Saturday, 18 June 2011

Kneeling

One of the things that struck me when I happened into the EF Mass (apart from realising that this is the real deal,) was that there is a lot more kneeling. In an OF Mass in E&W the congregation do not kneel down until after the Sanctus. That's a long way in.

In terms of active participation in the EF, there's quite a bit of action for the congregation. What with kneeling for lengthy bits of time there are shorter bits of kneeling for specific moments and words. 'Et incarnatus est,' in the Creed, the 'et verbum caro factum est,' in the Last Gospel and for the Final Blessing. Keep up folks, there's plenty to do!

Now before this post inspires a frenzied comments box (dream on Leutgeb, dream on,) I must nail my Mass going colours to the nearest post. I would be very happy to only go to EF Masses, but do go to OF Masses perfectly easily. It would be fair to say that 95% of Masses that I go to are in the EF and the the last two OF Masses that I went to were at Quarr and Westminster Cathedral. It is the Mass that the Pope celebrates daily and if he can celebrate it, I can attend it. I worry about how Catholic I actually am if I start really not wanting to go to the OF. Teaching authoriy, valid sacraments, that's the bottom line. If you lack either of those, I'm not there and I'm not interested. No, oddly enough, I don't like it when things aren't done right, but I'm not a priest and that's his business in the first instance. The only time I suspend my capacity to be endlessly critical of myself and everyone else (much more me than you folks, honest,)is in Church, so I don't think it's a good idea to adopt a critical mindset here. I can't see what's going on anyway because I look at the floor most of the time and am increasingly good at screening out English which sounds like blah blah blah. Other people have other entrenched views. For me as long as the Mass is Catholic, celebrated by a Priest in good standing, doing his best to do it right, I'm not complaining. If it's in the Old Rite, that's great. There we are. I do know what it is like to go to Mass dutifully week in week out and wonder where I was going wrong and yes it would now be very hard to go back to that, but some lines are not meant to be crossed and plenty of people have to endure the less than ideal. We are in this mess of a world together. But I digress...

Those few of us EF/OF attending minority have certain moments when our reactions don't quite fit. Because in the EF, 'dicentes,' means ding, Sanctus, kneel and in the OF it does not etc.

This dichotomy is most awfully apparent at the moment of receiving Holy Communion, because that is the crunch point and all depends on the church, which to my upbringing, which said all churches the same, all priests the same, all Masses the same does not compute, because they are not, sadly, the same. I was also brought up with an extreme sense of never drawing attention to myself in church. What more obvious way to do that than to kneel when everyone else is standing? That is not something that I have resolved satisfactorily yet (OK yes that is a euphemism for I mess up badly on occasion and receive on the tongue, standing, having genuflected - mea culpa, )but rather like the priest who, when I said in Confession, 'Should I say an act of contrition?' said, 'Later, if you like.' (If I like? I thought that the whole point about Confession was that what I like is not a very good measure of what is actually right. ) it could be made a lot easier.

There we are. Leutgeb, a shambles, as you suspected.

6 comments:

stmarymagdalenchoir said...

I always think one of the hardest thing to do when you are doing the music for a Mass is to remember the importance of kneeling. I can think of countless reasons why often l stay sitting on the organ stool during the canon.There are invariably no kneelers near you, the organ loft floor is very dusty, l have already lost the music for the Pater Noster etc. I will make a point of kneeling tomorrow. Thank you!

clare

Richard Collins said...

I agree that the OF Mass is the one the Holy Father celebrates daily, it's just that he doesn't have inane chatter before and after his Masses, banal guitar music throughout and people doing odd things on the sanctuary. I would happily attend a Mass like that.

Ben Trovato said...

We too attend both EF and OF regularly. I have to say that I always kneel and receive on the tongue, at either form. It may draw attention to me when others are standing, but as I rather dislike drawing attention to myself, I know that I am not doing it for that reason...

But I quite agree that to despise the OF when it is the daily Mass of the Holy Father betrays a sensibility that has wandered away from Catholicism (just as despising the EF, the Mass of so many saints, does).

Marc said...

I think there are lots of people like you and us: I too would be more than happy to hear the EF Mass every time I go to church (one Sunday a month here, however) but (and there are, alas, parishes where I couldn't say this with a serious face) am 'perfectly [well, imperfectly] easy' on the other days with the OF Mass.

A good number of folks receive on the tongue but standing alas is the current norm in this part of the world. As you suggest, the responsibility for that's down to the bishops and priests, so far as I can tell.

Patricius said...

Hear! Hear! Or, as the man said, "Is the Pope a Catholic?"

Annie Elizabeth said...

I don't think you should worry too much about straying into EF norms kneeling-wise in an OF Mass -- you're simply bigging up the reverence quotient. Doing things the other way around would be something else altogether!

We're currently in France, where kneeling at all in the OF is rarer than hen's teeth (they are actually born with one tooth, but lose it after chipping their way out of the egg, if you're interested)and where the OF norms seem to have crept into the EF: there's much less kneeling that we're used to ...

Regarding the OF here - I'm just not cool with the standing-all-the-way-through-the-consecration thing, so we tend to kneel according to EF norms. The funny thing is, it turns into a sort of peer pressure and we often get a wave of kneeling rippling out from where we are in the church... see http://defende-nos-in-proelio.blogspot.com/2011/06/real-spirit-of-vatican-ii-and-parking.html

... so you might be encouraging more reverence in the OF by kneeling at the right times for the EF. Peer pressure kneeling: just do it!

(and - whoa! - look at that combox!)