Kneeling during Mass question


I have a question about kneeling during Mass (Ordinary Form). I was a counselor at this one camp last summer and I was told by one of the camp leaders that I had to kneel after the Sanctus, stand after the Memorial Acclamation, and remain standing following the Pater Noster/Sign of Peace/Agnus Dei. I have seen this done at lots of other parishes, but at my home parish, we kneel after the Sanctus through to the Pater Noster, then we stand and after the Agnus Dei we kneel again until we get into the line for Communion.

I told my parents about this recently and they were a little bit disturbed by the fact that I was not permitted to kneel during certain parts of the Mass, so now I am wondering what the Vatican has said concerning kneeling during these parts. Did they set a universal norm, leave it up to each country’s council of bishops, leave it up to the bishop of each diocese, or something else? Any help is greatly appreciated. :o


The universal norm is to kneel from the Epiclesis to the Mysterium Fidei only. The US norm is to kneel from the end of the Sanctus to the end of the Amen after the Mysterium Fidei then again after the Angus Dei to Communion then optional during Communion. Your home parish apparently does its own thing which is fine if people are doing it on their own. After all, it’s never forbidden to kneel. You can kneel throughout the entire Mass if you wish. But your priest shouldn’t be encouraging it.


Bishops are the chief liturgists in their dioceses and this is a decision they are authorized to make. I have seen parishes do their own thing, however. My basic attitude when I’m visiting someplace is that when in Rome I do what the Romans do and simply follow along with everyone else.


Not really. There are prescribed times to stand and sit. It would be bizarre if someone insisted on kneeling during the Gloria or Gospel proclamation, for example.


They’re norms intended to promote uniformity. They aren’t required under pain of any penalty. Disregarding them may be bizarre but it isn’t usually disobedient. E.g., you can kneel to receive Communion even though the norm is to stand.


Not always. For example, in the US, we kneel from after the Sanctus to after the great Amen. That is a adaptation to the GIRM that was made by the USCCB and approved by the Vatican. A Bishop could not, on his own authority, decide to ignore the instruction in the adapted GIRM and, for example, decide that no one kneels unless he received approval for a diocesan adaptation of the GIRM.

OTOH, that same adaptation sometimes gives the individual bishops authority to choose. An example of that is whether to kneel after the Non Dignus. That is made on a diocese-by-diocese basis.


And I had an example of that this weekend. I’m visiting a different diocese and kind of wondered what they do here. In my archdiocese we stand. I hung back a little and discovered that here they kneel. So I knelt. I’m willing to be flexible. :slight_smile:


I cannot kneel at all due to arthritis, so I mentally lie prostrate during the entire worship. If He wants to pick me up and take me home I am not adverse.


In Canada the GIRM calls for kneeling only at the Consecration, in fact, it has called for kneeling only at the Consecration since 1975. Many, if not most, parishes ignored this. The CCCB has decreed that that means kneeling from right after the Sanctus to the Mystery of Faith.

The GIRM does add that where the parish has been kneeling from the Sanctus to the Amen and from the “Behold the Lamb of God” to Communion it is ‘laudable’ to keep doing it.

The CCCB, in a document called “**An Introduction to the New Edition of the Order of Mass **and the General Instruction of the Roman Missal” clarified what is meant by “laudable”:

LAUDABLE… NOBLE … something good; but not required or necessarily encouraged; these are not a legislative terms’

As you can see, what your parish is doing is fine but there was nothing wrong with what you were told at camp.


This is generally my attitude also. Unfortunately while on vacation in another diocese (it wasn’t Rome :)) because one of the family members uses a walker we were advised to sit in the very front pew for ease in receiving communion. So all six of us were the first in line to receive after which we returned to our pew and promptly knelt down as we were accustomed to do at home. When communion was over and the tabernacle was closed as we all sat down, again our custom at home, I happened to glance over my sholder and noticed that the entire congregation had remained standing. I was chagrined to say the least. It must have looked like we protesting or something. :blush:


I remember the fuss when the revised instructions first came out in 2003. Cardinal Arinze, Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, provided clarification. If you prefer to kneel, then kneel.

Francis Cardinal George, O.M.I., Chairman of the Bishops Committee on the Liturgy, received the following clarification concerning the right interpretation of the “General Instruction of the Roman Missal” on the posture of the faithful from their own reception of Communion until the period of sacred silence after all Communions have been received (at which time they may sit or kneel as they prefer).

Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments
5 June 2003
Prot. n. 855/03/L

Dubium: In many places, the faithful are accustomed to kneeling or sitting in personal prayer upon returning to their places after having individually received Holy Communion during Mass. Is it the intention of the Missale Romanum, editio typica tertia, to forbid this practice?

Responsum: Negative, et ad mentem. The mens is that the prescription of the Institutio Generalis Missalis Romani, no. 43, is intended, on one hand, to ensure within broad limits a certain uniformity of posture within the congregation for the various parts of the celebration of the Holy Mass, and on the other, to not regulate posture rigidly in such a way that those who wish to kneel or sit would no longer be free.

Francis Cardinal Arinze

He went into more detail here, on kneeling and several other topics. I’ve quoted the part about kneeling.:

“Catholic Familyland” Summer Conference
Bloomingdale, Ohio
Cardinal Francis Arinze
July 2003

**Does everybody have to stand until the last person has received Holy Communion? **

There is no rule from Rome that everybody must stand during Holy Communion. There is no such rule from Rome. So, after people have received Communion, they can stand, they can kneel, they can sit. But a bishop in his diocese or bishops in a country could say that they recommend standing or kneeling. They could. It is not a law from Rome. They could – but not impose it. Perhaps they could propose. But those who want to sit or kneel or stand should be left reasonable freedom.

**Is that the same thing with the consecration? Can they kneel during the consecration? **

A bit different there. The rule from Rome would sanction where the bishops said, “in our country we want people to kneel throughout the consecration”. From our office in Rome we will support that. So it is a bit different. But sometimes during the consecration – suppose it is open-air or it rained and it is muddy – you could not kneel there. But in the normal church it is possible to kneel.

And that’s the normal thing: to kneel during the consecration – and even, as in this country, to kneel from the beginning – just before consecration – right down to just before the Our Father. And that is okay. Where a particular person cannot kneel – you have arthritis or you are a mother holding a baby – that is understood.


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