Is kneeling really a mortal sin?

bankaufl neuIt’s an old joke, one that I think I first heard during the 1980s when I began reading some conservative Catholic publications while trying to learn more about trends in the Church of Rome.

It’s a joke that, even after 9/11, gets a lot of use. It goes like this: What is the difference between a liturgist and a terrorist?

The answer, of course, is: You can negotiate with a terrorist.

In my experience, both as a reporter on the beat and now as a columnist, few topics that I write about inspire more comment from readers than articles about trends in worship — whether we are talking about emerging churches venturing into liturgy or megachurches finding new ways to use their movie screens. This is especially true of columns about efforts to modernize worship in ancient churches. Take, for example, the music in most Catholic parishes today.

But there is a problem, one that is illustrated in that Los Angeles Times story by David Haldane with the headline “A Ban on Kneeling? Some Catholics Won’t Stand for It.” This is a really important local story that, as Haldane notes, points to a larger story across the nation. Here is how the story opens:

At a small Catholic church in Huntington Beach, the pressing moral question comes to this: Does kneeling at the wrong time during worship make you a sinner?

Kneeling “is clearly rebellion, grave disobedience and mortal sin,” Father Martin Tran, pastor at St. Mary’s by the Sea, told his flock in a recent church bulletin. The Diocese of Orange backs Tran’s anti-kneeling edict. Though told by the pastor and the archdiocese to stand during certain parts of the liturgy, a third of the congregation still gets on its knees every Sunday.

This could not have been an easy story to report, in part because Catholic authorities — the people who employ the liturgists — rarely are willing to discuss these kinds of conflicts with people in the mainstream press. Many have a kind of public-relations view of the press and many simply fear that journalists will mess up the complicated history involved in these conflicts.

Let me stress that Haldane and the Times copy desk faced major challenges. You could write a book on this topic, if you wanted to quote all of the clashing viewpoints on worship issues in the American Catholic Church. These issues are numbingly complex. So I am sure that people on both sides of this conflict would have some bones to pick with the final story.

Let’s walk through some of the history in this story, where even The Da Vinci Code shows up for discussion:

Since at least the 7th century, Catholics have been kneeling after the Agnus Dei, the point during Mass when the priest holds up the chalice and consecrated bread and says, “Behold the lamb of God.” But four years ago, the Vatican revised its instructions, allowing bishops to decide at some points in the Mass whether their flocks should get on their knees. “The faithful kneel … unless the Diocesan Bishop determines otherwise,” says Rome’s book of instructions. Since then, some churches have been built without kneelers.

The debate is part of the argument among Catholics between tradition and change. Traditionalists see it as the ultimate posture of submission to and adoration of God; modernists view kneeling as the vestige of a feudal past they would like to leave behind.

At the center of the controversy is the church’s concept of Christ, said Jesuit Father Lawrence J. Madden, director of the Georgetown Center for Liturgy at Georgetown University in Washington. It’s a question raised in the bestselling book “The Da Vinci Code.” Because the earliest Christians viewed Jesus as God and man, Madden said, they generally stood during worship services to show reverence and equality. About the 7th century, however, Catholic theologians put more emphasis on Christ’s divinity and introduced kneeling as the only appropriate posture at points in the Mass when God was believed to be present.

That sound you hear is traditional Catholics grumbling that a priest from Georgetown gets to explain this issue and that’s that. This is something like allowing, in a news report, someone from the current Southern Baptist Convention’s executive committee to explain both sides of the 27-year-war for control of that body. The folks on the other side view the facts and the history quite differently.

backstopThe key, in this story, is that the Times allows Madden to state — as fact — that one of the primary effects of Vatican II was to move Catholic worship “back to its earliest roots.” When defined in this way, the traditionalists are the modernists, the traditionalists are the heretics. Needless to say, these are fighting words for any Catholic on a kneeler.

Let me note my own bias here, as an Eastern Orthodox Christian. We stand all the time in worship, although — during large parts of the liturgical year — we do prostrations (face on the floor) instead of kneeling. The logic for standing is different, too. Madden says that Catholics stand as an expression of “reverence and equality.” That’s an interesting pair of words. In Orthodoxy, we say that it is appropriate to stand in the presence of a King. But there is a lot of room here for people with different ways of expressing piety and reverence.

Read the article and you will see just how complex this issue can get in the modern Catholic context. What is interesting to me is that some bishops are willing to go to war over this. That alone tells you that the stakes are high. Something else is going on.

So where, in this story, is the viewpoint of a Catholic historian — or even a bishop — on the other side of this local dispute? Was there room for someone to respond to Madden? The story does note:

No less an authority than the pope is on record as favoring kneeling. Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, who became Pope Benedict XVI last year, wrote in “The Spirit of the Liturgy,” published in 2000, that the gesture “comes from the Bible and the knowledge of God.” He has not addressed the issue as pope.

American Catholic bishops have taken the opposite position. “Standing can be just as much an expression of respect for the coming of Christ,” said Msgr. Anthony F. Sherman, a spokesman for the liturgy secretariat of the U.S. Bishops Committee on the Liturgy based in Washington.

Well, who would know? The pope or the American liturgist? And have all of the American bishops taken this stance or is this something that is more common in certain parts of the country? Blue zip codes, even?

This is a hot, hot story and I hope that the Times stays on it. This is a battle over symbols that are more than symbols. There be dragons on this part of the Catholic map.

Print Friendly

About tmatt

Terry Mattingly directs the Washington Journalism Center at the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities. He writes a weekly column for the Universal Syndicate.

  • http://www.ecben.net Will

    When I was taught in the Anglican church, AND when I first entered the New Church, we had the “threefold rule”: Sit for instruction, stand for praise, kneel for prayer. “it made sense, every now and then.”

    Perhaps Terry will tell us whether Lewis knew what he was talking about in his description of a Russian service, “where some stand, some kneel, some lie on their faces, some walk about, and NOBODY PAYS THE LEAST ATTENTION TO WHAT ANYONE ELSE IS DOING. This is good sense, good manners, and good Christianity.”

  • tmatt

    CS Lewis, I assume? Is this a description of his visit to Greece?

    He is describing different parts of the service. But he is right that some people prostrate more than others. People do tend to walk out during long, long services to care for children, go to the bathroom, turn up the heat under the food for the parish lunch (since the faithful will have fasted since midnight), etc. But CSL nails the angle that different people express piety in different ways and there is a lot of local variation. When in doubt, worry about your own prayers.

  • Pen Brynisa

    I once read–and now I can’t remember where I read it–that kneeling became all the rage when the Sanctus, which had been simply recited by the congregation in earlier times, was set to music. Some of these musical compositions grew in length, and, well, people got a bit tired of standing, and there weren’t pews in those old cathedrals, so naturally they would kneel on the floor.

    Has anybody else ever heard this? I’ll try to remember where I read it.

  • Martha

    I’m not exactly sure what is going on in American churches, but over here in Ireland, we stand whilst reciting the “Agnus Dei” (and some of us old-timers even beat our breast whilst doing so!), then we kneel jimmediately after for the “This is the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world; happy are those who are called to His supper”.

    So I imagine what the new thing in America is, is that they *stay* standing after the “Agnus Dei” for the verse and response, then go up to receive Communion. Now, I can see people still kneeling from force of habit because they’ve been doing it for umpteen years and it’s automatic now, and I can see how if the diocese has decided you don’t kneel – which is the bishop’s legitimate action to take – there can be some confusion. And it is terribly sad if the Mass is made a political football over this, because as you say, it ain’t just about kneeling versus standing as to which is more reverent. And to persist in kneeling/standing/hopping on one foot/whatever in defiance of the bishop is indeed disobedience.

    But, having said all that, looking at the article you instanced in the “Los Angeles Times”, this choice quote caught my eye. I’m not one of the Radical Traditionalists, but after reading this, I’d feel like blinkin’ well turning up at the church in a mantilla and Children of Mary cloak, let alone kneeling after the “Agnus Dei”.

    “The argument over kneeling, Madden said, is “a signal of the division in the church between two camps: those who have caught the spirit of Vatican II, and those who are a bit suspicious. Because it’s so visible, what happens at the Sunday worship event is a lightning rod for lots of issues.”

    Oh, boy. Where to begin? So it’s the good old Spirit of Vatican II once more to the fore. Y’know, Paul VI was my pope: I was born and grew up to teenage years under him and I always liked the poor man. I really think one of the crosses he had to bear was the Spirit of Vatican II and what it might do for you.

    Sunday worship event? Sunday worship event?! Funny, here was I thinking it was the Mass, the sacrifice of Calvary represented on the altar. Not an event, like, say, a rock concert or something. Well, colour *me* as one who has not ‘caught’ the Spirit – and how exactly does one catch a spirit like that, anyways? Is it contagious like the chickenpox? And does it strike anyone else as strange how the very ones who are all for liberty under the law and the spirit that blows where it listeth, suddenly come down on dissenters like a ton of bricks and are the law and the prophets when it comes to some practice *they* want observed?

    And that’s where it all falls down. As you say, kneeling versus standing is not just a matter of which is more reverent, more historic, more in tune with the meaning of the liturgy. There’s a whole lot of baggage going along there.

    Having said all that, I’m rather glad I’m not a sitting in a pew in an American church, with some of the tales I read. Hand-holding during the “Our Father”? I’d come out in a rash, at the very least.

  • http://theaccidentalanglican.typepad.com Deborah

    Apparently, Father Martin hasn’t preached on Romans 14:5-7 lately. Or if he has, he clearly didn’t get the point of the passage.

    I’d say C.S. Lewis and his “good sense, good manners, and good Christianity” got it right.

  • M. Everest

    I’ve heard an Episcopal priest explain that kneeling is the appropriate posture on weekdays, but standing is appropriate on Sundays—in observance of the resurrection. He claimed that was determined at Nicea.

    Any fact checkers out there want to take him up on that one?

  • Matt

    So much gets blamed on Nicea.

  • JIM

    In fact, This issue was decided on in the Great Ecumenical councils. It is Canon law to Not do Prostrations or kneeling on Sunday, as this is the day of Christ’s Resurrection. Thus it remains today in our Russian Orthodox Parish (ROCOR)

  • Gary McClellan

    There’s a second issue floating in here aside from what’s already been mentioned. It also illumines the level of authority that is claimed by the bishops in question. There is a pretty powerful statement of authority and power that a bishop can
    1) Ban a Practice
    2) Then have a Priest declare it “clearly… mortal sin”
    (especially when the Vatican doesn’t clearly take a stand on the practice)

    I’m a bit surprised that the MSM people who picked up the story didn’t pick on that angle.

  • Matt

    JIM, you are right. I just looked it up.

    “Since there are some communities that still bend their knees on the Lord’s Day and on the days of Pentecost, this Holy Council decrees that the common prayers are to be rendered to God standing.” -Canon 20 of the First Ecumenical Council, Nicaea, 325

    I thought it was just pious tradition that kept us Orthodox from kneeling on Sundays. I should have know that there was more to it than that. I guess I should read all the canons someday.

    Now I wonder why Roman Catholics kneel on Sundays. Did one of their councils reverse this 20 Nicea I?

  • Robert

    Okay, let’s ease off on the leaven verses risen
    eucharist dilly dally. Brothers and sisters in
    the law of Christ are called in the eucharistic
    celebration toward drawing their conscience into
    obedience to no other higher law — and, if you
    will kindly read, respectively according to his
    own Rite, canon law is that higher law of Christ.
    Therefore, through our respective canons, we,
    Catholics in either Rite a). have the fullness
    of Truth, and b.) worship in body, soul, and
    mind (Deuteronomy 6 : 4 – 7); whereas conscience
    becomes subjected to the aforesaid obedience.
    If Catholics relied on their conscience then
    Saint Paul’s statement, ” foolishness to the
    Greeks and a stumblingblock to the Jews. ” would
    answer Christ question, ” Will the Son of Man
    find faith when he returns? “.

  • sharon d.

    Gary and JIM,

    It wasn’t a council, but (I believe) a specfic exception made for the United States, as the custom of kneeling was universal, and standing didn’t carry a cultural meaning of worship and reverence but rather of the “equality” mentioned in the article.

  • Michael Kremer

    In Chicago — thoroughly “blue” — we kneel after the Agnus Dei.

  • Rosemarie

    +J.M.J+

    >>>Well, colour *me* as one who has not ‘caught’ the Spirit – and how exactly does one catch a spirit like that, anyways? Is it contagious like the chickenpox?

    The “spirit of Vatican II” as disease – ain’t that the truth. Now to find a cure.

    The Diocese of Brooklyn is in a very “blue” area and we kneel for the Agnus Dei. AFAIK, so does the neighboring Archdiocese of NY.

    In Jesu et Maria,

  • Rosemarie

    Sorry, I meant to say “after the Agnus Dei”. After receiving Communion we kneel again and remain that way till the priest puts the Blessed Sacrament back into the Tabernacle. Some people may even stay on their knees until he says “Let us pray”. Definitely no pressure to stand here – at least not in my experience.

    In Jesu et Maria,

  • http://onlinefaith.blogspot.com C. Wingate

    Since “tradition” means “doing what you’ve always done”, “recovering ancient tradition” is a justification for innovation, of course. I’ve heard a lot of the claims about how kneeling developed, and I tend to disbelieve most of them just on principle. But at any rate, they are all to some degree irrelevant, because one of the important questions is, why did kneeling become objected to? I think the story somewhat touches on this and puts a finger on the conflict between clerical revisionism and popular piety.

    The interesting thing to me about the whole phenomenon is how, for once, the Episcopalians come across as the conservatives in this. Recently I’ve started seeing rail-less buildings and (more commonly) wrecknovations in Episcopal churches, but they are still very much in the minority.

  • James Kabala

    I think this tends to reflect the whims of individual bishops and priests rather than blue vs. red zip codes. In my own experience in New England, I have almost never attended a Mass where we did not kneel during the prayer of consecration and rarely seen a parish where we did not kneel after the Agnus Dei. This has been true even in places where other liturgically improper things were going on. On the other hand, on a recent visit to Kentucky, almost no one at the Cathedral of the Assumption in Louisville kneeled at the prayer of the consecration, let alone after the Agnus Dei. A friend from Montana once informed me that every church in his home city no longer even had kneelers, except one that had been declared a historic landmark. And Orange County itself is traditionally conservative, albeit less so in recent years.

  • http://terrenceberres.com Terrence Berres

    “Take, for example, the music in most Catholic parishes today.”

    Please!

  • Sheila M

    It seems the more we “right” the Catholic Church, our liturgy becomes mechanics; I’m missing authentic worship and praise.

  • http://www.mwts.org Didymus

    “One flashpoint involves the Agnus Dei. Traditionalists say the faithful must then fall to their knees in awe for several minutes, believing that the bread and wine are literally the body and blood of Christ.”

    And those who are not traditionalists believe … what?

  • Loudon is a Fool

    I think the timeline regarding kneeling after the Agnus Dei might be a little off. Kneeling has not been the norm at that point for the universal Church for some time. The US Bishops requested an exception for extra kneeling time after the Agnus Dei in the US. For decades there have been on again, off again kneeling wars at the parish level, not only after the Agnus Dei, but during the consecration as well. Prince of Peace in Plano, TX was built over 10 years ago without kneelers (long before the current revision of the GIRM). The dispute is primarily over (1) the proper posture for adoration, and (2) emphasis on the Real Presence in the Eucharist. Modernist liturgists and theologians desire to emphasize the presence of Christ in the gathering of the baptized and stress some weird egalitarian notions they have (that is, they want to de-emphasize the Real Presence in the Eucharist). The current friction results from a revision of the US exceptions to the GIRM that allows a local bishop to decide whether Catholics in his diocese will kneel after the Agnus Dei (although the GIRM seems to provide discretion to individual worshippers to kneel after receiving communion); but, this is only the most recent scuffle in the much longer war modernists have been waging against the Eucharist. If the US followed the universal Church there would be less of an issue. But the availability of discretion on the part of individual bishops raises the question as to why that discretion was exercised (i.e., to follow the universal Church or to de-emphasize the Real Presence).

    Also, it is my understanding that Roman Catholics read Nicea as speaking to the impropriety of kneeling as a form of penance, not forbidding kneeling out of adoration.

  • charles R. Williams

    In the Western Church kneeling is a posture of adoration as well as a posture of penitence. In the Eastern Church kneeling is a posture of penitence only. Why do a Western Christian’s knees bend reflexively when presented with the raised host and the words “Ecce agnus dei?” Very simply because he is in the presence of God, the Son, and has learned in his tradition to acknowledge that reality with adoration on his knees.

    Once I fell to my knees in the sacramental presence of my Lord. Now, in obedience to His bishop, I am asked to wait in line for a procession to begin. The message the liturgical change sends is that the procession (the community) trumps the sacramental presence of Jesus in the midst of His assembled people.

    This is why people persist in kneeling against their bishop’s wishes.

    Why, why, why would Rome ever approve such an option for the American bishops?

    A final note: the document allowing the change makes it clear that the Vatican does not want the faithful who insist on kneeling to be harrassed in this matter.

  • charles R. Williams

    BTW, it is not permitted to stand for the consecration anywhere in the United States except where it is literally impossible to kneel. Often the same bishops who harrass the faithful about kneeling against the bishop’s personal decision will harrass the faithful who kneel as required for the consecration or tolerate priests who themselves harrass the faithful who follow the rules.

  • Theo

    The General Instruction of the Roman Missal, which is the the Vatican-approved statement of norms for the mass, states:

    “In the dioceses of the United States of America, they should kneel beginning after the singing or recitation of the Sanctus until after the Amen of the Eucharistic Prayer, except when prevented on occasion by reasons of health, lack of space, the large number of people present, or some other good reason. Those who do not kneel ought to make a profound bow when the priest genuflects after the consecration. The faithful kneel after the Agnus Dei unless the Diocesan Bishop determines otherwise.” (GIRM para. 43)

    So kneeling is required during almost the entire Eucharistic prayer, and only after the Agnus Dei may a local bishop allow his congregation to stand, though the really the people should kneel.

    However, IMHO, even that small concession to standing has created nothing but problems, and I wish it hadn’t been included. Regardless of theological or traditional issues, we are one universal Church and so should share one universal practice. As a Catholic accustomed to kneeling, it’s disconcerting while traveling to kneel down after the Agnus Dei, and then suddenly realize everyone else is still standing. It’s embarassing and ruins what should be a calm, prayerful moment just before recieving Holy Communion.

    I’ve found it easier to participate in masses in Mexico or Europe where I don’t understand the language but they follow the same rules, than in some US dioceses where the Bishop choses, for no good reason I can see, to make exceptions to the rules, even if they are permitted exceptions. Exceptions, unless done for very compelling reasons (which I have yet to be able to discern), only create disunity, as is abundantly evident in the US.

  • Susan F Peterson

    This discussion has been very clarifying for me.
    I learned the Episcopalian rule cited above (Sit for instruction, stand to praise, kneel for prayer)when I was baptized in that church at age 20. When I soon thereafter became a Catholic, this rule mostly applied there as well. (1972) I internalized the “kneel for prayer, kneel to adore” symbolism. I therefore took the idea that we shouldn’t kneel as a lessening of devotion, and didn’t like it. Sometimes I would join the few people kneeling on the floor in my kneelerless church, and even when there was no one else doing it and I didn’t have the courage to do it on my own, I wanted to, and felt it was appropriate. I was sure standing was all part of the post Vatican II desacraliszation. The People of God are the Body of Christ, and therefore the whole church is holy, not just the sanctuary, so no altar rail, for instance. We don’t need to kneel before the Body of Christ, because we Are the Body of Christ. Well, it has a kind of specious plausability to it, but I think we know that we only eschatologically share completely in the holiness of Christ; in the here and now His holiness is only a bud, a beginning, inside us, and it is right for us to adore His perfect holiness. So I thought that those who truly adored would want to kneel.

    Then my son became an Orthodox catechumen and I attended Divine Liturgy with him. There was no possibility that these were people who thought they didn’t need to adore. Their liturgy made that abundantly clear. Since then I have been attending a Byzantine Catholic church, where they do not kneel through the Easter and Pentecost season. So I know that standing doesn’t have to be a kind of humanistic assertion, and that adoration doesn’t have to show itself in kneeling. But the need to kneel to adore is quite deep in me.

    So what of those Catholics who have been kneeling for prayer, worship, and adoration since early childhood? Surely this is so deep in them that it is a total violation of their sense of reverence, not to kneel. How can anyone ask them, nay, force them, not to?

    The fact that a few bishops and priests are very caught up in forcing other people not to kneel makes me believe that for those people, to go back to what the early Christians did,or to obey the canons of Nicea, or to make our customs more like those of the Orthodox, are hardly what the real reason is for standing through the consecration. I fear the real reason is just what those who insist on kneeling say it is, to reduce the sense of the sacred about the Eucharist and assert the priviledge of the people of God. I mean, is there something about kneeling which would make you think we need to change it, after having done it for a thousand of more years?

    Susan Peterson

  • Pen Brynisa

    re: The interesting thing to me about the whole phenomenon is how, for once, the Episcopalians come across as the conservatives in this.

    Episcopalians are often liturgically conservative. In my parish church, the priest still faces the wall during the consecration of the Eucharist.

  • John Holder

    tmatt wrote:

    “Let me note my own bias here, as an Eastern Orthodox Christian. We stand all the time in worship”

    At least in my diocese of the Greek Orthodox Church, we always kneel during the consecration, except in the Paschal season when we stand. So, Apparently, the AOC an GOA may have different practices.

    Charles R. Williams wrote:

    “In the Eastern Church kneeling is a posture of penitence only.”

    Charles, please state a reference here. First I’d heard that.

  • joseph

    Well, I belong to an Orthodox parish (Antiochian) and the vast majority of the congregation kneels at the consecration except for the period between Pascha and Pentecost where everyone stands. The people who do not kneel are usually some Russians and some converts. AFAIK, nobody cares who kneels or who doesn’t–except nosy and pushy people on the net. ;)

    I’m sure we are all going to hell for not standing 100% of the time and for not using the Julian calendar…

  • Billy

    For purposes of comparison–I have often attended Pentecostal services. During times of fervent prayer and praise, individuals may be seen doing any number of things including standing, swaying, hopping about, dancing, sitting, and kneeling. Since evangelical Protestant church furniture does not provide kneelers, people often kneel backwards in the pew, resting their arms and heads on the seat. None of the above raises a single eyebrow. An experienced pastor or worship leader knows just what to say to bring the flock back to their seats ready for preaching, communion, or whatever’s next. Isn’t the point–for all Christians…to be looking to Jesus, not their neighbor in the pew ahead of them, and to express devotion as their heart dictates?

  • Robert

    Why so much fuss over kneeling?
    Saint Maximos, the confessor (Philokalia, vol ii,
    pg 90, points 46 – 47) states
    ” God, full beyond all fulness, brought creatures
    into being not because He had need of anything,
    but so that they might PARTICIPATE in Him in
    proportion to their capacity and that He Himself
    might rejoice in His works (cf. Ps. 104 : 31),
    through seeing them JOYFUL and ever filled to
    OVERFLOWING with His inexhaustible gifts …
    It is not because they do or suffer these
    things that they are blessed, for those of whom
    we have spoken above do the same; it is because
    they do them and suffer them for the sake of
    Christ and after His example. “

  • Pingback: Outer Rim Territories » A Ban on Kneeling?

  • Scott Allen

    This is more of a ramble than a pointed essay.
    A story: when I was a kid, it seemed every 2nd year that my Dad would scream out “It’s Easter, we’re going to church” and after the tightening of ties and application of hair spray, off we’d go. We’d enter the local catholic church, try to imitate the crossing of ourselves by watching others, and then kneel. Now, being clueless, I figured that whoever kneeled on the kneeler the longest was the best. So I’d do it until it hurt really bad or everyone else on my pew had already changed to a sitting position. After that we’d follow the program of sitting/standing/kneeling as instructed. Overall I viewed the whole thing as a series of calisthenics drills. It’s interesting to compare my ignorant efforts at obedience with the comments everyone has made. Piety through externalities is an odd matter. Liturgists think it is very important, others can see it as literally and figuratively “going through the motions.” Mostly I just hope that the Christ of the Bible is teached and worshipped. Last month dpulliam commended the practice of footwashing. At what point does attention to external practices and adding more “devotional” practices(e.g., candle lighting, crossing, incense, you-name-it) “squeeze out” teaching and preaching? Evidently at Nicea such matters as kneeling were considered worthy of debate and determination. God help us all to focus on Him with true devotion.

  • Bob Koch

    The Nicean canon just says we stand because He “stood up”, that is, rose from the dead. It just declares the Resurrection. Is that complicated?
    The Orthodox who kneel on Sundays, as the Westerners who do so can’t read, or can’t follow a real simple direction. There’s nothing new in Orthodox who kneel on Sunday, and if you check most Greek parishes also use an organ for music. I can’t *imagine* what influenced either interesting idea. Same source. The Roman Catholic traditionalists who ignore Nicea on kneeling; do they so freely ignore other councils they call ecumenical? I mean, as an Orthodox I don’t follow Vatican 1 or 2. Why are those who follow what Christians have followed since 325 called innovators?

  • ralph

    “Though I speak with the tongues of men and angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass or a tinkling cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing. And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.”(1 Corinthians 13: 1-3, 13) Father Tran and Lesa Truxaw and Bishop Tod Brown lack Charity they should try to catch that spirit. Why not kneel down and pray for it?

  • Lou Casper

    It seems to me, a Youth Minister(ten years) and Liturgical Guitarist(25 years,oh,blasphemy!), that while we argue about posture we have forgotten charity. The one who said in the article,” I’m standing here, but kneeling in my heart,” seems to have struck a chord.

    The unity of our gathering makes Christ truly present. She recognizes that whether standing, kneeling or sitting! It is a shame that some of the heirarchy does not recognize that.

    While the young people to whom I minister question EVERYTHING about doctrine, heirarchy, dogma, church architecture, even the color of vestiture…they are always encouraged to accept regional and national differences in the practice of Liturgy.

    I have accompanied thousands of young people to hundreds of Litugies in scores of locales, nationally and internationally and the one observation they all make to me is: “Did you feel Him there in the people? Wasn’t the Spirit wonderfully present to all? It is uplifting to know that Christ is there for everyone!”

    Charity: accept and embrace our differences but rejoice in the One Lord, present in substance and sign, Word and assembly, priest and people!

  • Edward A. Hummel

    Maybe the removal of communion railings is also part of the big picture. Suggest we take a serious look at the difference between the nature of God and that of man. Christ is a divine person, not a human person, with both the nature of God and that of man. The nature of the Trinity is the greatest mystery of the Church. And all that we are is a manifestation of what God has given us, nothing more. Suggest a bit of sacred adoration is in order.


CLOSE | X

HIDE | X