Skip to comments.A (renewed, modest, mobile) Prie-Dieu Proposal
Posted on 01/02/2004 11:34:24 AM PST by Polycarp IV
by Brian J. Kopp, DPM
Vice President, Catholic Family Association of America (www.cathfam.org)
A year ago now, Al Matt Jr., editor of The Wanderer, made a modest proposal to ease the crisis for those desiring to kneel to receive communion:
"Now that the Vatican has made it crystal clear that kneeling to receive Holy Communion remains an inviolable right of Catholics, despite the adoption (with Romes approval) that standing will be the norm for the Church in the U.S., parishes must seriously consider how to accommodate those who wish to kneel...
"...There is a very simple solution to the problem. In the case of a church having no Communion rail, a simple priedieu or kneeler should be placed at the front of a Communion station. A line of those wishing to kneel would form behind the prie-dieu to await their turn... After Mass, the prie-dieu would be returned to its normal location. Problem solved. Seriously, no one except an unregenerate liturgical nazi can object to this simple and most pastoral solution to what otherwise could become an ugly and divisive situation."
This was an excellent proposal that failed to spark the support and widespread distribution it rightfully deserved.
Here then, is a (renewed, modest and mobile) Prie-Dieu Proposal.
Recall that many of the worst liturgical innovations of our day began life as illicit and disobedient local practices that became so widespread as to make it easier for the hierarchy to adopt them as licit than try to suppress them. The prudence of this Vatican approach can be debated elsewhere, but the efficiency with which the liberal liturgical innovators accomplished their goals cannot be debated.
Let us reverse this trend in this one instance.
While the disobedient liturgical innovators were scandalously undermining tradition and Euchariustic theology, we have tradition, Eucharistic theology, and the Vatican on our side (see Wanderer articles below.)
And while Al Matt Jr.'s proposal was right on target, it didn't go far enough. Obviously, after years of active suppression of kneeling, most bishops and priests are unlikely to provide the communion rails and prie-dieus neccessary to fulfill Mr. Matt's original Prie-Dieu Proposal.
Therefore, its time we bring our own.
Unlikely as it sounds, there are already numerous inexpensive products on the mass market that would fulfull the needs of a lightweight, sturdy, yet fully portable prie-dieu. Some of those among our older population who yearn to kneel once again are already accustomed to assisted mobility devices, and the rest of us have seen them. Many of us even have folding portable garden kneelers in our sheds.
Here are links with pictures of several products that would already serve well (folding gardening kneelers) or could be inexpensively re-engineered or adapted from existing products (such as assisted mobility devices and folding cane seats):
If we can spend millions designing and purchasing kneelers for our gardens and walkers and canes with seats for our infirmities, might we not spend a fraction of that developing and marketing a product with which we can cultivate our souls for our eternal destiny? If we grasp the neccessity to our prayer life of the portable material object called the Rosary, is it so much to ask that until kneeling is restored we bring our own prie-dieu? Yes, one may kneel without a prie-dieu. Likewise, one may pray the Rosary without the physical Rosary itself. But both give tangible witness to and reinforce our Faith.
Given the entreprenurial spirit and keen insight of many orthodox lay Catholics, I'm certain one of them will look at the suggestions above and design a new, purpose-built, lightweight, sturdy, portable and inexpensive prie-dieu. This would help fulfill the needs of what should become a growing movement to restore the respect, reverence, and posture due Our Lord, at whose name once again "every knee shall bow, in Heaven, on earth, and under the earth, and every tongue confess, that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the Glory of God the Father." (Philippians 2: 10-11)
See the December 12, 2002 article in The Wanderer, The Prie-Dieu Proposal.
Brian J. Kopp, DPM, is vice president of the Catholic Family Association of America, officer of the board of the Polycarp Research Institute, a member of the Catholic Media Coalition, and freelance Catholic writer.
The Prie-Dieu Proposal
Now that the Vatican has made it crystal clear that kneeling to receive Holy Communion remains an inviolable right of Catholics, despite the adoption (with Romes approval) that standing will be the norm for the Church in the U.S., parishes must seriously consider how to accommodate those who wish to kneel.
No doubt that those who kneel in a line of standing communicants can be disruptive, as well as very difficult for those of us who are physically challenged. But, as the letter from Jorge Cardinal Medina Estevez clearly stipulates, kneeling for Communion is a right that cannot be tampered with.
Our liturgical innovators created this situation (perhaps deliberately) by the wholesale removal of Communion rails in thousands of churches. Now they are obliged to find a remedy to protect the rights of kneeling Catholics.
There is a very simple solution to the problem. For those churches who still have Communion rails, a section of the rail should be designated for communicants who wish to kneel to receive. A separate line for kneeling communicants would form behind this section. In the case of a church having no Communion rail, a simple priedieu (French pray God) or kneeler should be placed at the front of a Communion station. A line of those wishing to kneel would form behind the prie-dieu to await their turn. In either case, if there is but one priest to distribute Holy Communion, the kneeling communicants would simply wait for the priest to finish with the standing communicants. After Mass, the prie-dieu would be returned to its normal location.
Seriously, no one except an unregenerate liturgical nazi can object to this simple and most pastoral solution to what otherwise could become an ugly and divisive situation.
We would urge our readers to distribute this modest proposal to as many bishops, priests, parishes, and parishioners as they are able.
A. J. Matt Jr. Editor, The Wanderer
Holy See Warns Priests Not To Deny Host To Those Who Kneel
The Wanderer December 12, 2002
By FARLEY CLINTON
VATICAN CITY The Sacred Congregation for Divine Worship has published an official directive warning priests guilty of refusing Holy Communion to those people who kneel to receive the Host that such refusal is a grave violation of one of the most basic rights of the Christian faithful, and that in situations where it continues the Sacred Congregation intends to seek disciplinary action.
In the November-December 2002 issue of Notitiae, the official publication of the Sacred Congregation, Jorge Cardinal Medina Estevez printed the following letter sent to a certain bishop in an English- speaking country:
+ + + Your Excellency:
The Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments has recently received reports of members of the faithful in your Diocese being refused Holy Communion unless while standing to receive, as opposed to kneeling. The reports state that such a policy has been announced to parishioners.
. . . These complaints in any event provide an occasion for the Congregation to communicate the manner in which it habitually addresses this matter, with a request that you make this position known to any priests who may be in need of being thus informed.
The Congregation in fact is concerned at the number of similar complaints and considers any refusal of Holy Communion to a member of the faithful on the basis of his or her kneeling posture to be a grave violation of one of the most basic rights of the Christian faithful.
. . .There should be no such refusal. . . except in cases . . . of the persons unrepented public sin or obstinate heresy or schism. . . .
Where the Congregation has approved of legislation denoting standing as the posture for Holy Communion . . . it has done so with the stipulation that communicants who . . . kneel are not to be denied Holy Communion.
In fact as His Eminence Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger has recently emphasized kneeling for Holy Communion has in its favor a centuries-old tradition. . . completely appropriate in the light of the true, real and substantial presence of Our Lord Jesus Christ under the consecrated species.
. . . The Congregation would request that Your Excellency inquire specifically whether this priest has a regular practice of refusing Holy Communion in the circumstances described . . .and firmly instruct him . . . to refrain from acting thus. . .
The Congregation will regard future complaints of this nature with great seriousness. . . . [and] intends to seek disciplinary action consonant with the gravity of the pastoral abuse.
Thanking Your Excellency for your attention to this matter and relying on your kind collaboration in its regard,
Sincerely yours in Christ,
Jorge A. Card. Medina Estevez Prefect Francesco Pio Tamburrino Secretary + + +
Officials of the Holy See noted that the double signature on this letter, by the prefect and the secretary, indicates that an official policy is being communicated in a more solemn way.
Observers noted the recurrence in a new form of direct or indirect attacks on belief in the Real Presence and the dogma of transubstantiation which were observed in the United States during the later sessions of Vatican II. These attacks caused Pope Paul VI to defy the outbreak of heresy with his encyclical Mysterium Fidei, which he published in September 1967, and with an extended version of the Creed which he published in June 1968.
The quotation of Cardinal Ratzingers late observations on the link between kneeling and belief in the Real Presence calls attention to a point of faith which if pressed could cause a definitive break between a larger or smaller part of the American Church and the Catholic Church.
I'm back for a spell, as long as Divine Providence would have me be here or till my next rebellion against internet authority figures, whichever comes first.
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Happy New year,
Dr. Brian Kopp (Polycarp)
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