Well, at my parish, which has completely gone in the direction of standing, hand communion, and "quick mass" also doesn't allow communion veils. They are too "traditional". So, remember, that a veil, is a traditional, garment and if this schism continues, may be outlawed by the laity at all parishes.

Anonymous said...

You missed the best of canadian women
A;liberal female federal politician from Nova Scotia. Rose??? Trudeau replaced her with a rapid homosexual. She took the Bishop of Nova Scotia to Rome and forced Rome to severely censure her parish priest and bishop and the verdict stated that no one was to refuse Holy Communion to those kneeling. We should get together and start taking these dictatorial shepherds before the Tribunals toute suite

TLM said...

Barona....is it EVER!! The Real Presence is not only being attacked in certain countries.......this is happening WORLD WIDE! Openly and unashamedly! The unbelieving prelates are now OUT AND PROUD. I read another horror story today online from someone distraught over her Pastor's proclamation from the PULPIT that to believe the Lord Jesus is truly there in this 'little wafer' is superstitious backward thinking!! Satan has no need to hide anymore, and he I am afraid will become even more vicious in a short time to come. God help us if this is just the tip of the iceberg, but I believe with very heavy heart, it is.