Kneelers in church


What do yo think of people who use kneelers in church as foot rest when sitting during Mass? I know there are a lot of people who have bad backs, poor circulation, etc, but for some reason this practice bothers me. I have seen people slip off shoes and rest feet on kneelers and leave shoes on and put their feet on the kneelers.
My mom said I should be looking at their souls and not at their feet but really, wouldn’t it be nice to give that time during Mass to God without thinking so much about ones own comfort?


I keep being surprised every time this topic comes up. In 50 years no one has ever suggested that using the kneelers as a footrest was a bad thing.

I can understand if the kneelers are covered in fabric that is not washable but any church I’ve ever attended had either plain wooden, unpadded kneelers or kneelers padded in vinyl or leatherette and everyone used them as footrests, particularly those of us who are vertically challenged and whose feet don’t touch the floor.



Sorry, but I have to disagree…This topic comes up a lot elsewhere on this site!

I was taught as a child not to put my feet on the kneelers and not to stand on them either. They are kneelers, not footrests. Just because they are vinyl doesn’t mean I should come in and get them dirty with my shoes. Guess I still think that way because I don’t do it, and I don’t let my kids do it either.


I think it depends on the design.

I have very bad knees and feet (two surgeries and counting), and I’m 52, so I don’t look challenged when I’m sitting. (I think people can tell by the pronounceed limping when I stand and walk that something is wrong.)

In most churches, the kneelers tuck neatly under the pew and I can stretch my feet and legs out and wiggle them to keep them from freezing up.

In some of the older churches, the kneeler is in the way of my feet (people must have been shorter and smaller back then!), and so I will sometimes use the kneeler as a rest. I try not to put my shoes on the kneeler, but sometimes you have no choice. If the alternative is falling when I stand up to go forward for Holy Communion, I’ll rest my feet on a kneeler.

And sometimes, parishioners in the pew with me will put the kneeler down at the beginning of Mass to pray, and then leave it there. I’m sure they must have arthritis in their hands or something that makes it difficult to move the kneeler, so they just leave it. But this is very uncomfortable for me to sit with my feet tucked around a kneeler, so I usually move. But if I can’t move, I’m sorry, but I will have to rest my feet on the kneeler.

I really like the way our Perpetual Adoration Chapel is designed. There are kneelers, but two of the pews at the side are built without kneelers so that those of us who can’t kneel can still adore the Lord reverently. I wish that more churches would do this–add a few pews at the side with no kneelers for those who can’t kneel anyway.


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