Traditional Practice and Conformity (Kneeling During the Agnus Dei?)

I am starting this thread to prevent [thread=140615]When Does Traditionalism Cross the Line?[/thread] straying off topic, while exploring a single aspect of it. Viz:

One of the polled marks of Traditionalism is: “Do you kneel during the Agnus Dei? (read GIRM)”.

Having [post=2025995]read the GIRM[/post], and [post=2042528]having never noticed such practice[/post], I did not understand this. But [post=2044553]I can believe[/post] that there are those who would do so and for apparently traditional reasons.

What is it that makes kneeling during the Agnus Dei a traditional practice?
That is: Is it a traditional practice? I confess, it has been long enough since I have been to a TLM that I know not the rubrics, but I find this crib sheet from Una Voce America, which indicates kneeling from the Sanctus until Communion. Why would someone of traditional mind kneel during the Agnus Dei but not, say, during the Pater Noster?

In my experience, I have never noticed anyone attending a Mass according to the current Missal to kneel during the Agnus Dei nor do I know of any parishes/dioceses where this is the practice?


Holy Church does not in detail regulate the positions of laymen during the Eucharistic Sacrifice.

We are free to pray as we want if we are reverent and participate in offering the victim.
This can be see in the responses from the Roman Curia to questions about for example kneeling during communion.

I can’t see why you Americans are so conformist.

Finally! New material:

But the Church *does *regulate, at some level of detail, the posture of the faithful. Returning to the GIRM for the US, it says:

  1. The gestures and posture of the priest, the deacon, and the ministers, as well as those of the people, ought to contribute to making the entire celebration resplendent with beauty and noble simplicity, so that the true and full meaning of the different parts of the celebration is evident and that the participation of all is fostered. Therefore, attention should be paid to what is determined by this General Instruction and the traditional practice of the Roman Rite and to what serves the common spiritual good of the People of God, rather than private inclination or arbitrary choice.

A common posture, to be observed by all participants, is a sign of the unity of the members of the Christian community gathered for the Sacred Liturgy: it both expresses and fosters the intention and spiritual attitude of the participants.

[And, in #43:]

The faithful kneel after the Agnus Dei unless the Diocesan Bishop determines otherwise.

While I am not aware of any *dubia / responsa *regarding this particular question, it would not surprise me if one would be similar to that regarding, eg, the reception of Communion kneeling.

So my answer to carl36’s question is: I think the default for all Catholics, American or otherwise, should be conformity to the GIRM. I just don’t know what would move me to do otherwise, no matter how reverently?


I think the difference would come from what happens before the Agnus Dei between the TLM and the NO Masses, and I’m partly doing this from memory.

In the NO Mass, the people are standing for the Our Father and the Sign of Peace. In most parishes I have seen, one then kneels again after the Agnus Dei, for the “Lord I am not worthy…”

My recollection though is that in the TLM, since there is no communal Lord’s Prayer, and no Sign of Peace, the people do not stand at this point, but continue kneeling until it is time to get up to enter the communion procession.

As such it would be considered “traditional” to be kneeling then because the Mass does not have a place where one would have stood to begin with.

I have never seen anyone at an NO Mass kneel for the Agnus Dei, but I wouldn’t say that there are not people who might do so.

While I still have a great problem with “traditional” being so narrowly defined as preferring the TLM, if it is so-defined, it would seem that kneeling at the Agnus Dei is the norm for that Mass.


I don’t think Carl likes the Church or the Pope…calling Americans conformists…what the heck? Pray as we want? We should be praying How God wants us to pray. That is the problem today, people are telling God I will worship you as I want to. No humility or spirituality here, just arrogance and rebellion.

In the Low Mass we kneel thoughout the Mass except for the Gospel, Credo, and Offertory.

In the High Mass we stand when the priest sings.

What’s the big deal?

A traditionalist should be obedient to the liturgical norms of the Church, which would involve complying with the GIRM at an NO Mass. However, a traditionalist will also have a good enough grasp of obedience to try to discern what is really expected by the norms of the GIRM, which the dubia submitted to the CDF have revealed to not always be as strictly binding as our American bishops’ conference wants to paint them in the few instances it cares about celebrating by the book.

Traditionally, at a High Mass the rules for the choir (which, to my knowlege are also observed by the congregation, except where noted that canons alone are exempted from such-and-such gesture) require kneeling at most Masses only for the Prayers at the Foot of the Altar and at the Qui Pridie to the Unde et memores. Certain decisions of the former SCRites would extend this to kneeling at communion for the second confession and to when the priest says Ecce Agnus Dei. I think it was custom in the USA to kneel from the Sanctus for the whole of the Canon.

Reading AJV’s post makes me wonder if I might have misunderstood what tee was asking.

Was the question whether kneeling would be traditional during the Agnus Dei, or during the Ecce Agnue Dei? Even in the NO Mass, at least in my experience, it has been traditional in the US that you kneel during the Ecce Agnus Dei, whether in an English or Latin version.

I think there may be some places where that may not be the case now, and where standing until after communion is the norm, but I don’t think that has been the norm in the past. I have not seen any parishes in our diocese who stand during the Ecce Agnus Dei.


Yes, that is my experience/recollection as well. What originally piqued my curiosity was the poll option (emphasized) "Do you kneel *during the Agnus Dei? (read GIRM)". The GIRM I read says to kneel *after *the *Agnus Dei *(which matches my experience).

(* Which slightly anticipates the universal IGMR (emphasized), "Ubi mos est, populum ab acclamatione Sanctus expleta usque ad finem Precis eucharisticae et ante Communionem quando sacerdos dicit Ecce Agnus Dei genuflexum manere, hic laudabiliter retinetur." but that is what has been approved for the US)

Yes, the US GIRM allows the bishop to “determine otherwise”. If my bishop were to do so, I like to think I would obediently submit.


You know, I’ve sung in the choir for so long (where we stand to sing virtually everything) that I can’t remember what we’re supposed to do at the Agnus Dei!

What are we supposed to do?

I’m a son of the Church. The one, holy Catholic and Apostolic, Roman Church.
That is my pride and my joy.

We are to worship God as He wants to in the Holy sacrifice of the Mass and offering the victim through the priest and together with him.
We do not have to follow slavishly the other congregants posture, as has been shown by the Roman congregation of the discipline of the sacraments. The GIRM mentions traditional Roman practice, ie kneeling.
Wasn’t there a pastor in the US who threatened his parishoners with excommunication if they kneel when he didn’t want them to?

‘Hyper-ruberism’, is a good term that someone who used to post on here came up with.

Yes that happen in CA.

The dubia and responses.

If you read it carefully it answers more than is asked, ie you can kneel even during the Agnus Dei. And when you want during Mass.


Canonically, It’s Gobbledygook
Parish Invites Catholics to Leave the Church


Since the May 2004 retirement of Father Daniel Johnson as pastor at St. Mary’s by the Sea in Huntington Beach (which ended the parish’s indult for the Tridentine Mass), parishioners have fought to maintain reverence at St. Mary’s. The battle climaxed when a group calling itself Restore the Sacred was “invited” in February to leave the parish by St. Mary’s administrator, Father Martin Tran.

So far Restore the Sacred has published 19 flyers that have been handed out and e-mailed to parishioners. After flyer 15 was published on February 19, Father Tran sent 37 families a form letter on February 27 informing them that he “officially” invited them "to leave the parish St. Mary’s by the Sea and the diocese of Orange.

Flyer 15 addressed a number of liturgical issues, including the emphasis on the Mass as a “meal” instead of a sacrifice, eroding belief in the Real Presence, and the alleged “need” for extraordinary ministers of communion (to offer the sacrament under both species; but, supposedly, less than ten percent of St, Mary’s parishioners ever approach the chalice), as well as the Holy See’s authority superseding the bishop’s with regard to postures at Mass.

The war of words has not been one-sided. Father Tran has used the parish bulletin to rebuke the traditionalists in his parish and warn any sympathizers. In a parish bulletin dated February 19, Father Tran informed parishioners that refusal to obey the new norms for standing rather than kneeling “particularly … after the ‘Lamb of God’ and at the ‘Final Blessing’” established by Bishop Brown is “totally wrong and a serious matter/sin: intentional disobedience not simply to the local Bishop, but also to Rome, and ultimately to God.”

While the Catholic Church may not be a democracy, neither is it a dictatorship, and its members have rights. Seeking to secure those rights, Restore the Sacred has contracted the services of the St. Joseph Foundation, a San Antonio, Texas-based canon law group formed to help lay Catholics vindicate their rights in the Church.

Cardinal Arinze has said the same thing, more publicly. Cardinal Francis George, archbishop of Chicago, in 2003 asked the Holy See’s Congregation for Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments whether it was the “intention of the Missale Romanum, editio typica tertia, to forbid” the practice of kneeling after communion. On June 5, 2003, Cardinal Arinze responded that kneeling is still permitted after communion and during other parts of the Mass. “The prescription of the Institutio Generalis Missalis Romani, no. 43,” he wrote, “is intended, on the one hand, to ensure within broad limits a certain uniformity of posture within the congregation for the various parts of the celebration of 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.”

Parishioners say that Father Tran’s February 27 letter was not his first retaliatory measure against them. Previously, Mary Tripoli was notified by letter of her dismissal from the parish council. “Many of the others were threatened over the phone,” she said. “Little old ladies who had been there more than 20 years were told by Father Martin, ‘if you want to stay on the council, please stop kneeling.’ It brought them to tears. Then he wishes them a ‘Blessed Lent’ after that!”

The reprisals extend to the altar servers. In a letter dated December 14, 2005, Father Martin dismissed Damian Garcia as altar servers coordinator because “three times you did not follow these norms during Sunday Masses … you knelt down after the Lamb of God right in front of the people.” Father Tran noted, “for our first meeting, I said very clear that you would be the Altar Servers Coordinator with the condition that you should follow the liturgical norms of the diocese. And you promised that. Now, you broke it.”

The members of Restore the Sacred are fully prepared for a long, hard fight with the diocese. “We always obey,” said Mary Tripoli. “We obey the magisterium, and we obey the teachings of the Church. But St. Thomas Aquinas said that the laity has the right to sound doctrine and sound liturgy, and if they are not doing the right thing, then it is our duty to say that it is wrong. We are not at all disputing the bishop’s authority. We just know that the mind of the Church was never to use strong-arm tactics, make little old ladies cry because they want to kneel, and threaten parents when their children want to kneel. This is a huge crisis.”

These are not Conformists.

Under the current Missal, “The faithful kneel after the Agnus Dei unless the Diocesan Bishop determines otherwise.” [The faithful ought immediately prior to this to have been standing]

The information I can find of the 1962 Missal indicate kneeling straight through from the *Sanctus *until Communion, but some who attend more regularly than I indicate that this is not always the case, and that, eg, the faithful sometimes stand for the Pater Noster. Presumably they kneel again during the Agnus Dei?


There are no specific, binding rubrics for the faithful in the TLM, it isn’t hyper-rubrised like in the NO. Customs from place to place differ on when to stand/kneel/sit, and when not to.

For example, the customs were different when I visited the ICRSS Seminary in Italy, than they are in England.

Its not a big deal.

It is when you have control freaks dictating what everyone (other than those in the sanctuary) should do inside Church.

[quote=BobP123]It is when you have control freaks dictating what everyone (other than those in the sanctuary) should do inside Church.

I find these statements very interesting since a huge source of complaints from the “traditionalists” about the NO takes the form of “dictating what everyone…should do inside Church.” It seems to really be THE major complaint, yet if people are left on their own in the TLM apparently it’s not only ok, but expected that there will be minor variations from parish to parish.

I’m not saying that’s a bad thing. It just strikes me as odd since so often the TLM is implied to be almost “abuse proof” by virtue of being so heavily controlled. Yet this would seem to imply exactly the opposite to be true.

In saying this, I am not advocating that things should be loose so abuses creep in. But I happen to agree with the sentiment expressed that little variations in parish culture should be expected and not be a “big deal”, whether it’s a TLM or an NO Mass.


The NO’s problem isn’t the abuse in the pews in the vast majority of situations, its the abuse in the Sanctuary.

The TLM is regulated rubrically - in the sanctuary - to the minute extreme, from the amount the Priest bows, to where he casts his eyes and picks up the sacred Host. There are no such rubrics in the Novus Ordo. That, is where the problem lies.

I hope you are not using “traditionalists” in reference to me! :o

Hi Nick. No I wasn’t specifically referring to you, but only included your statement because back to back statements about the TLM being looser popped up.

I agree that many of the complaints are about the priest, and many of them rightfully so. But just as many, or more, are complaints about how people hold their hands, whether we should stand or kneel at different times, how one should approach and receive communion, etc. Everything in the world that doesn’t fit the individual taste seems to be lumped as an “abuse” rather than just recognizing that variations naturally occur and that there is nothing wrong with that. As you said, it’s no big deal.

And as I said, I find it to be no big deal regardless of which liturgy it occurs in. And it saddens me greatly the amount of division that goes on in that area.


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