A standing point.

Author:Secker, Philip James
Position:Letter to the editor

Richard John Neuhaus has a point when he asserts that, although the People of God stood for the Mass in the patristic era, kneeling is now "the tradition" in the West, and "the insistence of some liturgists and pastors that everybody must stand is the innovation" (The Public Square, November).

It is questionable, however, whether those who are trying to restore the earlier practice necessarily reveal "a fundamental lack of respect for the lived experience and piety of the People of God." Arthur Carl Piepkorn, whom both Neuhaus and I had for a professor and a father in Christ, and who did his share both of kneeling and of encouraging the practice of kneeling, noted that when royalty entered a room in the Middle Ages everyone in the room would kneel. In a comparable situation today, Piepkorn continued, everyone would stand.

I believe he was suggesting that standing during the Mass might, therefore, be...

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