Expert Answer Forum

kneeling during the consecration QUESTION from Jane Gahlon January 3, 1999
My understanding is that kneeling during the Eucharistic prayer is the norm in the Western Church, from after the Holy, Holy, Holy, through the Great Amen. In our Church we sometimes kneel, sometimes stand, and sometimes do some of each. I find it confusing to say the least, and often times the commotion is distracting from the solemness of the moment. What is the correct posture(s) at this prayer in the Mass? ANSWER by Mr. John Miskell on January 4, 1999
Dear Jane,
Thank you for your question. It is the universal liturgical law in the Western Church that the faithful are to kneel during the consecration. In the United States, the National Conference of Catholic Bishops have received permission from Rome to be more restrictive and to require the faithful to kneel during the entire Eucharistic prayer, instead of only during the consecration; that is, from the Holy, holy, holy. . . to the Great Amen. I believe the custom might be different in Canada and elsewhere in the Latin rite as to whether or not the faithful in those places must kneel during the entire Eucharistic prayer, but I'm not certain. Perhaps one of our Canadian or other Latin rite readers could shed more light on this for us. Again, I must stress that the current law throughout the entire Western (Latin) Church is that all the faithful should kneel during the consecration. We find the following instruction in the United States appendix to the General Instruction of the Roman Missal: At its meeting in November, 1969, the National Conference of Catholic Bishops voted that in general the directives of the Roman Missal concerning the posture of the congregation at Mass should be left unchanged, but that no. 21 of the General Instruction should be adapted that the people kneel beginning after the singing or recitation of the Sanctus until after the Great Amen of the Eucharistic prayer, that is, before the Lord's Prayer. This is a part of the Mass which cannot be revised by the local Bishop, and by no means can any part of the Mass be changed by a priest on his own authority. No local custom allows for this practice either, nor is it a trivial matter as I know is claimed by some. Standing trivializes the consecration. The moment of consecration is supposed to be one of adoration and the Church has long taught that the proper posture for adoration is kneeling. You go ahead and keep right on kneeling. My prayers and the prayers of all the obedient faithful are with you. God Bless, John Miskell Back to Index Page

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