Guest post: Understanding When to Kneel, Sit, and Stand at the Traditional Latin Mass (revised 2nd edition)

Since the publication of the first edition of this essay online by California Latin Mass in 2013, and subsequent postings by other blogs such as the Traditional Latin Mass Society of San Francisco, Canons Regular of the New Jerusalem, and most recently Rorate-Caeli, readers have expressed to me not only their appreciation for what they’ve learned, but also to point out unintended typos and errors in the text and in the order of postures in the tables. I have corrected those typos and errors in this revised edition.

I have also added a new section discussing the posture at Orate Fratres, which I believe deserves more than just a passing mention and a footnote. The impetus for this was the change in the mandated posture at Orate Fratres in the Novus Ordo.

Up until 2010, the common posture for all Roman rite Catholics, whether assisting in the Novus Ordo or in the Traditional Latin Mass, was to remain seated while the priest says Orate, fratres, recite the response while seated, and then only rise afterwards. The English text of the General Instruction of the Roman Missal (Novus Ordo, of course), revised and approved for U.S. and Canadian dioceses in 2012, now instructs the faithful assisting in the Novus Ordo to rise for this prayer and recite the response standing. The word fratres could now also be properly rendered as “Brothers and sisters” in lieu of “brethren.” I would advise anyone inclined to think that this is just more evidence of the propensity in the Novus Ordo to innovate unnecessarily and that it has nothing to do with the Traditional Latin Mass to withhold your judgment and read section VI first. There is more to this than you think.

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From the Desk of Canon Olivier Meney, ICRSS


The 7 Steps of Ordination Part III

The Sub-diaconate

                   In the first two parts of this series, we have seen how the Church disposes her seminarians for the grace of the holy priesthood through the reception of four minor orders: that is, the orders of porter, lector, exorcist, and acolyte.  Now we will turn our attention to the major or sacred orders.

In the ordination of acolytes, there is already a foretaste of the major orders, since the acolyte, by his function, is designated to assist the sacred ministers in the liturgical functions of the holy sacrifice of the Mass.  However, the sub-deacon is given an even greater role.  As his name suggests, he is the servant of the deacon at the altar.  This aspect of the sub-diaconate is represented by the manner in which the sub-deacon presents the chalice and the cruets at the offertory.  The deacon pours the wine into the chalice and the sub-deacon pours the water.  Also, while the deacon chants the holy Gospel, it is the sub-deacon who holds the book for him.  Furthermore, during the Mass the sub-deacon never sits nor covers his head while the deacon fulfills his liturgical functions.

The sub-deacon chants the books of the prophets and the epistles, which are preparations for the highest doctrine of the Gospel.  This is one reason why the sub-deacon holds the paten with the humeral veil before his face during the Canon.  He represents the Old Testament, in which the fullness of Christ’s glory was still veiled and no one could look upon the face of God and live (e.g. Exodus 33:12-22).

The sub-deacon is thus the servant of the servants of God (the word deacon in Greek means “servant”).  In this, he ought to imitate the humility of Our Lord Jesus Christ, who said to his apostles: “I am in the midst of you as one who serves” (St Luke 22:27).

The Church calls upon the sub-deacon to unite the virtue of humility to a perfect chastity.  Before his ordination, the Bishop warns him that, whereas before he had been free to leave the clerical state, now he will make a permanent commitment to clerical celibacy.  He also takes on the obligation of reciting the entire office.  The prayer of the office both glorifies God and gives the sub-deacon the graces necessary to fulfill his sacred duties.

Here at St. Margaret Mary’s Church, we have our own sub-deacon, Abbé Kevin, who fulfills beautifully this role of servant of the servants of God.  Let’s keep him in our prayers and thank God for the grace of his vocation among us!

Abbe Ryan Post, 4th Year Seminarian for the ICRSS




From the Desk of Canon Olivier Meney, ICRSS


The Leonine Prayers

These prayers after Low Mass which were prescribed by Pope Leo XIII who composed the Prayer to Saint Michael the Archangel, and were reinforced by Pope Pius XI and Pope Pius XII to pray for the conversion of Russia.

Tradition relates that Pope Leo XIII had a vision that took place in 1884 – 1886

Pope Leo XIII was saying his Mass in his private chapel in presence of some cardinals. At the end of the Mass as he was ready to return to Sacristy, he stopped and stood in a trance white as snow. As he recovered his spirit he went to his office and Continue reading

From the Desk of Canon Olivier Meney, ICRSS

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A  brief explanation of some aspects of the Mass in its Extraordinary Form


The Prayer “Supra quae” refers to Melchisedech (page 37, red booklet). Who was this strange character? Where does he come from? Why is he mentioned here at the heart of the Canon of the Mass?

We find mentioned for the first time of this mysterious figure in the book of Genesis 14:17. He is the king of Salem, the High Priest. He is Melchisedech who offered bread and wine as a sacrifice. The Fathers of the Church recognized in Him as a Continue reading

From the Desk of Canon Olivier Meney, ICRSS

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The following question has been asked to several priests around the world:


What part of the Mass, words or rubrics, in its extraordinary form moves you the best?

Father Louis, OSB: the words uttered by the priest: He took bread into His Holy and venerable hands (page 35 in red booklet). My hands are neither holy nor venerable! They are the ones of a poor sinner. The Liturgy however invites me to take great care of this fragile Host and my hands are not mine any more but the one of Jesus who takes me in His own. “My Lord, I am holding Thee, I do not want to let Thee go.”

Father Emmanuel Marie de Saint Jean: “I am always more and more touched by the self-effacement of the priest who disappears behind Christ. The more the presence of the Priest goes away, the more Christ grows.”

Canon Alban Denis, ICRSP. : “The continuity and permanency of the Liturgy. The priest is never alone celebrating. He is with the entire Church. He is with the cohort of all the priests who celebrated before him. I say Mass the exact same way as Saint John Bosco; I pronounce the same words as the Curé of Ars did; I make the same movement as Pius X and all others…. We will meet in Heaven. This is a great source of humility and stimulation. Far from feeling to be limited by rules and rubrics, the rubrics carry me in my daily celebration.”

Father Benedict Joseph: “The celebration ‘ad orientem’. The orientation of the priest toward the East expresses well the function of the priest as Pontiff. Being all turned together in the same direction, gives a vivid image of the unity of the militant Church walking towards Heaven. It is also a great help to avoid any kind of self-centeredness.

Father Laurent-Marie, Servant of Jesus and Marie: “this Liturgy expresses the ‘Mysterium Fidei’ in a particular good and proper way, with the sense of contemplation, recollection and reverence. Even in the celebration of the greatest feast of the year, with the use of multiple ministers, incense, polyphonic choirs and even orchestras, all leads to the great silence of the Canon and the Consecration. God always establishes his masterpieces in an eternal silence.”

Father Claude Barthe: “The prayer of the ‘Suscipe’: May this Sacrifice be brought to the Altar. That is the Roman Epiclesis. These words bring us up to Heaven.”


From the Desk of Canon Olivier Meney, ICRSS


CM 2A brief explanation of some aspects of the Mass in its Extraordinary Form

As soon as the words of the Consecration are pronounced, the priest, holding the host between his two first fingers, adores the Host making immediately a genuflection. Then, standing up, he raises the Host as high as possible to be seen by the faithful, keeping his eyes on it. He places the host again on the corporal and genuflects again. He does the same with the Chalice.

The Adoration of the Host after consecration is consistently attested since the Divine Institution of the Eucharist. We find very early interesting Greek icons representing  Jesus as an infant laying on the paten (gilded plate on which the Host is placed).

  The act of adoration itself takes various forms according to cultures and traditions. One might be standing, kneeling, seating, or prostrated on the floor: each one marks in its own way the same spiritual act of faith and adoration.

St. John Chrysostom attests that in Eastern Liturgy the “elevation of the host” came only just before communion and with great solemnity. The Holy Doors are finally opened, the curtains removed and the celebrant comes out (remember that the whole liturgy in this rite is out of sight) saying: “Consider the Table of the King. The King is here. If your vestments are pure, adore and receive communion.”

Since the 10th century, another sign of Adoration of God, is the addition of the ringing of the bells. We can read on the Carthusian rules the following ordinance: “Whenever the bell is rang for the consecration, wherever one is, he musts stop his activity and kneel down as long as the bells are rang.”

Yves de Chartres, Bishop of Paris (1115), gave thanks to Margaret, Queen of England for her gift of Bells for the Notre Dame Cathedral. He promised that her soul will be remembered at each consecration as they will ring.

The genuflection, done immediately after the words of the consecration are said, is a great act of faith on the power of the Instituted Words themselves. “This is my Body”: Adoration follows. Elevation comes after.

Another great addition of adoration in liturgy is the use of Torch-Bearer. Candles are sign of respect.

Since the heresy of Beranger – who denied the real presence of Jesus in the Eucharist- the use of particular signs of adoration have been encouraged to sustain our faith. All that can help us is good to have.


From the Desk of Canon Olivier Meney, ICRSS

CM 2A brief explanation of some aspects of the Mass in its Extraordinary Form
To acquire a ”notable liturgical formation and a deep, personal familiarity with the earlier form of the liturgical celebration” (Motu Proprio, Benedict XVI, July 2007) or an exploration into the theological, historical, devotional, liturgical, ritualistic, architectural, artistic, linguistic, practical, legalistic, mystical… aspects of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.

Priest turning his back to the People? 

 It is a common remark heard about the Latin Mass. The distance expressed between the celebrant – getting himself behind a closed communion rail, setting himself up above everyone, not looking at the people; facing the altar – and the people remaining silent is striking. Why this has been the case for some 2000 years…?

Simply because the Mass is not considered as a social moment to which the faithful are invited to party at. It is foremost the renewal of the Single Act of Christ, offering Himself once and for all at the Last Supper, consummating His Sacrifice on the Cross, and  continuing the very same Act at each Mass. It is Christ celebrating Mass. Not any individual priest. The faithful are privileged  witnesses of it.

The position of the Priest is clearly not random. He and all the congregation are facing East. St John in the Book of Apocalypse  promised that Christ will come back like the rising Sun in all His Glory.

At Mass we all face “Oriens” that is East, waiting for our Divine Risen Master to come!

In the Roman style, many churches had “oculi” that were little windows kept opened behind the altar. Our very own St. Margaret Mary sanctuary is an example of this tradition. The purpose for this is to avoid missing the coming of Our Lord Jesus Christ if it would happen during the celebration of Mass.




From the Desk of Canon Olivier Meney, ICRSS

CM 2To acquire a ”notable liturgical formation and a deep, personal familiarity with the earlier form of the liturgical celebration” (Motu Proprio, Benedict XVI, July 2007) or an exploration into the theological, historical, devotional, liturgical, ritualistic, architectural, artistic, linguistic, practical, legalistic, mystical… aspects of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.

On the Maniple

Why does the celebrant use the cope for the Asperges Me? Why does the priest remove the maniple and the chasuble when he preaches?

The Mass is the sacramental and liturgical action by which the very same Sacrifice of the Cross is continued upon the altar. Therefore, this is a whole and one action that cannot be broken apart. From the first sign of the Cross at the foot of the altar to the Last Gospel, the celebrant  remains at the altar. The Asperges Me, the sermon or homily, the blessings of palms or ashes, the processions are not integral parts of the Mass. They are adjacent to the Mass.

The celebrant is wearing the Cope (A cape covering the whole shoulders) and no maniple for   Asperges, processions and  solemn vespers. The maniple is part of the vestments of the priest celebrating the Mass (in the rubrics of 1967, it is not mentioned anymore). It is a short piece of fabric that was formerly worn on the left arm by workers to dry their sweat. The prayer said for the vesting of the maniple is “Lord, may I worthily bear the maniple of tears and sorrow so as to receive the reward of my labor with rejoicing.”  It is then a sign of the call of the priest to be a worker in the vineyard of the Lord. The maniple is now ornate and used only during the celebration of the Mass. When the Mass needs to be interrupted, as during the reading of a translation of the Epistle or the Gospel, or the sermon, the Celebrant removes it. This is a  worthy practice to be kept in use even though not absolutely mandatory. Placing the chasuble on the altar is of the same effect.

The point is that nothing “human” or “profane” should be introduced in the celebration of the Divine Liturgy. These signs—as the removal of the maniple– show that the words to be uttered by the priest during the sermon are his own and a  parenthesis in the Act of Christ.


Chaplain’s Corner |Month of the Sacred Heart of Jesus

SHSOn Friday, the Church celebrates the great Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, which sets the devotional tone for the month of June, which is dedicated to His Heart. This feast connects nicely with the feasts of the Blessed Trinity and Holy Eucharist, revealing in human terms the profound Love at the root of reality and salvation. The Heart of Jesus also leads us forward to celebrate well the coming feasts at the end of this month, the Birth of John the Baptist and the glorious Princes of the Apostles, Peter and Paul. Both the Precursor and the chosen Apostles are true witnesses to and extensions of Jesus’s Heart, especially in their laying down their lives for Him in martyrdom.

The mystery of the Sacred Heart places before us the truth of the accessibility of salvation. It was prophesied to St. Gertrude the Great, who is the foundress of this devotion, that devotion to Our Lord’s Heart would only be given to the universal Church when her love had grown cold. This coldness of love was especially brought about by the heresies of Protestantism and Jansenism, which both deny, in their own way, the possibility of real holiness. The revelation of Divine Love in the human Heart of Jesus is a kind of catalyst for us to trust in Him, to rely only upon His grace, which flows entirely to us from the Blessed Trinity through the Sacred Humanity of Jesus Christ.

One is struck, in the light of this feast, by the importance of orthodox doctrine concerning the mystery of Jesus Christ, especially as regards His Sacred Humanity. St. John teaches us in the Gospel that “the Law came through Moses, grace and truth came through Jesus Christ,” and also that “from His fullness we have all received, grace upon grace.” Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus depends upon the doctrine that His humanity is full of all the treasures of salvation. In the Litany of the Sacred Heart, we invoke Him as full of all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge, from whose fullness we have all received. This piety and devotion is based on sound doctrine: from the first moment of His conception in the womb of Blessed Mary, Jesus Christ is all-holy, anointed perfectly in His humanity by the Beatific Vision of God and the fullness of saving grace. All that we hope for, all the treasures of salvation, are contained in His Sacred Humanity. Even His Resurrection, in which we hope to share, was contained in seed-form in the glory (since it is nothing other than the overflow of glory into His body) enjoyed by His soul from that first moment of its existence.

This feast of the Sacred Heart, then, is an opportunity for us to engage in a kind of Christological purification of an intellectual sort. We ought to take seriously the task of learning Who Jesus is and what He is like. We ought to study deeply, guided by the tradition of the Church, His identity and mission, how His divine and human natures interact, how His humanity is really human and truly salvific. The feast of the Sacred Heart, then, is a kind of feast of Jesus’s true identity as Savior and Place of Salvation. Let us rejoice to enter deeply into this mystery, drinking from the water and blood which flow from His side opened for us!


Reverend Father Joseph Previtali


By Canon Benjamin Coggeshall
For the first Sunday of Lent we will remember that the Gospel passage recounted Jesus’ fasting in the desert for forty days. He was approached by the devil and tempted in three ways. These three ways represent the three concupiscences to which we humans are subjected: the concupiscence of the flesh, the concupiscence of the eyes and the pride of life.
The purpose of this first reflection was to put us Christians on guard against these temptations, these concupiscences to which we are all subjected. A large part of Lenten meditation concerns turning away from sin and the temptation of one sort or another that precedes sin.
However, what kind of mother would the Church be if she only told us of the dangers that lie waiting for us in the spiritual life…and not the remedies to these ills? Jesus left to the world a good, holy Church, as part of His permanent presence in our world to guide us through life, teaching us how to resist temptation and sin.
Returning to our reflection from the first Sunday of Lent, let us call to mind the first sort of temptation experienced by Jesus in order to understand it better and how to fight it. We are talking about the Concupiscence of the flesh.
Concupiscence of the flesh is the inordinate love of sensual pleasures (Tanquerey, p. 101) “Inordinate love” means love that is out of order…love that is in the wrong place.
As we saw earlier this Lent, pleasure in itself is not evil. Gold allows pleasure for the accomplishment of certain good acts. He makes food taste good…so that we may preserve and take care of our bodies. He attaches certain pleasures to the marital act so that we will have children and perpetuate our species. God allows pleasure in these things…but only because they help the completion of a good act: preserving the body or perpetuating the species.
Fr. Tanquerey says that pursuing sensual pleasure as an end in and of itself is a moral disorder. Simply, it is not good, and not what God has intended for our dignified state as His children. An example would be for someone to continue eating iced cream…even though he has had sufficiency. He continues eating the iced cream…not because he is hungry or starving, but because he simply likes the taste and the pleasure it gives to his taste buds.
This is what we call an excessive love of pleasure. We say excessive love, because we must remember that enjoying good iced cream is not bad; loving it to the point where we continue eating it and destroying our health is bad. Our excessive love of sensual pleasures can in fact harm us very much. Think of our society which is ever more dependent on stimulants…that reflects our obsession and excessive love for pleasure. This is seen in the habitual overconsumption of alcohol and in drug use. This can even be seen in thrill seekers…diving off the sides of mountains and buildings to get a rush of adrenaline…to get a sensual high. People pursue these things with a heightening level of voracity…until they simply burn out or even kill themselves. Pleasure or “highs” are not the ends of our existence.
The Church teaches us quite simply that the best way to combat this evil is the mortification of the senses. “Mortification” means to put to death in a certain way. So we must put our senses to death…not that we become stoic and claim to have no more feeling…but rather to put our senses in check. We may not realise this, but we do it all the time. When walking by the chocolate aisle in the supermarket, we may hear a small voice telling us to fill our cart with the whole lot. However, our reason then kicks in, telling us no, we only have €50, and we must get milk, potatoes and bread for the family. Here, we are mortifying our senses, because our reason is telling us that there is a much more important thing at stake here. (We can either buy all the chocolate and eat it in the car, enjoying every bite and let the family go hungry…or we can buy what is necessary and good for the family).
Fr. Tanquerey reminds us that the motive that obligates us to mortifying our senses is our baptismal vow. Baptism obliges us to mortify our senses that can lead us to sin. We are to mortify them so we can control them…and not the other way around. “For if you live according to the flesh, you shall die; but if by the spirit you modify the deeds of the flesh you shall live.”(Rom: 8:13) We reject sin, as part of our baptismal promises…and in turn any temptations that may lead to it.
Fr. Tanquerey adds a final prudent note to his considerations. He says to best benefit from mortifying our senses, we should not only do the ones that are strictly evil…but ones that can be dangerous. We are called to completely control our actions.
Telling ourselves “no” for something that may be perfectly ok exercises our will…thus strengthening it for when we need to reject something that may be particularly alluring. Indulging in permissible pleasures can break our resolve over time and render us weak in a dangerous situation. St. Paul says “he who loves danger shall perish in it.”(Tanquerey, p104) Simply put, we should avoid putting ourselves in harm’s way. Children will often play at a distance from the fire that is safe, but still contains a bit of danger. These same children are burned from time to time when a stray ember pops out and hits them. Licit pleasure can be like this.
Let us resolve then to use sensuous pleasure as God intended, for His glory. May our Lenten prayers help to obtain this grace for us!
Canon Benjamin Coggeshall.
Institute of Christ the King

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