Permission to not Kneel and the Bishop's Authority


I’ve been curious about this topic for a while; I know I’ve asked questions about kneeling, but they revolved around the authority of an individual priest, not necessarily the bishop. So I know that the Notiate says that the absence of kneelers is not an acceptable reason to not kneel, but could a bishop override this? Say one of the parishes in his diocese lacks kneelers, could the bishop give the congregation permission to not kneel at all during Mass?


If you are asking if a bishop can give permission for those who do not feel comfortable kneeling without kneelers to adopt some other posture. Yes, in fact that is considered to be a ‘good’ reason under the GIRM.

Does it mean that the bishop can mandate another posture when no kneelers are present, no he cannot.

Under the authority of the CDWDS as the legislator of the GIRM (see Canon 16), the interpretation is authentic and thus has the force of law.


To me, a healthy individual, there is no excuse for not kneeling, regardless of the presence of kneelers. If I believe that Christ is TRULY PRESENT before me, then I am kneeling and have done so without kneelers.

My two cents …


I feel the same way, and I’ve got two blown out knees from sports injuries. Stations of the Cross are especially difficult, but I just accept the pain.


I greatly respect the devout’s choice to kneel even without the kneelers (this is just for comfort but not required). But it should be done with our hearts “into it” and not because the Church requires it or disallows another position. A number of people kneeling on the ground despite the dirt and discomfort is surely a sign of sacrifice and devotion and would be a most welcome gift to our Lord. For what is kneeling without the heart set upon the act? Wouldn’t a “guest” who remains standing or seated, be more respectable–than a “devout” kneeling without real devotion? After all, the Church welcomes all souls–deeply devout, returning prodigals, or even guests from other faiths wishing to learn about our faith.

In my country (Philippines), people are allowed to remain standing and are expected to do so with the same reverence (heads bowed and hands together in prayer) as when kneeling. I have not heard of any bishop’s declaration on this. It is just so.


Indeed! My left knee is shot in the MCLs – thank you, defensive line in Division II ball!


Chronic pain from GWI here. I kneel for as long as I possibly can. If I can’t kneel, then I sort of prop myself up with my knees still on the kneelers. Most of the time I can get through it just fine. It hurts, but not quite to that point. It’s difficult because I don’t look like a person who would have that sort of trouble, so I do end up pushing it past reason simply because I don’t want people to make assumptions.

There really is little chance I would be able to just sit there or stand, though. I would rather be in pain than that.


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[quote="GoRangers, post:6, topic:327834"]
Indeed! My left knee is shot in the MCLs -- thank you, defensive line in Division II ball!


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my sister’s parish in soCal is still using temporary facilities due to what I understand is a building moratorium. no kneelers, so everyone stands. I still knee (carpet, thankfully) because that’s what I always do.


I know of a Chicago-area parish about ten years ago that kept chairs instead of pews even though they were relatively well off. I wonder in hindsight if it was intentional.


Our parish is currently without a large enough church building. we have a small historic chapel, and a slightly larger historic church, but our parish is so large that we have 3 standing-room-only Masses each Sunday in the gymnasium of the parish hall. With chairs and bodies smashed so close together it is very difficult to find a way to kneel. some people on the aisle or in the front spread out a little in order to kneel. Most people stand reverently with folded hands and bowed heads. I don’t know if it is with the permission of the bishop; however, our pastor came to us from the cathedral. The bishop reassigned his rector to us. Our pastor has never instructed us to kneel. So I can only assume it is permitted to stand.


Thanks for all the replies.

I think the difference here ould be the fact that its standing room only. According to the GIRM that would be adquate reason to not kneel. In my case the parish is deffinately large enough for everyone to kneel. It’s just that they’d have to kneel on the floor.


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