Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Controversy continues as more Belleville churchgoers are told to get on their knees

http://www.dl.ket.org/webmuseum/wm/paint/auth/joos/eucharist.jpg
- News-Democrat

A controversy about whether to stand or kneel during the high point of the Catholic Mass has spread from one church in the Belleville Diocese to at least three others.

A three-page letter from Belleville Bishop Edward K. Braxton sent Dec. 11 to the Rev. Albert Kreher, pastor of St. Mary Parish in Trenton, orders him to tell his parishioners they must cease standing and instead, kneel during the reading of the Eucharistic Prayer, the point in a Catholic Mass where the bread and wine are believed to be transformed into the body and blood of Jesus Christ...

At St. Boniface Church in Germantown, the pastor, Monsignor James A. Buerster, said his 600 parishioners have stood for years during the reading of the prayer, despite a 1969 decision by what is now known as the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops that American Roman Catholics must kneel. Their decision was supported by the pope and is considered church law.

"Since the bishop is making an issue of this, we'll probably have to start kneeling here," Buerster said.

"When you have the kind of bishop we have, he makes issues out of things that in and of themselves are not that important," he said. But if Braxton orders that his diocese's parishioners must kneel, Buerster said, "then we'll be kneeling..."

"This is liturgical nitpicking that winds up harming the solemnity of the liturgy," said Frank Flinn, an adjunct professor of religious studies at Washington University in St. Louis...

"I think Braxton is being almost a policeman to enforce what the American bishops voted on," [The Rev. Michael S. Driscoll, professor of theology at the University of Notre Dame near South Bend, Ind.] said.

At St. Joseph Church in Lebanon, where the membership is also under the pastorship of Margason, who heads the church in Shiloh, parishioner Jeff Greenstreet said churchgoers now kneel but some are not happy about be ordered to their knees.

"We live in one of the poorest diocese in the country with East St. Louis in our diocese, and he doesn't seem to be too much concerned with helping people they're in need and yet we worry about whether or not the parishes are standing or kneeling," said Greenstreet, a retired airline pilot.

"I don't think this is something that Christ would worry about, and I don't see we have any reason to need to worry about it ... but we have to comply, according to the bishop's mandate," he said. He added that after learning that Braxton wanted all to kneel, he knelt.

Flinn said the controversy is inflated in its importance.

Referring to Leonardo DaVinci's iconic painting "The Last Supper," Flinn said: "I think DaVinci got it right. We should all be sitting around a table sharing a meal."

4 comments:

Jean-Therese Delacroix said...

Wow. This is so sad. Indeed, our own priests flouting what seems to be liturgical law? That article just shows why I do support Bishop Braxton on my blog:

1.) Kneeling promotes humility before God in the Eucharist. And if you are humble before God, you will be humble before His Church. Which isn't what they're doing here.

2.) Kneeling before the Eucharist improves spiritual life because of this reverence for God and His Church. Indeed, if you show humility towards God and Church, you'll love to serve Him in any way possible.

And finally,

3.) Kneeling helps us to realize that this Mass isn't our Mass that we can control and make stuff up with. It's God's Mass, something that should make us more reverent. Unfortunately, having seen parishes where there are many "liturgical innovations", non-kneeling practices aren't going to help the situation.

God save Illinois from itself!

msc said...

I heartily agree! Attending the Mass is supposed to be different than any other experience.

When I look around it appears that some people think they are out playing golf or at a night club!

Anything that contributes to reference I am for. At our parish we kneel, unless able to do so and no one complains.

Cathy_of_Alex said...

Not that important? huh??? Sitting around a table sharing a meal?

Yes, Christ and his Apostles sat around the table because they were Jews sharing the Seder meal and that's what they do. However, we are Christians and we should kneel before the Consecrated Lord.

german said...

THESE COMMENTS FROM PRIESTS TELLS ME AND SHOWS, AT LEAST TO ME, WHAT THE STATE OF THEIR INTERIOR LIFE IS. MAYBE THEY DON'T PRAY THAT MUCH ANYMORE, THEY DON'T DO THEIR DAILY HOUR OF MEDITATION. OR THEY DON'T GENUFLECT BEFORE THE TABERNACLE ANYMORE. DO THEY EVEN PRAY THE ROSARY?
DO THEY STILL AGREE THAT THE MASS IS THE CENTER OF THE CHRISTIAN LIFE, THAT THE FAITHFUL ARE BROUGHT/TRANSPORTED TO A HOLY GROUND BY BEING IN THE PRESENCE OF GOD DURING CONSECRATION AND YOU CANNOT BUT JUST "KNEEL IN AWE" OF THAT PRESENCE.
SOMEBODY SAID' " HOW CAN YOU BE FAITHFUL IN BIG THINGS IF YOU CANNOT BE FAITHFUL IN LITTLE THINGS? SAME THING APPLIES TO OBEDIENCE, HOW CAN YOU BE OBEDIENT IN BIG THINGS IF YOU CANNOT BE OBEDIENT IN SMALL THINGS.
IF THE FAITHFUL ARE PREPARED INTERIORLY ON HOW TO APPROACH GOD IN THE EUCHARIST, THEN KNEELING DURING CONSECRATION AND RECEIVING IN THE TONGUE AT COMMUNIONN WOULD JUST BE SMALL MATTERS.