TO: THE PARISH PRIESTS, PAROCHIAL VICARS, RELIGIOUS,
DEACONS AND LITURGICAL MINISTERS
RE: THE UNIVERSAL LAW ON THE POSTURE OF KNEELING AT MASS
DATE: 16 APRIL 2018
The Love and Peace of the Risen Lord!
The gestures and bodily posture of both the Priest, the Deacon, and the ministers, and also of the people, must be conducive to making the entire celebration resplendent with beauty and noble simplicity, to making clear the true and full meaning of its different parts, and to fostering the participation of all (GIRM, 42).
It is my desire that the Diocese of Cubao adhere to the norms and guidelines of the Church, more importantly to the aim of the Church of fostering unity in worship, in the celebration of the Liturgy. It is therefore imperative that the authority of the bishop manifest the same objective. To remain as a welcoming Church and to act as one body of Christ, avoiding confusion, may I remind all to follow the norms as prescribed by the Constitution on Sacred Liturgy, by the General Instruction and by the Code of Canon Law.
Kneeling is almost a universal gesture of reverence, homage, honor and worship. Scripture presents to us how ancient the gesture is as a sign of respect, obedience, submission, prayer and supplication. Psalm 95 has it as an invitation to reverence the Lord. “Come, let us worship and bow down, Let us kneel before the LORD our Maker.” Thus, the gesture must be observed properly in the Liturgy as the nature of its particular parts demand, and as fitting in the celebration of worship. All gestures therefore must conform to what the Church pronounces.
Please be guided by the provisions of the Church:
The General Instruction on the Roman Missal:
1. The Universal Law - The General Instruction on the Roman Missal #43 establishes the practice of kneeling for the Consecration as the universal norm of the Roman Rite. This is understood to mean from the Epiclesis to the Mysterium Fidei.
2. American Particular Law - The Bishops of the United States adapted the universal norm with Roman approval, retaining the custom of kneeling from after the Sanctus to the Doxology. The U.S. version of the General Instruction no. 43 hence reads:
“In the dioceses of the United States of America, they should kneel beginning after the singing or recitation of the Sanctus until after the Amen of the Eucharistic Prayer, except when prevented on occasion by reasons of health, lack of space, the large number of people present, or some other good reason. Those who do not kneel ought to make a profound bow when the priest genuflects after the consecration.”
Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, Second Vatican Council:
22. 1. Regulation of the sacred liturgy depends solely on the authority of the Church, that is, on the Apostolic See and, as laws may determine, on the bishop.
22. 2. In virtue of power conceded by the law, the regulation of the liturgy within certain defined limits belongs also to various kinds of competent territorial bodies of bishops legitimately established.
22. 3. Therefore no other person, even if he be a priest, may add, remove, or change anything in the liturgy on his own authority.
1983 Code of Canon Law:
§1. Universal or particular customs presently in force which are contrary to the prescripts of these canons and are reprobated by the canons of this Code are absolutely suppressed and are not permitted to revive in the future. Other contrary customs are also considered suppressed unless the Code expressly provides otherwise or unless they are centenary or immemorial customs which can be tolerated if, in the judgment of the ordinary, they cannot be removed due to the circumstances of places and persons.
§2. Universal or particular customs beyond the law (praeter ius) which are in force until now are preserved.
Can. 23 A custom introduced by a community of the faithful has the force of law only if it has been approved by the legislator, in accordance with the following canons.
§1. No custom which is contrary to divine law can acquire the force of law.
§2. A custom which is contrary to or apart from canon law, cannot acquire the force of law unless it is reasonable; a custom which is expressly reprobated in the law is not reasonable.
Can. 25 No custom acquires the force of law unless it has been observed, with the intention of introducing a law, by a community capable at least of receiving a law.
§1. Liturgical actions are not private actions but celebrations of the Church itself, which is "the sacrament of unity," namely, a holy people assembled and ordered under the bishops; therefore liturgical actions pertain to the whole body of the Church and manifest and affect it, but they affect the individual members of the Church in different ways according to the diversity of orders, functions and actual participation.
§2. Liturgical actions, to the extent that by their proper nature they involve a common celebration, are to be celebrated where possible with the presence and active participation of the Christian faithful.
§1. The supervision of the sacred liturgy depends solely on the authority of the Church which resides in the Apostolic See and, in accord with the law, the diocesan bishop.
§2. It is for the Apostolic See to order the sacred liturgy of the entire Church (universa ecclesia), to publish the liturgical books, to review their translations into the vernacular languages and to see that liturgical ordinances are faithfully observed everywhere.
§3. It pertains to the conferences of bishops to prepare translations of the liturgical books into the vernacular languages, with the appropriate adaptations within the limits defined in the liturgical books themselves, and to publish them with the prior review by the Holy See.
§4. It pertains to the diocesan bishop in the church entrusted to him, within the limits of his competence, to issue liturgical norms by which all are bound.
The General Instruction, the Constitution on Sacred Liturgy and the Code of Canon guide us to adhere to the call for a unified posture of the faithful. For the common posture of the people, in part, manifests the outward sign of being the Mystical Body of Christ. Moreover, this unity among the members of the Body of Christ is also manifested by the unity of rite with the Local Ordinary. In the Diocese of Cubao, we hereby exhort all to follow the Universal Norm of kneeling after the Sanctus, during the Consecration, and stand after the Consecration, with the Mysterium Fidei. With this, we pray for a clear manifestation of our being Catholic, especially in the Diocese of Cubao.
Please ensure that catechesis on this directive be done among the faithful within your Parish.
Thank you for your kind attention and consideration. The Lord bless, guide and keep you!
Very sincerely yours in the good Lord,
+HONESTO F. ONGTIOCO, D.D.
Bishop of Cubao