Church doesn't kneel after the Sanctus!

Hi, I’ve been looking for an answer to this question for a while, and wanted to get your opinions on it.

At my church, no one kneels after the sanctus (“Holy, holy, holy”). From what I’ve read, this seems to be a liturgical abuse, and that the congregation should be kneeling. Other parishes in our area do. Imho, even if there’s some loophole that says we don’t absolutely have to, we should be anyway, because of Transubstantiation and the real presence).

Any suggestions for how to bring this up respectfully but firmly with my parish priest?:confused:

Also, what are the rules for lay lectors reading on an “unusual” Sunday (like Palm/Passion Sunday, Holy Week, Christmas, etc.)?
Last year, I was asked to read parts of the Passion along with another (male) lector and the priest. Was this “against the rules”? (Recently, I’ve found that no one but the priest is supposed to read the words of Christ, and both I and the other lay lector read the words of Christ last year. I didn’t know there was a problem with it at the time, because the lector coordinator made it sound fine and normal…)

I’m not trying to nitpick, I’m just trying to be a good, “law-abiding” Catholic (I mean heck, if I’m Catholic, I ought to be serious about it, right:p?)


You may read the Passion if there is only 1 priest and you have no Deacons. The priest should read the parts spoken by Jesus.

As for kneeling, in the US you kneel after the Sanctus for the entire Eucharistic Prayer. In Canada, where we are still following the 1975 GIRM, we need only kneel for Consecration but the practice varies from parish to parish.

I don’t want to interfere, but it just seems like some of this bickering seems to be so nit picky or legalistic to an outsider…Churches met in homes in the beginning and still do even some still are underground…God sees the heart when we worship in spirit and in truth…Do you really God is looking if someone kneels at the right time or not of if their heart is right…Just an observation…Thanks

I asked the question in the first place because I’ve gone to church every Sunday and major holy day since I was baptized as an infant, but I was NEVER introduced to the concept of the Real Presence until I read an apologetics book a few years ago.

Imho, I think that if our church “kept the rules” and knelt during the Consecration, and the priests actually talked about the reason (because God’s Spirit is miraculously transubstantiating the bread and wine into the body and blood of Christ) behind the movement (kneeling) people might actually understand one of or maybe the most important part of the Mass.

It might be nit picky, but I don’t think that’s always a bad thing. Some people obviously take the nit pickiness too far, but the principle of lex orandi, lex credendi (the law of prayer is the law of belief) means that we need to pray in a unified way, at least as far as the mass is concerned. Catholics believe that we’re praying as the body of Christ at mass, so we pray as one. I don’t know what the first Church services were like, but I’d be willing to bet there was uniformity of practice then too, seeing as how a lot of Christian practices came from Jewish temple worship.

Dear HIsKid,

We have a belief/philosophy as Catholics that we try to presume the best intentions when someone says something. While it might look “nit picky,” it is a HUGE thing for some people. We believe that is the highest point of worship in the Mass, when Christ becomes truly present in the Host. “Unless you eat my flesh, and drink my blood, you shall not have life within you.” (John 6)

So, just because it “seems” legalistic, doesn’t make it so. If you were in the true presence of Christ, wouldn’t falling to your knees be the most natural thing? This is all about a heart attitude of worship in Spirit and Truth.

I’ve seen the standing during the consecration thing too. Some churches in my area don’t even have kneelers. I asked a priest one time why he didn’t want people to kneel during the consecration, and he told me it’s because he believes we are an “Easter People”, meaning that we’re supposed to focus on Christ’s resurrection and not on his sacrifice on the cross. He said kneeling was beneath our dignity as Christians. So as you see, there’s a lot of theology behind this kind of thing, goofy though that theology might be.

I think this article sums it up best. To be honest I will NEVER not kneel during the consecration. :highprayer:
Vatican official: Kneeling expresses meeting Jesus in the Eucharist

By Cindy Wooden
Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) – Kneeling during the consecration at Mass is the most appropriate way to express the fact that in the Eucharist one meets Jesus, who was bowed down by the weight of human sin, said an article by a Vatican official.

“The Lord lowered himself to the point of death on the cross in order to encounter sinful man, freeing him from sin,” said the brief article published in “Notitiae,” the bulletin of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments.

“If the Eucharist represents the sacramental memorial of the death and resurrection of the Lord, it seems appropriate that those for whom the Lord bowed himself down would bow down before this supreme mystery of love,” said the article by Msgr. Stephan Hunseler, a congregation official from Germany.

The late-July article said that Christ’s self-emptying “reaches its climax when the lord Jesus Christ takes on himself, as the lamb of God, all the sins of the world.”

When people kneel during the consecration, it said, they not only are assuming a position of humility, but are bowing down to meet Jesus where Jesus has bowed down to meet them.

“Kneeling during the consecration of the Eucharist, therefore, becomes one of the most eloquent moments of meeting Christ the lord,” who became man, died for people’s sins and rose again, the article said.

The 2002 General Instruction of the Roman Missal, which provides guidelines for the celebration of Mass, said the faithful “should kneel at the consecration, 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 instruction, however, went on to say that it is up to a nation’s conference of bishops “to adapt the gestures and postures described in the Order of Mass to the culture and reasonable traditions of the people.”

The U.S. bishops’ adaptation of that section of the instruction reads: “In the dioceses of the United States of America, they (the faithful) 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.”


You’re right that God does see the heart and the intentions of the person when they are worshipping, but I would second what others have said regarding the public prayer of the Church - that we are expressing unity, and praying as the Body of Christ we should be one with each other during these liturgies.

However the significance of the posture of kneeling at the consecration is meaningless unless one understands the significance behind the action. We believe that, as graceandglory said, this is the high-point of the Holy Mass. Christ truly becomes present on the altar, as the gifts of bread and wine are changed into His Body and Blood. Kneeling is an act of adoration, as well as being a posture conducive to prayer. Why would people not fall to their knees in adoration when their Lord and God comes among them?

The priest to whom PadraigPearce is right that we are “Easter People” - people of the Resurrection. However, the fact that we are celebrating the Eucharist as Christ commanded shows this, as does our communion with one another and with the risen Christ in Holy Communion. But one cannot have the glory of the resurrection without witnessing what went before - the redemptive sacrifice of Calvary, which is re-presented before our eyes at each celebration of the Mass: is kneeling in recognition of the act which has paid for our sins and purchased our redemption really “beneath our dignity as Christians”?

Thanks for the comments and sorry for the intrude …I understand the kneeling, I’ve done it at worship services and look fwd to it when I get Home…Anyway, it still boils down to a heart attitude…If your congregants really believed that they would kneel…Hot, lukewarm and cold was how Jesus described people…Cold, you don’t really care…Luke warm is a scary place…Tares are mixed among us all, people having a form of religion but denying the Lord…blessings in Christ.

our bishop in 2003 changed the rubrics for our diocese to “standing” after the Sanctus. The rational was to bring “uniformity” of posture to the diocese. A lot of people still kneel for “ecce agnus dei”, me included. i’ve yet to have someone chastise me for being disobediant to the bishop, but if they did, I’d quickly remind them that using the Orans posture during the Our Father (or holding h***s) is also not in the rubrics and if they think they can do that, then I can kneel at the ecce.

For the OP, it would pay to look into any statements issued by your bishop on this or other liturgical matters to see if they have made any changes compared to what is happening at the Vatican.

Leave the “firmly” part out. If you go in there with documents and rules, you will almost certainly be branded disrespectful and a troublemaker. Whatever good influence you may have had will be gone.

Your first step is to find out why they do it this way. An “innocent” question is the safest way to go. “Father, in some other parishes I’ve visited, they kneel after the Sanctus. I’m a little confused about why they kneel and we stand.”

Listen carefully to his answer, thank him, then go home and pray about it. If it seems like something that could be fixed, perhaps you could get on the parish council or the liturgy committee and see if you can nudge them gently in the right direction. If he’s mired in garbage “theology,” it might be time to simply suck it up. Fighting this kind of thing is almost always futile and leads only to trouble for you with no good result.

And always pray for your priest and your parish.


For clarity on this point it is important to know what the controlling liturgical documents actually say:

  1. According to the IGRM II, 2, 43. the Universal Norm for the posture of the faithful after the Sanctus is standing though kneeling at this point is a laudable practice of piety.

  2. However, this same paragraph leaves it to the particular Conferences of Bishops to regulate the posture of the faithful after the Sanctus.

  3. The USCCB applied for a recognitio to continue the American custom of kneeling after the Sanctus with the caveat that any Bishop, for a pastoral reason, could retain the Universal Norm. This recognitio was granted and thus the American English text of the IGRM reads:

[quote=IGRM II, 2, 43.]The faithful should stand from the beginning of the Entrance chant, or while the priest approaches the altar, until the end of the collect; for the Alleluia chant before the Gospel; while the Gospel itself is proclaimed; during the Profession of Faith and the Prayer of the Faithful; from the invitation, Orate, fratres (Pray, brethren), before the prayer over the offerings until the end of Mass, except at the places indicated below.

They should, however, sit while the readings before the Gospel and the responsorial Psalm are proclaimed and for the homily and while the Preparation of the Gifts at the Offertory is taking place; and, as circumstances allow, they may sit or kneel while the period of sacred silence after Communion is observed.

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. [bold = mine]

  1. Thus, according to the particular norms of the Dioceses in the United States of America most places will kneel after the Sanctus. But the provision allows for a Bishop to opt for the Universal Norm of standing which some Bishops have opted to retain.

  2. The Universal Norm is in no way in disrespect to the Blessed Sacrament. Not only is standing the posture that predates kneeling after the Sanctus in the Roman Rite (which was a development of piety and not rubrically demanded) but in the other Latin Rites standing at this point was/is the norm.

What must be concluded is that if a Bishop has exercised his legitimate authority to unify his Diocese in the Universal Norm of standing after the Sanctus it is imperative that we follow his instruction since to disobey would also be to disobey the Holy See who has given him such authority.

The sentence in bold text only gives Bishops the right to decide their dioceses’ posture after the Agnus Dei, not after the Sanctus. The norm for the US is kneeling from the end of the Sanctus to the end of the Amen of the EP.

My parish – having moved here 6 weeks ago – kneels after the Sanctus but stands at and after the Agnus Dei. I haven’t a clue if it is diocesan policy or just local variation. But I kneel after the Agnus Dei (no big statement of discontent, just personal preference in preparation to receive and fairly instinctive). Noticed this morning a lot more people are also kneeling around me. There’s something to be said for being a silent witness . . .

At some Masses of one parish I go to, they do stand, and I hate it, really hate it. Then I started going to the candlelight Mass: everyone kneels for that; and some of us kneel practically throughout the Mass, and we don’t feel odd for doing so, btw.

However, as disheartened as I was with the standing, it is not nearly as troubling to me as the persistence of casual posture and dress by attendees and communicants. Recently one such person walked up and received with his hands in his pockets the entire time. (And no, he doesn’t have deformed hands; I was sitting next to him.)

I know these things shouldn’t bother me; unfortunately they do. :blush:

The Latin norm is to remain standing after the Sanctus but to kneel for the consecration.

But what US Bishops actually retain the Latin norm of having the congregation kneel for the consecration!? No, they just have them stand the whole time, probably without even telling them to make a profound bow when the priest genuflects!

Posture during the Eucharistic Prayer and posture after the Agnus Dei are two different issues.

Sorry I think I misread or miss typed. Yes, the point that varies is after the Angus Dei not after the Sanctus. I apologize for my oversight.

Of course it is required of the whole of the Latin Church to kneel after the Sanctus until after the Amen (with respect to the allowed exceptions provided for in the IGRM).

Please see my retraction. For some reason I got myself confused. The sections that I cited were for the period of time after the Angus Dei till the reception of Communion. What I failed to notice was that the op was speaking about the time after the Sanctus.

To further clarify it is in fact a liturgical abuse if people do not kneel after the Sanctus until the end of the Amen in the Dioceses of the United States (infirmity or a just reason excepting).

Is that a typo or is the GIRM IGRM in Latin (General Instruction of the Roman Missal)?

And in my experience in the US when the Great Amen is sung, as oppossed to spoken, people in many parishes begin rising somewhere in the middle of the Amen, not after the Amen: "they should kneel beginning after the singing or recitation of the Sanctus the Amen "until after. I speculate it’s due to the those leading the music raising their arms to indicate the people should respond, but the gesture is interpreted there as “get up”. No one stands up during the Prayer of the Faithful when the same gestures is used to indicate it’s the people’s turn to respond.

P.S. Belated blessed Feast Day of St. Albert the Great! :slight_smile:

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