The Armchair Liturgist: Sitting with a Passion?


Zenit’s liturgy guru weighs in on the question, but before you peek at the link, what is your take on the Palm Sunday and Good Friday readings? Assume people stand and don’t look crossways at those who choose to sit? Ask people to sit outright? Apologize upfront and then suggest/ask/order the pewfolk to stand?

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in the Pacific Northwest, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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7 Responses to The Armchair Liturgist: Sitting with a Passion?

  1. Liam says:

    NEver apologize for a rubric. THat’s a stupid move.

    The rubric is to call for those who can stand to stand while they can. That’s all.

    As someone who has difficulty standing still for more than 10 minutes at a time due to alternating bouts of hamstring or lower back pain/discomfort, I sit when I need to. It’s not an endurance contest, and it’s not about trying to evoke the Lord’s passion in pain.

    Polite people never notice the manners of others except as indicators of someone who might need help. Since everyone in church is presumed to be polite, we need not worry about anyone looking cross-wise, right?

    I would hate for the entire congregation to have to sit because of folks like me. Rather, people who can stand without trouble should enjoy the privilege of doing so while they can! For many, it won’t be forever.

  2. Anne says:

    Because of the number of elderly in our assembly, all are asked to sit. Better to be comfortable and focused on the scripture than distracted with pain or fatigue.

  3. The last few weeks, at the Masses with the scrutinies, I have — before proclaiming the Gospel — said the following: “This Gospel is somewhat long, so anyone who may have difficulty standing is free to sit down as needed.” Most remained standing, but a few sat.

    There are those who will say, “doesn’t that go without saying?” I can tell you, some of our older faithful are rather strict with themselves in these matters. And the “permission” of the priest is often all they need to sit down. When my father, who has now gone to his reward, was getting up in years, his attempts to stand for the Gospel grew ever more frightening (to us, watching him do it); but I was not a priest at the time, so I asked the pastor to give him permission to sit for the Gospel. After that, my dad did so, but not until Father said.

    So, no use arguing with that way of thinking, which is admirable in so many ways; you adapt to it. (It is very humbling, at 45, to have men much older than I rise out of respect for me, as a priest.

  4. Liam says:

    Fr. Martin

    That’s a sensible approach without an expression of apology.

  5. Liam:

    Thanks. I won’t do that for the Passions, actually, because I think everyone knows the Passion Gospels are long. But I think people forget about the lengthy Gospels that come up in Lent.

  6. … Well, I might not do it, at least the same way.

  7. Brigid says:

    Our priest this past weekend did the same as Fr. Fox with the Lazarus reading. It was the first time such a suggestion was given in my parish. In the past it’s been “please sit, the reading is quite long.” My almost 90-year-old father next to me did *not* sit down, nor would he, unless the *congregation* also sat down. I did not note *one* elderly person sitting down at all. I would say peer pressure for standing wins out all the time, whether Father gives permission or not. Us Catholics still believe it’s more “holy” to stand (or my favorite: to kneel fully upright without derriere resting on seat). There are always stares *from other in the pew* when you sit. My father would not want to be considered so old that he needs to sit. Never. No way. Father, are you sure these older men are rising because you are a priest or because you’re a human being who has entered a room, thus you rise? I mean, I could get the same thing said to me because I am a woman entering a room (and it does happen) but I choosed to believe that this wonderful older generation does it because they were taught to rise whenever anyone enters a room. Peace!

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