No kneeling, forced handholding, We felt seriously uncomfortable at this Mass


We were out for the day and attended another church for the vigil Mass. We felt like fishes out of water. They didn’t kneel during the Mass whatsoever there. I’ve never seen that anywhere before. I’ve seen it after the Lamb of God, but not no kneeling at all. During the Our Father, basically there was forced handholding, across the aisles, no way out of it. We went with the flow, and did as others did, but felt really uncomfortable. Even the kids wondered what in the heck was going on. The priest gave a very nice sermon.

On leaving the church, I mentioned that they didn’t kneel at his church. He said that that goes back to the early church and that after Vatican 2 they started going back to earlier ways. I complimented him on his sermon and we went on our way. He was very nice.

There were kneelers in the church, but no kneeling, except for a few stray people. We decided to go along with the majority. The music was very nicely done, and the only other unusual thing was that the priest joined in holding hands with the whole congregation and he came to shake hands with everyone during the greet your neighbor portion.


Sounds like a lovely mass! :slight_smile:


I think it would have been okay if that was was we are used to. But, we felt like we were in another church and didn’t know what to do. I’d rather the Church be more universal. Is this the way the Church is going? Is this the trend?

Things have changed more slowly at our parish. Gradually handholding has crept into some of the Masses, but it’s hardly universal, more of an individual choice.

I do feel more secure and comfortable kneeling during the consecration. Why did they change this? They didn’t kneel in the early church?


The new revision of the General Instructions of the Roman Missal (GIRM), promulgated in 2000 and issued with U.S. adaptions in 2002, instructs that: “In the dioceses of the United States of America, they should kneel beginning after the singing or recitation of the Sanctus “Holy, holy, holy Lord, God of power and might…”] 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 “Lamb of God, you take away the sins of the world, have mercy on us…”, which is after the sign of peace] unless the Diocesan Bishop determines otherwise.”

Unless there was a darned good reason they should have been kneeling for the consecration. After the Agnus Dei there’s a bit of leeway for the Bishop to determine otherwise…

Also, NO ONE can force you to hold hands. And the Priest is NOT to leave the Sanctuary (ie step into the Nave with the people) during Mass…(unless dirceted to do so by the GIRM)

edit: I was specifically referring to the practice of “doing the rounds” during the sign of peace. Y’know, when father walks out into the Nave with a gaggle of Altar boys to shake hands with everybody in a 5mile radius…

Check out the complete GIRM:


Yes, alot of people did a big bow. We didn’t really know what to do though, but I noticed alot doing the bow. There was plenty of seating and there were kneelers. There didn’t really seem to be much of a ‘sancturary’, the priest was up and down a little stage thing in the center of the church. There was a deacon too.

Anyways I’m not an expert like alot of people here are, but I know I felt off balance throughout the Mass. I’ve seen it done a little differently elsewhere, but this was the most different I’ve seen. I would rather see more uniformaty, I think it’s not good to have all this variety, people like me get awfully distracted by it.


Thank you Isidore. You are correct. Unfortunately, there are more Churches than one might think that celebrate Mass in this fashion. I attended one in the Nashville area that was very similar. I quickly found a new parish.


True, and the Mass should be celebrated the same universally. However, “people” always seem to find a way to mess things up.


It is my understanding that we Catholics kneel more in the North America than in Europe, for example. That the US Bishops have encouraged kneeling. My question is: wouldnt standing be more universal and appropriate, considering bad knees, etc? Also, the constant keeping up with the standing, the kneeling is a distraction from the beauty of the Mass. Any thoughts?


I don’t know, but that is the decision of the Holy See and our bishops. We have a GIRM for a reason. Diverting from it is disobedience. Unfortunately, it happens a lot.


The early martyrs didn’t go along with the majority.


At a previous parish the pastor asked for suggestions regarding redecorating the church. We were looking at new carpeting and getting rid of a half wall at the back to increase capacity. A number of people wanted to have kneelers installed. I spoke to the pastor after the Mass when he mentioned the request, along with some others. I pointed out to him that the building had obviously been designed without kneelers and the only way to change it would be to remove all the pews and start over. This would result in fewer pews in the main body of the church and defeat the purpose of taking out the half wall. He replied that the architect who designed the church was still a member of the parish and that he (pastor) had no illusions about the cost and disruption that such a drastic change would mean. He was certainly not putting kneelers into an already crowded room.
Note that the instruction quoted earlier speaks about church buildings in the US. The reason that it does not include Europe is that there are so many churches in Europe which not only have no kneelers, but do not have seating. The congregation stands during services. The Curia seems to delight in laying down the law for those far away, but won’t dare try it on someone too close to their own front door.



I have knelt in several churches in Europe.


We fold our hands and bow our heads for the Our Father, and kneel anyways when we visit a such a parish.

The parish we go to when we visit our family, it’s my family and the “old ladies” with the mantillas are the only ones kneeling.


My advice, talk to the kids - tell them that you have researched it and are now sure that we are supposed to kneel during the Consecration. That next time you visit a parish, even if there are no kneelers, when Consecration begins you and your family will hit your knees.

While traveling, we have had those times when we were the only people kneeling. You really will live through it :slight_smile:


Rather than having kneelers put in, perhaps soft carpeting could be installed so people can kneel comfortably.

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