The archdiocese of Halifax/Yarmouth in Nova Scotia has a new direction from the archbishop. We are to remain standing from a few moments after the Consecration until everyone has received Communion and is back in their seats. And then wait until the ciborium is placed in the Tabernacle. Then we may kneel to pray after having received the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ.
The Eucharist is the consummate sacrament of the Catholic Church. It is the fundamental tenet that divides us from all other Christian denominations. We truly believe that this piece of bread and this cup of wine is changed - trans-substantiated - into the body and blood, soul and divinity of Our Saviour.
Standing is not the attitude of reverence. Standing may signify some unity amongst the congregation, but at this point in the Mass, I would expect us to be showing reverence rather than unity.
If this is the type of new evangelisation that is being promulgated across the diocese, and I fear that it is, then the new evangelisation will be as empty of content as this new directive is.
Evangelisation is nothing unless it gives witness to the saving power of Christ on the cross. This is the only point of evangelisation: to bring someone to the point where they realise they need a Saviour, not that they need to be part of a church or a body of believers. First and foremost, they need to recognize that they need to be saved and that Someone has done that for them - at a tremendous price.
Someone said to me today that this is not a big deal, that we should just be obedient and continue to pray as we stand. But if standing or kneeling is not such a big deal, then why is the Archbishop making such a big deal of it?
As Cardinal Arinze says, "if you believe that this is Christ, why don't you kneel, why don't you crawl?"
His final word, leave people in freedom, they are not soldiers. Amen