In regards to the kneeling during the Eucharistic Prayers, which isn’t the norm in Eastern Catholic and Orthodox Churches, the Latin/Roman Rite Catholics have found four unique ways to fall down before the Lord. I’ll list them here below. Thanks to Dylan, whom I met at perpetual adoration some weeks ago, who so nicely volunteered to be my kneeler model. Please pray for him and wife and their new baby, due to enter the world in June 2016.
1. The Commitment Issue Lazy-Kneel or PUP (Physically Unable to Perform) Kneel
The ‘Commitment Issue Lazy-Kneel or PUP (Physically Unable to Perform) Kneel’ features half of the butt still on the seat with a 90 degree arch of the back towards the facing pew. This kneeling posture doing the Eucharistic Prayers is all the rage with too-cool to be fully Catholic teenagers, lazy adults, adults who have commitment issues, and moms who are managing babies and hyper-active kids. This popular kneel also comes with options of a ‘swivel-head’ and a ‘wondering eye’, which allows you to ‘people-watch’ at Mass to see what everyone else is doing. Another option to this posture is the kick-stand genuflect; that is, kneeling down one knee with the other leg out in the aisle somewhere. This option is usually employed by men with one bad knee, but who aren’t altogether ready or too proud to commit to the full Pew Sitter (#4), as well as those who, due to other issues and space limitations, are physically unable to kneel upright.
Physicians actually do not recommend this sitting posture, saying that prolonged use of it will cause back and hips pain. Extremely far-right Catholics say that prolonged use of this posture by those who are physically able to do it will lead to heresy, citing that the ‘Commitment Issue Lazy-Kneel’ was actually invented by Martin Luther himself. Being that I’ve found nothing on Google or Wikipedia to actually support such a claim, means that not only is it not true, but that it should be put in a meme and shared daily on all social media platforms.
2. The Good Catholic Full-Kneel
‘The Good Catholic Full-Kneel’ features both of the knees firmly placed on the kneeler with the legs and back in an upright position. This kneeling posture is most generally employed by Catholics who stand ready to sacrificially give themselves to the Lord at Mass. It’s used almost exclusively at Daily Mass. While, this posture may also come with options of a ‘swivel-head’ and a ‘wandering eye’, the ‘closed eyes’ and ‘head bowed’ are the most often used in conjunction with it.
Converts, Re-Verts, and Recovering ‘Commitment Issue Lazy-Kneelers’ absolutely love this posture, because it makes them feel authentically Catholic and attentively connected to the Eucharistic prayers being said. You may have heard of active listening? The Good Catholic Full-Kneel is the posture of actively praying the Mass.
3. The Manly Man All-In Raw-Kneel
‘The Manly Man All-In Raw-Kneel’ is my favorite. It’s the way I kneeled when I first came into the Church, because we didn’t have kneelers in our chapel, and it’s the posture I returned to some years ago as my sacrifice for the souls in purgatory. This posture features the kneeler up, knees on the hard floor, and upright back. This form of kneeling during the Eucharistic Prayers and before Mass is mostly employed by Alpha male Catholics, simply because they think that soft kneelers are for girls and girly-men. During inclement weather when the Church floor may be wet, walking out of the Church with dirt stains on the knee of their pants is a badge of honor for these men. If they are sharing the pew it makes them feel good to get down on their knees first so that the person next to them can pull down the kneeler. Looking straight ahead while their pew mate is looking at them with wandering confusing makes them feel even more like a man – a rebel without a pause – a kneeler terrorist – a future saint.
These manly men – men among men – pew rejectors often share stories among themselves about how people look at them in awe for rejecting Mass comforts, how they converted the man next to them the day they didn’t let him drop the kneeler, how the guy in front of them was inconvenienced because he didn’t drop his kneeler, which caused his feet to be cramped, and how they belong to a long line of kneeler rejectors; such as Saint Ignatius of Antioch, Saint Augustine, Saint John of the Cross, Saint Dominic, Saint Thomas Aquinas, and Saint John Vianney.
4. The Pew Sitter No-Kneel
‘The Pew Sitter No-Kneel’ (not to be confused with PewSitter.COM) is what happens mostly in the back of the Church where you find non-Catholics who are sitting either out of ignorance or defiance. Sometimes a good Catholic will use this posture if the person in front of them has bad body odor. It also happens in the very front of the Church where you have good faithful Catholics who just physically are unable kneel (due to surgery, injury, pregnancy or bad kids who need management). This posture features the butt firmly placed in the Pew seat and their back against the back of the pew. By its very nature, this posture comes with they ‘swivel-head’ and a ‘wandering eye’, for those in the back of the Church. Prolonged use of this posture on hard surfaces will cause portions of the butt to develop dead tissue. It is not recommended – ever. If you are physical able to kneel, get off your butt and into the prayers at Mass. 🙂