Liturgical rubrics

In Paul Turner's Blog by Paul Turner

Q:  I continue to read your blog with great interest and gratitude.

In a beautiful Abbey where I celebrate Mass occasionally the sisters and their visitors/retreatants gather after the Liturgy of the Word in front of the choir stalls and form a circle which encompasses the altar/sanctuary area. One sister has expressed concern that this may be breaking liturgical rubrics; I hope not, as the community’s custom is unifying and inclusive. I have been encouraged to clarify this matter with you. (I suspect the community’s custom and practice of receiving Holy Communion together with the priest after he and a sister have distributed communion is a departure from liturgical rules).


A:  I presume you mean that the faithful are standing for the entire Liturgy of the Eucharist. The rules for posture at mass in Australia can be found in a note under paragraph 43 of the General Instruction of the Roman Missal:

” In the dioceses of Australia, [the faithful] should kneel from the completion of the Sanctus (Holy, Holy, Holy) until after the Amen of the Eucharistic Prayer, except when prevented on occasion by ill health, or for reasons of lack of space, of the large number of people present, or for another reasonable cause. However, those who do not kneel ought to make a profound bow when the Priest genuflects after the Consecration.”

So I guess it depends on how you interpret “on occasion” and “for another reasonable cause.”