Skip to comments.BISHOPS CONSIDER CHANGES IN MASS
Posted on 11/12/2002 10:15:08 AM PST by NYer
WASHINGTON - A sweeping change in how Catholics kneel, sit and stand during Mass is about to take place after the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops votes Tuesday on a revised translation into English from Latin of the church's instructions for saying Mass. After five years of review, the "Lectionary for Mass," used by priests, deacons and lay ministers in the Latin Church to say Mass, is ready to be adopted. New missals carrying the new instructions will appear in pews in about a year.
"The person in the pew will see changes in about one year," said Bishop Howard J. Hubbard of Albany. "The changes are more relative to posture at Mass, standing, sitting and kneeling."
For some churches in the diocese, it may mean returning kneelers to the backs of pews or attaching them to the chairs that are used.
"We have to take a look at churches with no kneelers," said Hubbard. "Once we get it, we will have a committee study it and figure out how to implement it."
One such church is St. James in Chatham, where a decade ago, the interior was renovated from its 19th century Gothic and 1970s modernistic phase into a blend of early church architecture that included no kneelers on the backs of the circular benches.
"The question is if you're in the Papal facility, we do what we're told," said Rev. Gary Gelfenbien, pastor of St. James. "The only question we have, if most of the church stands, why do we kneel in the U.S.?"
While nobody seemed sure on how the practice of kneeling in America got started, in Italy, parishioners stand. Some Italian churches have no pews. People press around the altar in loose groupings.
The adopted document is a revision of a 1969 statement by the U.S. Bishops that kneeling best reflects an attitude of reverence during the Eucharistic prayer, the most sacred part of the Mass.
"The universal law is standing or kneeling," said Hubbard. "What is the best posture to express reverence? In the U.S., the bishops voted for kneeling. In Europe, it's standing. The thinking about standing is that the whole congregation is united with the priest in the standing posture. And, the cathedrals were built without pews. In the U.S., kneeling, the passive posture, is considered more reverential.
"I personally feel that it should be either or, but that's not the will of the majority," he added. "They've said it should be kneeling."
Gathered for four days to vote on a host of documents that includes the revised norms for dealing with clergy sexual abuse of minors, the nearly 200 Catholic bishops from all of the dioceses across the country are looking at protection for abused women, Mexican migrants and Hispanic ministry and a recommitment by the Catholic Church to caring for the nation's hungry and poor.
Moving with customary glacial speed, the revised missal has been undergoing redacting for five years.
The changes are the first major revisions since 1975 to the English translation of the Latin Mass used in the U.S.
Other documents to be voted upon on today seem to be focused on the Hispanic minority in the American Church.
"When I Call For Help," a pamphlet first introduced about a decade ago to be placed in the back of churches, also is undergoing changes. "Priests talked about it, and it gave women permission to talk about it," said Hubbard. The pamphlet is being updated.
Other Hispanic-related documents include "Strangers No Longer: Together on the Journey of Hope, A Pastoral Letter Concerning Migration for from the Catholic Bishops of Mexico and the U.S." and "Encuentro and Mission: A Renewed Pastoral Framework for Hispanic Ministry."
"Ethnic culture, we have a commitment to the poor and alienated," said Hubbard. "We forget earlier generations' immigrants, and we moved on."
"Those who are one or two generations removed forget what it was like for their ancestors," said Hubbard.
While Hispanic women seem to view the church as a champion of the rights of women in protecting them from machismo, Anglo women fault the church for doing more to support their gifts and expand the roles they play in parish life.
However, one document the bishops will vote upon concerns all Catholic women across ethnic lines. It is "A Matter of the Heart," from the Pro-Life Committee. The document was proposed at this time in recognition of the upcoming 30th anniversary of Roe v. Wade on Jan. 22.
In essence, the document reiterates the church's stand. "If a woman is pregnant and in need of help, the church and its ministries will help her, with compassion and without condemnation." The statement also calls for Roe v. Wade to be reversed.
Truly an interesting twist from this bishop. Perhaps the RCF investigation is holding him to the move conservative views.
Truly an interesting twist from this bishop. Perhaps the RCF investigation is holding him to the move conservative views.I think you need some fine translation services. Let me help. When he says:
"We have to take a look at churches with no kneelers," said Hubbard. "Once we get it, we will have a committee study it and figure out how to implement it."He is referring to death by committee. Literally translated from liberal Bishopese to English, it reads:
I was right the first time when I allowed my Churches to be renovated without kneelers, and everybody should take a look at churches with no kneelers to see how well it works here and in Europe, said Hubbard. Once we get this throwback document, my dissidents and I will have a committee distort it and figure out how to ignore it most effectively.Unspoken here, but implied, is the hope that Rome doesnt call again, as it has been forced to with him before.
The Eastern Orthodox have been standing, exclusively to my knowledge, for hundreds upon hundreds of years.
Why, excepting cases of infirmity, would this ever even be an issue?
LOL!! By golly, I do believe you are right. Here are some before/after pix of churches in Hubbard's diocese, where Fr. "Dick" Vosko, honed his skills into an artform.
Assumption/St. Paul Church, Mechanicville, New York
Saint Joseph's Church Scotia, New York
The interior of the existing building was renovated to reorient the seating to provide more of a "community" atmosphere. The existing character of the space was maintained and replicated in the added areas. A new gable was added above the altar platform to help emphasize the liturgical action.
Our Lady of Fatima Church Schenectady, New York
The interior of the worship space was completely redone in the American Prairie style, with new cherry woodwork, porcelain tile floor, new lighting, sound system and custom-designed furnishings. New spaces included a Reservation Chapel, Work Sacristy, Vesting Sacristy and Reconciliation Room, Nursery, Bride's Room and Choir Storage Room. All areas of the building were made accessible to the disabled.
Here is a current listing of cathedrals and/or churches that are being "voskovized". VOSKO PROJECTS
This committee stuff is just disgusting. I (sort of) followed the past few days USCCB meeting and I am fairly disgusted at 1. the fact that it is televised; and 2., all the damn paperwork I see shuffled around.
I think I've heard the term "ad hoc committee" about 50 times from the bishops. I can't take much more! I want to go in there and yell "JUST GO HOME AND DO YOUR DAMNED JOB!"
uh... thanks for listening, I feel better!
Seriously though, why do they televise these things?
LOL. I can see where a new Roman Missal or an ex corde ecclesia might require some study.
But "let's kneel here and then, after the Amen, we stand up" hardly requires much study, does it? A three-year-old can get the concept.
I can safely be described as a cynic when it comes to certain prelates, Hubbard being one, and a hopeless optimist when it comes to other things. I guess I don't really know how full the glass is, but I do find it to be a very interesting glass.
So that they can show the protestors outside as well.
Yes, but he gets the concept, which is what I said. He may not want to obey but he gets the concept.
More apropos than when I first mentioned it, isn't it?
Truly an interesting "twist" from this bishop. Perhaps the RCF investigation is holding to the more conservative views.
Or,more likely (not to be cymical or anything)his latest "fancy" has now opened a factory,manufacturing church kneelers.
Someone is taping them for me this week because I have no access but I have been watching since EWTN has been carrying them.I have never said how much I learned from them for fear the bishops would stop permitting it.Now I think the tide has turned and they would have hell to pay if they tried to stop the telecasts.
Either that or a good lawyer! Now how does it go? Can good lawyers be moral? Or, er, a moral lawyer is a contradiction of terms... I'll ask St. Thomas More!
I've been hearing that Churches in Western Europe are pretty much empty one way or the other...
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