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Every knee… Most knees… A few knees shall bow

Everybody’s talking about the Pope and the Corpus Domini Mass and procession in Rome this weekend.

We’ve all seen the pics of this pope standing in front of the monstrance on the altar set up in front of St. John Lateran this Sunday, the ornate red-cushioned, conspicuously un-used priedieu sitting in front of him like a rebuke.

I must say, this priedieu so consistently appears at papal events in Rome – and is equally consistently never used – that I am beginning to wonder if there is someone at St. Peter’s who is doing it deliberately to send a signal to the rest of us. Like a desperate “help me” message from inside the Vatican gulag.

At least this year he spared his subordinates the embarrassment of just not doing it and not telling them ahead of time.

In 2014, this is what the Romans were presented with.

Because this is what they were used to.

An empty papal throne is pictured as Archbishop Rino Fisichella (R) reads a message from Pope Francis before a RAI National Symphony Orchestra concert, directed by conductor Juraj Valcuha of Slovakia, in Paul VI hall at the Vatican June 22, 2013. REUTERS/Giampiero Sposito (VATICAN – Tags: RELIGION SOCIETY) – RTX10X3M

But the No-Show pope is not a new experience for his perpetually humiliated co-accompaniers, as we know. (And for some reason, this boorish arrogance – this disdain for the efforts and offerings of the musicians to honour the new pope – was taken as a sign of “humility” by the press and the fangirls… Seriously.)


Today the good Fr. Harrison makes the suggestion (via email) that perhaps this pope didn’t kneel this Sunday in front of the Blessed Sacrament because he’s signalling to the Luthies that he wants us all to be pals. (Not like we were pals before the Prot-revolt, you understand… but in a new, much nicer way…)


. . . every knee shall bow”. Every knee, it seems, except that of the Successor of Peter himself.

The photos from yesterday’s Corpus Christi procession in Rome speak for themselves. So do the photos of Francis kneeling without difficulty on other occasions.

There appears to be a ‘dog-whistle’ message being sent out with body language here – perhaps an ‘ecumenical’ message to Lutherans in their 500th anniversary year. Adoration of the consecrated Host outside of Mass and Eucharistic processions were roundly condemned and abolished by Luther and his followers – an attitude which itself was soon condemned as heresy by the Council of Trent:

Pope Francis no doubt realizes he couldn’t simply abolish Eucharistic processions from Catholic worship (or at least, not yet); but it seems he wants to signal to our now-not-so-separated brethren that he is cool towards such practices, and is trying to move our Church a little more in a Lutheran direction in that regard.

That would also explain why, unlike all his predecessors, Francis did not even take part in yesterday’s Corpus Christi procession! He let other Prelates carry the monstrance with the Host in the procession through the Roman streets, and apparently drove round privately to St. Mary Major’s Basilica for the final adoration and Benediction.

But, unfortunately, when our Eucharistic Lord Jesus is pointedly greeted with a “standing ovation” by his own Vicar on Earth, it’s closer to an insult than an honor.


Father includes a link to his piece at One Vader Five giving the reasons in theology why Lutheran intercommunion isn’t possible. Some useful stuff in there.

But I’m afraid our Fr. Harrison may be overthinking it. If our pope were conspicuously standing instead of kneeling before his God and maker this year in order to somehow signal the Lutherans on the 500th anniversary of their baleful schism and sundering of Christendom, what was his excuse every other time? What was the reason he *never* kneels or genuflects – as the rubrics of the Novus Ordo Mass require him to do – at the consecration?

(And we all know by now that the excuse of having gammy knees isn’t going to fly, right? I don’t have to do a big long tedious thing on it, right? OK.)

I don’t necessarily disagree that his colossally arrogant signals are also directed at the Lutherans. But judging from the rest of his behaviour (…his eagerness to re-write scripture and correct Our Lord and Saviour, the Second Person of the Holy Trinity on His retrograde and unmerciful opinions about marriage, for instance…) gives us a clear message that the signal is pointed upward more than outward.

I think tortured explanations about ecumenical motives aren’t really necessary, though it does seem clear that Modernists and Lutherans hate the Holy Eucharist and love themselves for many of the same reasons. But really sometimes the most obvious answer is the answer.

No, I think we may be failing to take into account the bigger post-conciliar picture here.

Speaking of which…

What also isn’t getting much play in Mainstreamia is the fact that the crowd – at least the crowd at the Lateran at the start of the event – was absurdly tiny. It is one of the favourite lies of the modernists that they shift a feast from its original day – say, the Feast of Corpus Domini – to the nearest Sunday so that more people will be able to come on a weekend than a work day. There’s so much wrong with this that it would take a book to write about, but you can read the gist of the response here. And here. But suffice to say for this moment that it clearly didn’t “work” if the stated intention was the actual intention. (If, on the other hand, the stated intention was bullshit and the actual intention was to undermine the sense of the faithful, de-sacralize the week and create confusion over the liturgical calendar, then mission accomplished!)

I must say I think I owe Socci an apology. We had a bit of a tiff on Twitter some time ago when I said that judging his popularity from crowd size wasn’t a very useful standard, since so many other factors – so many variables in the equasion – were also necessarily present. But I think he’s more and more got a handle on something.

But I think more to the point, the reason Francis never kneels in front of the Sacrament of the Altar is that he thinks he is giving an example to be followed. It’s a New Church, for a New Catholic Man. The kind who doesn’t kneel down in adoration or supplication in front of God, but treats the Divine Author of Everything like an equal.

Let’s not forget that all novusordoists have been taught from the first day of their new religion that they’re terribly terribly important and all grown-up now, and that all that kneeling stuff was what people did before The Council came to give them full adulthood in the Faith. Truly adult Christians understand their adultyness and are faaarr too adult – thanks to The Council – for all that childish kneeling down stuff. Penitence?! Maybe OK for your Nonna, but the rest of us have moved on. We’re an Adult Easter People now. And Adult Easter People stand up because, well, we’re like, sort of divinized now, right? We’re kind of like gods ourselves

Taken in the context of modern novusordoist liturgical practices, particularly in Italy, the pope’s refusal to kneel before his Lord and Maker, becomes a lot less puzzling.

We all know the Churchwreckers have pointedly taken the kneelers out of the churches, and they have not been shy about telling us why. These days, having failed to stop the nefarious practice of kneeling entirely, they’re taking the pews out too, and giving us nice individual chairs, so we can all emphasise our tremendous personal importance.

If you go to Mass for any length of time in Italy one of the things you quickly notice is an extreme aversion to kneeling. You will find in no parish anywhere, even in the “trad” parishes, do all the people kneel down at the consecration or afterwards. In some cases the entire congregation eschews kneeling throughout the Mass, standing at those times when in other countries it is considered normal in Latin parishes to kneel down. In all cases, even those where kneeling is retained, there will ALWAys be a significant portion of the congregation who remain standing.

At every Mass you go to in Italy, there will always be that guy who, often after having come in a few minutes late so he has the largest possible audience, marches straight down the centre aisle, positions himself in a front pew, and remains decisively on his feet for the entire Mass, very clearly giving the rest of us poor schlebs a useful lesson in who is the more importantly enlightened adult present.

[The urge to yell “down in front!” has become so overwhelming with me, that it has motivated an entire elaborate plan to buy a vehicle so I can go to the real Mass up in Perugia – where people kneel most devoutly – so I am no longer placed in the way of this grave temptation against charity towards my neighbours… not to mention bad manners.]

Even in cases where the Eucharist is distributed to the faithful at an altar rail, these people will remain standing, though they show no sign at all of infirmity. This was especially noticeable at the parish I attended in Toronto, one that had once been a hippie-boomer stronghold but had sadly been taken over by a community of deeply retrograde and un-adult priests who – horrors! – had actually put a new altar rail in… after the greying revolutionaries had gone to such a lot of trouble to have it removed in the 70s! Da noive! These other poor, pathetic un-adult people could kneel and receive on the tongue, but they weren’t going to abandon their principles, no sir!

I once asked a friend who is a well known liturgical expert about it, someone who has lived in Italy a long time, and he explained that since Vatican II the modernists in Italy beat all traces of penitential piety out of the people. They were browbeaten, harangued and lectured if they dared to retain any sign of preconciliar devotion. So of course, now it’s gone.

Because, obedience…

“Father said…”



28 thoughts on “Every knee… Most knees… A few knees shall bow”

  1. Hilary White says:

    I’m afraid I find this rather suspect. The phenomenon is ubiquitous, up and down the boot and in ever last little corner. It seems unlikely that all these people grew up in Milan and experienced a rite that has not been in use for 50+ years.

  2. GV says:

    I don’t particularly like Francis, but the reason some Italians stand during the consecration is that they belong to, or have been influenced by, the Ambrosian rite. Being an Orthodox influenced rite the congregation stands through not only the consecration, but the whole liturgy. Reverence is shown by bowing. Standing is not a lack of respect.

    In the Orthodox Churches and the Eastern Catholic Churches standing is the norm during the Eucharistic Prayer. At the Consecration is added the customary sign of adoration in these Churches, a profound bow.

  3. Frank says:

    I am Blessed that I have the Tredentine Mass in Toronto.
    This Is definitely not an issue there. There is ultimate respect for the Holy Eucharist. Communion is also received on the toungue at the railing given only by a priest. Thank God thst after many years of searching I found this beautiful Mass in my backyard.
    Deo Gracias

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  6. Capsilog says:

    There are the cliches that a good leader should lead by example and a good leader is a good follower. Well, do we have good leader in the Church? From his example, he ain’t cut it. From what he has continually shown, is it any wonder why there are a lot of Catholics jumping ship (like rats bailing a sinking ship, unfortunately I must make a metaphor of, but it does look like it) in Italy, unsurprisingly.
    There is a growing group/s of born-again Christians inviting mostly “former” Catholics (I hope they come back to the fold soon, really soon) which is so alarming. The causes: they see a lot of the people not doing the rubrics set by the Church on laity participation in the Mass (joining hands in the Pater Nostre or doing the Orans for example) and the lack of continuing catechesis on the laity. A lot of Catholics have gone astray, not knowing why they go to Church or why they do what “most Catholics do”. Really sad to see people goingthrough the motions every week if not, on certain holidays of obligation if they do observe them.
    The battle for our souls is still going on and we are gaining a lot of casualties in the frontlines as well as in the reserve (abortion, false or lack of catechesis, gay seminarians). May the Holy Spirit send down the fires of His love on us especially those who continuously fight for our eternal salvation.

  7. Cynthia says:


    I am sorry if I offended you with my post. It was not directed at you personally, but to any and all who may find themselves without a Mass to go to and who worries that they may fall into mortal sin by not going to Sunday Mass.

  8. Hilary White says:


    thanks for the advice. I’ll handle my interior life from here on.

  9. Cynthia says:

    In an ideal, truly Catholic world, we would all be able to assist at a true Mass daily. As we live in a Neo-Pagan world, this is impossible. According to the precepts of the Church, we are obliged to hear Mass on Sundays,Holy days of obligation and receive Holy Communion at Easter time. That is IF there is a Mass. In many places throughout the world, and during the times of the early Church, Mass is/was not readily available. You are under pain of mortal sin if you deliberately miss Mass. If you do not have a (valid) Mass, you are dispensed from this obligation, but must still keep the day holy, making at the minimal a holy hour of sacred reading and prayer. Some Novus Ordo Masses may be valid, but there is that danger that they may not be. It may be better to err and not attend the NO than to risk the loss of one’s faith.

  10. Hilary White says:

    I think he prefers it on the shoe…

  11. Michael Dowd says:

    Would it then follow that knelling to kiss the Pope’s ring is inappropriate? Probably not. Pope Francis is Nu-Christ for Nu-Church in our Nu-Age.

  12. Brian G says:

    Several years ago our bishop, now at another diocese out east, told us not to genuflect before reception of the Eucharist but instead to bow. There was no explanation as to what bowing meant to the western mind other than we should all receive in a like manner..

    In my simple mind, I may wrong of course, but lowering myself to one knee made me a subject of the one receiving me as in Christ in the Eucharist. Sure it was an inconvenience to the bishop making the reception of the Eucharist take a few minutes longer.

    Somehow in this simple peasant’s mind it was unnerving to stand there and get a “cracker”. Of course reception on ones knees was “allowed” but frowned upon.

    Simple little measures taken to remove the “awe” from the mass…

  13. DJR says:

    Rod Halvorsen says: “It may be exceedingly simple. It may be simply because the Pope doesn’t want to be an idolater that he refuses to kneel. As a convert from Protestantism I think I might be able to shed some light on the situation. Let me explain. If a person doesn’t believe in the Real Presence, nothing could be more repulsive than to kneel before a piece of bread. In fact, nothing IS more repulsive…and evil…than showing some sort of adoration to what one believes is mere bread. “

    What would be the explanation as to why the pope incenses the Sacred Host? He clearly does so in several of the videos.

    I would think that incensing a piece of bread would be just as scandalous to a Protestant mind as kneeling.

  14. Evangeline says:

    I have absolutely no doubt whatsoever, that if he didn’t want that prie dieu there, it would have never been dusted off and brought out. Surely by the second time, it would not make an appearance. The only reason to keep hauling it out only to be pointedly ignored is to send a message. He knows it galls those who love the Lord (score!) and if it puts him in league with the Prottties, he’s good with that. The fact it diminishes the worship of God by setting an example of disrespect is bonus.
    This man is not only a destroyer, he’s a destroyer that enjoys rubbing his opponents nose in his ability to do these things unimpeded. He’s tremendously cruel, in my opinion.

  15. Lisa says:

    Well said, and your frustration is palpable. I realized it was time to find a TLM when simply going to a NO Mass caused me to fall from the state of grace. I did consider it a true and severe penance and offered it up as such. You probably do, too.

    I support your decision to buy a vehicle and will do what I can to help make that happen sooner rather than later, prayer-wise and otherwise.

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  18. Rod Halvorsen says:


    It may be exceedingly simple. It may be simply because the Pope doesn’t want to be an idolater that he refuses to kneel. As a convert from Protestantism I think I might be able to shed some light on the situation.

    Let me explain.

    If a person doesn’t believe in the Real Presence, nothing could be more repulsive than to kneel before a piece of bread. In fact, nothing IS more repulsive…and evil…than showing some sort of adoration to what one believes is mere bread. Thus, Protestants who profess to be Christians simply cannot fathom the depths of what they see as depravity of Catholics who bow or kneel before bread, because something such as that is pure idolatry to the Protestant.

    A believing Catholic on the other hand, can agree and can’t conceive of such a grievous evil either, if the thing before him was indeed just bread. But…alas, according to the words of Our Blessed Savior Himself, Jesus the Christ, the God Man, that “thing” isn’t mere bread, it is Jesus Himself in Eucharistic form.

    And thus, Catholics kneel before the consecrated host and Protestants don’t. Simple as that. Catholics because we see in that host the eternal promise given us by God Himself and Protestants denying same in order to avoid being, in their own eyes, idolators.

    As for changing dates and times in order to accomadate the schdules, you nailed it. At my parish {FSSP} we had our Corpus Christi Mass on Thursday and the church was jammed. In spite of the rain, we had our Procession anyhow. And it was great. I was sick that day but drove the 1 1/2 hours or so to be there, and others did similarly. It was a beautiful experience. Especially the rain. We sang with the scola leading and tho the music got wet and so did we, the expeirence was a powerful one, and to be able to give witness to Our Lord and Savior a true blessing.

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  21. Andrew Dunn says:

    Hilary, I am sending you a donation right now. Please use it towards the vehicle you mentioned, a ZipCar membership, or a rental car on Sundays for your Mass situation. Continued exposure to the N.O. will not be good for your spiritual or mental health. A couple years ago, I was going to a daily N.O. at my parish church and the TLM at another church for Sunday Mass. Here in Philly, there aren’t any parishes offering a daily TLM. The parish church where I went for the daily Mass wasn’t awful but the whole lukewarmness and the absence of the feeling of a sacrifice took its toll on me. I found myself falling into a lot of habitual sins and became rather lazy in my faith. Thankfully I woke up and knew the daily N.O. had to go! The final straw came when the parish priest put a banner of that evil, freemasonic “year of mercy” icon that equates man and Christ on the altar. As much as I’d love to attend a daily Mass, I can’t do it unless it’s the TLM or the Divine Liturgy. Thanks for all that you do here and for your columns at The Remnant and OnePeterFive – you are one of the few writers I follow. God Bless.

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  24. Richard Malcolm says:

    “These days, having failed to stop the nefarious practice of kneeling entirely, they’re taking the pews out too, and giving us nice individual chairs, so we can all emphasise our tremendous personal importance.”

    I actually am quite happy to see the elimination of pews, since (as Fr Rutler, most recently, has pointed out), they’re of Protestant provenance, and a quite recent importation into the Church. Even now, of course, it’s quite common in older European churches (as you know) to be utterly without pews.

    But the problem here is what’s motivating THIS removal of pews. But no matter what they do or say, nothing is going to keep me from kneeling during Mass or adoration, not even if I have to do it on the cold, hard floor. Which come to think of it is quite penitential.

  25. Hilary White says:

    Totally; we’re a Both/And Easter People

  26. Hilary White says:


    Mostly out of necessity. I don’t have a car and live in a rural village, which is where I need to be for the garden and the kitties, and so I can afford the rent. But though there are four village churches within easy biking distance, they only offer Mass in the new rite and only once a week. There is an old rite Mass in Perugia, which sometimes is offered on Saturday afternoons, and which I go to on the bus when I can. But if it is on Sunday it is impossible. There are no buses leaving the village on Sundays at all, and though there is a train, they cease running before I could get home again in the evening, since the Mass is offered late in the afternoon on the other side of the City. This is why I am saving up for a small vehicle. The NO Mass fulfills my Sunday obligation.

  27. Claudia says:

    Dear Hilary, a question: You identified “novusordoism” in your brilliant articles (thanks so much) and the tremendous importance of the old mass. Why are you still going to the novus ordo? I’m not clear in this question, sometimes I think never again novus ordo but then there is the sunday obligation …

    (Please excuse my bad English, I’m from Germany.)

  28. Paul Leclair says:

    Hilary, I’m opting for stupid, evil, and arrogant. Sure, why not all three?

  29. Isabel says:

    By a strange (?) coincidence, the rector of the Cathedral in my diocese just put a note in the bulletin about the reception of Communion: “We receive standing as a sign of our unity with one another and that we are people of the Resurrection.” I have no idea what the “unity” bit is all about, but clearly, this “Resurrection people” garbage means that we are now just as good as God and it’s all cool – just as you said. The Cathedral rector, btw, also holds the position of diocesan Director of Liturgy.

    The thing you forgot to mention about ostentatious standing is that it results in the standee’s sticking his backside in the face of whoever is kneeling behind him. Now I don’t think that’s much of a sign of unity, do you?

  30. Fuquaysteve says:

    At the Memorare, I pray not for the Pope’s intention, but for his conversion.

  31. Hilary White says:

    Andrew, yes we always have to ask the obvious questions. But in fact, this determination to send God a message about who’s best would at least imply belief in the intended audience.

    But yes, the question remains: stupid and arrogant or evil and arrogant?

  32. Andrew Dunn says:

    Assuming he believes in the Real Presence – and no, I doubt that he does – he doesn’t kneel or genuflect because he is at war with Our Lord and His Church. In addition to this incredible disrespect, do any photos or video footage exist where he is looking at the Blessed Sacrament with awe, sincere adoration or humility? No. He always has a scowl – an “I hate you” look on his face – like he’s staring down an enemy before a fight.

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