Monday, May 7, 2018

The Devil Has No Knees aka GIRM Warfare:A History of Kneeling in Archdpdx. Revisited from 2009 and 2013:

I have been asked "to kneel or not to kneel" after the Agnus Dei (Lamb of God) in the Archdiocese of Portland.  The deciding factor, I believe, should be the General Instruction of the Roman Missal or GIRM which says we are to KNEEL.  There is much confusion since Archbishop Emeritus Vlazny changed the GIRM.  Now that we have Archbishop Alexander Sample this should be examined for the Faithful and end this confusion. VOCAL. (2013)

"The devil has no knees; he cannot kneel; he cannot adore; he cannot pray; he can only look down his nose in contempt. Being unwilling to bend the knee at the name of Jesus is the essence of evil. (Cf. Is 45:23, Rom 14:11)"
300 AD Abba Apollo, desert father of the Church

In 2003 the new General Instruction of the Roman Missal (GIRM) was introduced: A Witness to Unchanged Faith · A Witness to Unbroken Tradition. · This was to help put everyone on the same page during The Mass, the perfect prayer.

For many of us, one change implemented by the Archdiocese of Portland didn't fit: to stand after the Agnus Dei, the Lamb of God.

Children at the Mass are having a tougher time watching the action of the mass when there is standing after the Agnus Dei. Those making the switch don't seem to have the children's best interest at heart. They are excluded during this high point of our Liturgy. 

We have waited six years to see if this has helped us be better witnesses in evangelizing Christ as disciples on a mission. Prayer is the greatest weapon against the devil. In this spiritual warfare, it would seem to most that the Archdiocese of Portland would do well to spend more time on their knees.

In the United States, kneeling after the Agnus Dei was allowed by the Holy See after the "Sensi Fides", the Sense of the Faithful, Catholics who were "witnesses to Faith and unbroken Tradition" showed their devotion to Our Lord in His Holy Mass by the posture of kneeling. This is the NORM for the U.S. For a Bishop to go outside of the NORM is allowed only for exceptional reasons. In my opinion, there is not an exceptional reason

The GIRM itself which states:
The faithful kneel after the Agnus Dei unless the Diocesan Bishop determines otherwise.53

Problem - In the Oregon Catholic Press missal we notice that this statement is there without Footnote 53. This is key. The footnote refers to WHEN a Bishop is allowed to "determine otherwise". The footnote is left off. What does the footnote say?

Footnote 53 - from the bottom of page 26 of the GIRM.
CF. Second Vatican Council, Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, Sacrosanctum Concilium, no. 40: Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, Instruction Varietates legistmaem 25 January 1994, no. 41:AAS 87 (1995), p.304.

Sacrosanctum Concilium, no.40. In some places and circumstances, however, an even more radical adaptation of the liturgy is needed, and this entails greater difficulties. Wherefore:

1) The competent territorial ecclesiastical authority mentioned in Art. 22, 2, must, in this matter, carefully and prudently consider which elements from the traditions and culture of individual peoples might appropriately be admitted into divine worship. Adaptations which are judged to be useful or necessary should when be submitted to the Apostolic See, by whose consent they may be introduced. (VOCAL: has this been done?)

2) To ensure that adaptations may be made with all the circumspection which they demand, the Apostolic See will grant power to this same territorial ecclesiastical authority to permit and to direct, as the case requires, the necessary preliminary experiments over a determined period of time among certain groups suited for the purpose. (VOCAL: Archdiocese said this was a five-year experiment and then it would be assessed and the Archdiocese has been quiet about this)

3) Because liturgical laws often involve special difficulties with respect to adaptation, particularly in mission lands, men who are experts in these matters must be employed to formulate them. (VOCAL: many Oregon Catholics have been badgered when they kneel, even at the back of church. Even ridiculed by priests and this in the spirit of this directive?)

Varietates legistmaem 41. The liturgy is an action, and so gesture and posture are especially important. Those which belong to the essential rites of the sacraments and which are required for their validity must be preserved just as they have been approved or determined by the supreme authority of the Church.[87]

The gestures and postures of the celebrating priest must express his special function: He presides over the assembly in the person of Christ.[88](VOCAL:Would Christ assume the negative when someone kneels to Him?)

The gestures and postures of the assembly are signs of its unity and express its active participation and foster the spiritual attitude of the participants.[89] Each culture will choose those gestures and bodily postures which express the attitude of humanity before God, giving them a Christian significance, having some relationship if possible, with the gestures and postures of the Bible. ( VOCAL: we must learn cultural tolerance in prayer posture..from those that walk on their knees up to the altar to those who worship God by kneeling after the Agnus Dei.)


Francis Cardinal Arinze answers Francis Cardinal George's question in the Spirit of Christ as we strive to be a "Witness to Unchanged Faith · A Witness to Unbroken Tradition"

From ETWN: Kneeling in the Mass

"....But when we kneel at Jesus' name, when we bow down in service of others, and when we bend the knee in adoration, we are following in the footsteps of the Magi, we are imitating Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta, Saint Maximilian Kolbe, and all the saints and angels in heaven." Abba Apollo

"Come, let us bow down and worship. Let us kneel before the Lord who made us".


John said...

I strongly agree with all but 2 points of this article:

You say "Children at the Mass are having a tougher time watching the action of the mass when there is standing after the Agnus Dei. Those making the switch don't seem to have the children's best interest at heart. They are excluded during this high point of our Liturgy."

Whereas it's true they can't see, by stating " watching the action of the mass" is important (without qualification), you risk diminishing the value of the Extraordinary Form or the Novus Ordo celebrated ad-orientem.

The Liturgy is a mystery, where the hidden realities can sometimes best be communicated through their hiddeness. Active participation does not require the ability to see. I agree this is a fine point lost on a child's attention span, but be careful how you phrase things.

"(VOCAL: many Oregon Catholics have been badgered when they kneel, even at the back of church. Even ridiculed by priests and this in the spirit of this directive?)"

Despite my strong disagreement with the reasoning and process that lead to this decision, nonetheless, it is as you noted explicitly within the authority of the Bishop to make this decision. Even if he's wrong, we are bound by obedience to him.

Those choosing the liturgy as a time to make a protesting act of disobedience are prime candidates for pastoral correction.

Anonymous said...

I don't think we should obey the bishop even if he is wrong. Are the folks who hold up their hands during the Lord's prayer and at other times during the mass disobeying their local bishop ? I don't see anything in the missal saying that the laity should raise their hands or pointing to the priest while saying "and also with you ". Are the laity to improvise postures during mass ? I'll continue to kneel after the Agnus Dei and pray that I am not doing it out of pride or disobedience but rather kneeling to the ultimate authority - Jesus. Peace be with you !

John said...


Your post contradicts itself. You point out the errancy of the laity trying to take the priestly orans position during Mass [even though this isn't explicitly addressed in the missal] and correctly ask, "Are the laity to improvise postures during mass?"

And then you turn around and declare that you are going to improvise your own posture during Mass against the legitimate authority of your bishop...

We are not individual magisteria each endowed with the priestly authority to decide what is most suiting to God in the liturgy. We're Catholics. As St. Ignatius of Antioch says, "Wherever the bishop is, there is the Church." Let us follow our mother.

Anonymous said...

why do people get hung up on who what to do and when. If kneeling is in the spirit and respect for Christ so be it, It is what it is and has nothing to do with disobedience.
And there can be no better witness!

God Bless you all!

VOCAL said...


My children when they were younger and now my grandchildren are encouraged and interested in what's going on. To see someone's backside no matter which form of the Mass is taking this away from them.

The I have many grandsons that participate serving in the different rites and forms. My family Roman rite solo, Roman rite with Anglican Use Form, Romanian Byzantine Catholic including a son-in-law who is a priest and is bi-ritual.

They are all under the Holy Father and have different disciplines. We have many fun times talking during Lent, Advent and comparing feast days and calendars.

There are many, many, people who know what children can love at Church and that is Holy Communion. My Byzantine babies have been receiving Communion since infancy and feel the need to receive.

Secondly...WE now have a new Archbishop and this was only a trial run in Oregon. It has failed for many.

Those admonished so harshly were in the back of Church and just the priest could see them.

The norm in the US is to kneel, the Devil doesn't kneel and personally I have felt that I am doing the correct things to kneel..although I see your point.

If I was to become an Episcopal Use Catholic, I could kneel and it would look like I was "disobedient". Prayer is personal and in Byzantine Liturgies this prayer posture can or cannot coincide and no one mentions it..
they might be worshiping the Lord instead.

Liz said...

While it may not be the official posture in a particular diocese (due to the decision of the Ordinary), and while the rest of the congregation might all stand, it is never wrong for an individual to choose to kneel at the customary times such as after the Agnus Dei or to receive Communion. Some Ordinaries have decreed standing during the Eucharistic Prayer and I have seen this in other states. Always a smattering of people throughout the church do kneel, as it their RIGHT at Catholics.

Cool said...


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