Expert Answer Forum

The new Church? QUESTION from Mrs. Linda Chlebik September 3, 1999
I recently visited my sister and she took me to the local Catholic Church. It is a fairly new church. I was surprised to see how different it was from my home church. For one thing it didn't have pews or kneelers, it had chairs. It was like a big auditorium! There was only bowing of heads when it was, to me, normal to kneel. I didn't feel like I was in the Catholic Church that I know and Love. It just felt cold. I hope this is not what the new Catholic Churches are coming too. Are some of the new churches doing away with pews? Linda C ANSWER by Mr. John Miskell on September 3, 1999
Dear Linda, It seems that you just had a head-on collision with the Modernist American or Canadian Catholic Church (as opposed to the Roman Catholic Church). Some trendy clerics and building committees have been ripping out the pews and kneelers for sometime now. They've also been tossing out the Tabernacles, changing the words of the Mass, and deliberately obscuring the difference between the ordained priesthood and the common priesthood of believers. They appeal to relevance and to how things might have been done in the 1st century. Of course they forget that in the first century people wore togas, reclined when eating, did public penance and the catechumenate (RCIA program) lasted for three years, among other things. They have no authority for doing these things and have been told so over and over by competent authority. Yet they remain obstinate in their disobedience. This particular abuse has been addressed by Rome twenty-one years ago and the rule has not been changed. The following question was posed by the Bishop's Conference to the Sacred Congregation for Liturgy. Query: In some places kneelers have been taken out of the churches. Thus, the people can only stand or sit and this detracts from the reverence and adoration due to the eucharist. Reply: The appointments of a place of worship have some relationship to the customs of the particular locale. For example, in the East there are carpets; in the Roman basilicas, only since modern times, there are usually chairs without kneelers, so as to accommodate large crowds. There is nothing to prevent the faithful from kneeling on the floor to show their adoration, no matter how uncomfortable this may be. In cases where kneeling is not possible (see GIRM no. 21), a deep bow and a respectful bearing are signs of the reverence and adoration to be shown at the time of the consecration and communion: Not 14 (1978) 302-303, no. 4. I hope this helps. Yours in Christ, John Miskell Back to Index Page

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