Adjusting to Catholic vs. Anglican liturgy

I am hoping to learn some things to help me adjust to Catholic liturgy, which seems in a lot of ways less formal than the high-church Anglo-catholic parish I come from. There are welcome additions I was already aware of (i.e., “may the Lord accept this sacrifice at your hands…” and “I am not worthy to receive you, but only say the word…”, etc.) but some things seem to be missing, at least partially:

1. Why no confeitor by congregation?

In my Episcopal parish, the congregation always did the “we humbly confess that we have sinned against you, in thought word and deed, by what we have done and by what…” Why is this not a part of the Catholic mass? We do have some sort of general absolution at the beginning of the Catholic mass, where the priest says everything and then asks that God forgive us our sins and bring us into everlasting life. But the congregation doesn’t seem to say anything. I was expecting to hear “by my fault, my own grevious fault” or something like that. Where is the confeitor?
2. Why no Thanksgiving After Communion by congregation?**

Again in the Episcopal church we prayed a prayer after communion, something to the effect of thanking God for “Most mercfiul God, you have graciously accepted us as living members of your Son our Savior Jesus Christ, and you have fed us with the spiritfual food of the sacrament of his Body and Blood. Send us now into the world in peace, and grant us stength and courage to love and serve you with gladness and singleness of heart, through Christ our Lord, Amen.” Is there ever anything like this in the Roman rite?
3. Why no kneeling at the chancel rail to receive communion?**

I heard something once about the bishops thinking this looked like the congregation was being subservient to the bishop and so they didn’t want the faithful to kneel. Is this true?
4. Why no bowing before stepping up?**

Why did the church do away with most of the ceremonial gestures, like bowing and praying confeitor before approaching the high altar, etc. at Vatican II? Is there an explanation in official documents somewhere?

Some of my terminology might be off, so I’d be happy to clarify what I mean in case it’s confusing. Thanks!

Welcome Home :slight_smile:

It’s an optional form (form A) of the penitential rite:

All: I confess to almighty God,
and to you, my brothers and sisters,
that I have sinned through my own fault,
in my thoughts and in my words,
in what I have done,
and in what I have failed to do;
and I ask blessed Mary, ever virgin,
all the angels and saints,
and you, my brothers and sisters,
to pray for me to the Lord, our God.

**Priest: ** May almighty God have mercy on us, forgive us our sins, and bring us to everlasting life.

All: Amen.

Again in the Episcopal church we prayed a prayer after communion, something to the effect of thanking God for “Most mercfiul God, you have graciously accepted us as living members of your Son our Savior Jesus Christ, and you have fed us with the spiritfual food of the sacrament of his Body and Blood. Send us now into the world in peace, and grant us stength and courage to love and serve you with gladness and singleness of heart, through Christ our Lord, Amen.” Is there ever anything like this in the Roman rite? **
The Mass has the closing prayer…

I heard something once about the bishops thinking this looked like the congregation was being subservient to the bishop and so they didn’t want the faithful to kneel. Is this true?

Hogwash. It’s still common in some parishes – particularly those who celebrate the extraordinary rite of the Mass.

We are still required to make a act of reverence (bow, genuflection) before we receive.

Please, please be very careful about who you listen to on these topics. Study the order of the Ordinary Form of the Mass – it’s absolutely sublime but it also allows a great deal of licit flexibility that might be adding to your confusion. beware of input from people who have axes to grind with either the Church or the OF Mass.

Again, welcome Home.

Thanks so much! That webpage makes it alot more clear why the liturgy seems to change. In the episcopal church we had Rite I, Rite II, and Eucharistic Prayer A, B, C, etc. so this makes sense laid out in the form on the webpage. e.g., we leave out the kyrie if it’s in form C of the preceding prayer.

Still wondering why we don’t kneel for communion? Also wondering where to get information on why the priest’s rubrics changed after Vatican II? Don’t worry, I’m not getting all sede on you. Haven’t even completed RCIA yet. :wink: Just looking to educate myself on why things changed so much in the Novus Ordo. From an outsider’s perspective, Vatican II was just where they changed mass to the vernacular. Now I understand it changed the mass to a new form altogether, so I’m wanting to find information that doesn’t come from the crazy “there is no pope and NO Mass is invalid” people.



BTW, your webpage helped me understand that we do Option C of the “penitential rite” which takes the place of Option A which is the confeitor I’m used to, so we do the responsorial “Lord have mercy” one instead of the “I confess to almighty God” one. Never realized that ‘Option C’ was a penitential rite, because I just thought it was the Kyrie.

Thanks! :thumbsup:

I’m glad that little website helped. Let me ask you as favor as your begin your Catholic formation. Use the terms “Mass of Pope Paul VI”, “the Pauline Mass”, “the Ordinary Form of the Mass” or even “the OF Mass” to describe the normative Mass of the Latin Rite. “Novus Ordo Mass” is not a label used by the Church – it’s something (along with the “NO Mass”) that is used by those who do not like the OF Mass. It smacks strongly of ignorance and intolerance.

In terms of communion posture, kneeling is still very much acceptable – it’s just not always required as is was in the past. I think there are a number of reasons for the change. First, kneeling is the posture of supplication and not “worship” as some would like to suggest. So while it’s still acceptable in the Latin Rite it’s not the only posture that is acceptable nor may it be the optimum posture from a liturgical standpoint. I think there are also some very practical considerations like making it just a touch more bearable for oldsters to receive communion.

I absolutely love the OF Mass because of its flexibility. It can be celebrated with all the foof (which I love) as you are accustomed to in the Anglican Communion.

Kneeling is actually a form of worship. As Pope Benedict XVI notes in his book, “Spirit of the Liturgy”:

The kneeling of Christians is not a form of inculturation into existing customs. It is quite the opposite, an expression of Christian culture, which transforms the existing culture through a new and deeper knowledge and experience of God.

Kneeling does not come from any culture – it comes from the Bible and its knowledge of God. The central importance of kneeling in the Bible can be seen in a very concrete way. The word proskynein alone occurs fifty-nine times in the New Testament, twenty-four of which are in the Apocalypse, the book of the heavenly Liturgy, which is presented to the Church as the standard for her own Liturgy.

…In the dialogue, Jesus asks the man whether he believes in the Son of Man. The man born blind replies: “Tell me who He is, Lord”. When Jesus says, “It is He who is speaking to you”, the man makes the confession of faith: “I do believe, Lord”, and then he “[falls] down to worship Him” (Jn 9:35-38, Knox version adapted). Earlier translations said: “He worshiped Him”. In fact, the whole scene is directed toward the act of faith and the worship of Jesus, which follows from it. Now the eyes of the heart, as well as of the body, are opened. The man has in truth begun to see.

For the exegesis of the text it is important to note that the word proskynein occurs eleven times in Saint John’s Gospel, of which nine occurrences are found in Jesus’ conversation with the Samaritan woman by Jacob’s well (Jn 4:19-24). This conversation is entirely devoted to the theme of worship, and it is indisputable that here, as elsewhere in Saint John’s Gospel, the word always has the meaning of “worship”. Incidentally, this conversation, too, ends – like that of the healing of the man born blind – with Jesus’ revealing Himself: “I who speak to you am He” (Jn 4:26).

…At the dedication of the Temple, Solomon kneels “in the presence of all the assembly of Israel” (II Chron 6:13). After the Exile, in the afflictions of the returned Israel, which is still without a Temple, Ezra repeats this gesture at the time of the evening sacrifice: “I … fell upon my knees and spread out my hands to the Lord my God” (Ezra 9:5). The great psalm of the Passion, Psalm 22 (“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”), ends with the promise: “Yes, to Him shall all the proud of the earth fall down; before Him all who go down to the dust shall throw themselves down” (v. 29, RSV adapted).

The related passage Isaiah 45:23 we shall have to consider in the context of the New Testament. The Acts of the Apostles tells us how Saint Peter (9:40), Saint Paul (20:36), and the whole Christian community (21:5) pray on their knees.

Particularly important for our question is the account of the martyrdom of Saint Stephen. The first man to witness to Christ with his blood is described in his suffering as a perfect image of Christ, whose Passion is repeated in the martyrdom of the witness, even in small details. One of these is that Stephen, on his knees, takes up the petition of the crucified Christ: “Lord, do not hold this sin against them” (7:60). We should remember that Luke, unlike Matthew and Mark, speaks of the Lord kneeling in Gethsemane, which shows that Luke wants the kneeling of the first martyr to be seen as his entry into the prayer of Jesus. Kneeling is not only a Christian gesture, but a christological one.

Thus, kneeling is indeed a posture for worship.

re: Novus Ordo
Thanks, I never realized that some use Novus Ordo as a pejorative term. I wiki’ed it and it looks like it’s a term actually used by Pope Paul, but was later adopted as a pejorative term and so some mainstraim Catholics abhor the use of it. Ironically, I only learned the term Novus Ordo by using this forum, so either people here are not easily offended (ha! yeah right) or there are an awful lot of Traditionalist (read: sede or holy family monestary type) Catholics here infiltrating this board. If not for seeing the term countless times here, I would never have heard of it.

re: Kneeling
You’re right, I remember reading that kneeling is an act of supplication instead of worship, which demonstrates why it’s ok to kneel in front of statutes while praying, obviously. But doesn’t that jive with what I posted about not wanting to be subservient to the priest (I may have said bishop accidentally). Maybe the church doesn’t want it to seem like the parishioner must beg the host from the priest? I’m just trying to figure it out. Standing in line and shuffling along to receive just seems much less reverent and formal so I’m trying to figure out if there’s truly a theological basis for it. I guess if we were trying to be faithful re-enacters of the Last Supper, we’d all be lying down on couches to receive. And by we, I mean only 12 specially chosen of us. :smiley: But obviously, the point of the mass is not to re-enact the last supper. Still I can’t help but wonder why standing… maybe because it’s the opposite of supplication? I’m not pretending to know.

Alright, not just a posture of worship, but also of supplication. :stuck_out_tongue:

It is certainly more than simply acceptable. The Holy Father requires communicants recieving from him to kneel.

If you feel strongly about kneeling, then you may still do so, although it is not the norm(assuming you live in the United States). It is still an acceptable posture for receiving the Eucharist, and you cannot be refused communion for doing so. That being said, receiving standing is the norm(either on the tongue or in the hand). So if you plan on kneeling, it is best you run it by the pastor first, because while on paper it is allowed, things don’t always transfer from paper to practice smoothly.

As far as Vatican II goes, if you wanted to read what it has to say on the Liturgy the document discussing that is Sacrosanctum Concilium(which can be found, among other places, on or It is long, but doable, and is broken up in chapters so you can skip parts that don’t pertain(such as the liturgy of the hours section).

However, since the council merely suggested vague things, it isn’t overly helpful, and much of the actual things came about later through various means. One of the changes made was to take away altar rails, or to ignore them, either way the effect was to allow people to receive communion standing.

It may interest you to know that Pope Benedict requires that those receiving from him kneel, and the practice is coming back in some areas.

I hope this is of some help, I feel as if I rambled a bit:shrug:

It’s primarily a form of supplication. While we Westerners don’t take it to the extremes of our Eastern brethren it’s still wrong to look at kneeling as only a posture of worship or even primarily a posture of worship.

Slow down now… Your “beg the host from the priest” comment is misplaced. That’s a red herring. Forget it. There is nothing wrong with kneeling to receive communion. Unfortunately some poorly cathechized Catholics have been taught to believe that’s the ONLY way one should receive communion or that it’s necessarily better than any other posture and they too are wrong.

The Mass is the unbloody re-presentation of God the Son to His Father for atonement of our sins – past, present and future. You’re right – the point of the Mass is not to “re-enact the last supper” – it IS the Last Supper and then some!

Take your time in learning the faith and be very careful about the sources you choose to believe.

So? The Catholic Church does not.


Well, I didnt want be rude, but obviously you don’t feel the need to extend the same courtesy so

Your original post said:

The Vicar of Christ chooses to have his communicants kneel. You have decided that kneeling is not the “optimum posture from a liturgical standpoint”. Unless Pope Benedict XVI has died and you’ve been elected the 266th successor of St. Peter, I’ll trust his judgement on what the “optimum posture from a liturgical standpoint” is, not yours.


If you read his earlier posts, SonofMonica clearly states that he knelt while anglican, and is wondering why we dont? He clearly does not think kneeling is for begging.

Second, it is a re-presentation, but not a re-enactment. As he said, we do not have mass simply as Christ had the Last Supper, and it does not involve simply people re-enacting the roles of the apostles there.

No, but it is still an option, and I think the wording of Redemptionis Sacramentum makes it sound like it is the better option:

[90]“The faithful should receive Communion kneeling or standing, as the Conference of Bishops will have determined”, with its acts having received the recognitio of the Apostolic See. “However, if they receive Communion standing, it is recommended that they give due reverence before the reception of the Sacrament, as set forth in the same norms”.

[91.]…Therefore, it is not licit to deny Holy Communion to any of Christ’s faithful solely on the grounds, for example, that the person wishes to receive the Eucharist kneeling or standing.

The fact that they find it necessary to recommend an extra act of reverence before receiving standing(generally considered to be a bow, but sometimes a genuflection), seems to show that standing is inherently less reverent than kneeling.

I will conclude that my desire to receive kneeling and [91] notwithstanding, I receive standing because the bishop of the diocese i am in has published at least one article saying it is the norm for the diocese.

To me it is just odd, I kneel at the Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament, I genuflect anytime I cross the Tabernacle, and yet when I actually bodily receive it, I stand.

Where has the Pope written that anyone receiving communion from him MUST kneel? I seriously doubt he would turn anyone away – including those who COULD NOT (physically) kneel to receive. “Sorry you’re handicapped and cannot kneel, you’re precluded from getting into the Pope’s communion line” – that’s simply not going to happen, nor should it.

In any event the Church does not mandate the posture and it is She who I follow – not your personal preference of what’s “best.”

Just follow the Church.

Oh forgive me… I was following the Pope. I didn’t realize he didn’t have the best intentions for the Church at heart. I’ll be sure to check in on that.

It isn’t my personal preference of what’s “best”, its the Pope’s, but that’s ok, you don’t follow him.

He may not be requiring it per se, but when I see the pope standing behind a prie-dieu, I can guess which poster he is expecting

That’s the problems with the Novus Ordo, there are to many options.

Geez louize… ok I do know the faith. I do understand the mass. I understood it better as an Anglo-catholic than dare I say 90% of Catholic parishioners. I have no problems understanding the theology of the mass.

Senor is right. I knelt as an Anglican and clearly do not think it is for begging. I am wondering why the Catholic church dealt away with kneeling at the altar rail for communion. Simple as that. Following the pope has nothing to do with it. Obviously I’m going to stand if everyone else is standing. I just want to know why. That’s it.

Some examples are “I don’t know.” or “Because they felt that it better displayed X.” or because “It looked too much like X” or “It helped do X” or “It made it possible to X.” :rolleyes:

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