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Why do Catholics kneel?

Full Question

Why do Catholics kneel during their services? This seems unnecessary. Why not just sit still and listen to the preaching of God’s word?

Answer

If you attend a Catholic Mass you will see the first part of it consists of reading and preaching; we stand for the Gospel, but we sit for the other readings and for the preaching. But the Mass is more than just reading and preaching. The Mass is a sacrifice, and there are times–especially in the last part–when the faithful pray on their knees. Kneeling shows our humility before God.

Your question is a surprise because you probably should be asking yourself why you don’t kneel in your Protestant services. Scripture suggests you should. In Ephesians 3:14 Paul says, “I kneel before the Father,” and in Acts 9:40 Peter “knelt down and prayed.” The Catholic habit of kneeling is consistent with Scripture and is another manifestation of the continuity between the Church of the first century and the Catholic Church of today.










50 comments

  1. margaret ngetich Reply

    Thanks so much. Am learning a lot abou my faith. God bless!

  2. Linda Reply

    I just want Mass to be like used to be, all Latin, our Missles will have our language in it so that no matter where you go Mass is the same. I truly miss that.

    1. Frances Reply

      What about the majority who don’t understand Latin? Because God understood the value of everyone understanding the ‘Word of God’ he sent the Holy Spirit to introduce the ‘gift of tongues’ to the apostles so that the word of God would be understood by all nations in their own language. Am not a selfish person by nature so am very glad that the majority of Catholics can follow the Mass in their own language. Thanks be to God.

      1. Solutio Problematis Omnes Reply

        The Mass prayers are not directed to the laity. They are directed to God. God understands Latin. That is all that matters. Plus, the missals have both English and Latin so you can understand what is going on.

        Further, Latin is a sacred language that hasn’t been corrupted. There is significant value in that. Plus the devil HATES Latin. How do we know that? Ask any exorcist and they tell us that is what the demons tell them. Deo Gratias indeed!

    2. Rose Morgan Reply

      My priest holds a well attended Latin mass after benediction every Sunday. I feel blessed. Love the Latin mass but also the English mass so I’m glad I have the choice, sometimes I go to both since each gives a different experience. Certainly the Latin makes you truly humble and in awe of God.

    3. clonesn Reply

      Find a FSSP parish in your area. 🙂

  3. Prairiemark Reply

    I converted to Catholicism at age 57. During my years as protestant I watched many of the practices of the early church dissappear in my church. Kneeling when praying disappeared in the 1960s, Then they stopped reciting the creeds, then they stopped the benediction and finally the Doxology.
    When protestants from that church ask me in horor how I could possibly make requests to angels, I just say “I learned it when I was a child singing the doxology n your church. Praise Him all ye Heavenly hosts.” But that practice, like praying on our knees has disappeared.

    1. Edwin Reply

      Hallelujah! Jesus came from Heaven to give sights to the blind and to awakened them to see the Light. Congratulations!

    2. bangkukang Reply

      Kneeling is for individual. It shows that you fully obey and respect God. And it shows also the sincerity of you prayers, you are focus on God that you wont do anything else than praying by kneeling. It doesnt not refer for catholics obly, but any as the scriptures said, you must kneel, even the knights and his men are kneeling before the king. So God is our King and before him we should kneel especially on prayers.

  4. Adam Ryszard Ostrowski Reply

    On the subject of kneeling, why not bring back kneeling whilst receiving the Holy Body of Christ. Some Priests refuse to give Holy Communion if a person kneels down to receive Him.

      1. Lonnie Rietscha Reply

        They don’t refuse. Anyone can still do that.

    1. Rose Morgan Reply

      I take communion on my knees and on my tongue. Anything else just feels wrong. It is God I am being honoured to receive after all.

  5. Edwin Reply

    Why we Catholics don’t have the right “to pick with our own hand” the Body of Christ and eat it. Because Jesus in His Last Supper, he handed down the Bread and Wine to his disciples?

    1. Danny Reply

      Just think of this. When you buy baked food such as donuts in the bakery section of a grocery or department store, would it be alright for you if customers picked with their bare hands all bread that they want? Such is very unsanitary, so thongs have to be used by customers an/or bakery staff Also, such baked items are very huge compared to the Holy Eucharist. Just imagine a communicant’s fingers touching several sacred hosts in trying to get one for himself/herself! There are several other valid reasons why a priest or special minister of the Holy Eucharist should distribute the Holy Eucharist.

  6. Mpho Reply

    I am proud to be Catholic Amen

  7. Lisa Soltner Reply

    “Your question is a surprise because you probably should be asking yourself why you don’t kneel in your Protestant services. Scripture suggests you should.”
    The placement of emphasis in this statement is alarming to me, as it seems defensive and argumentative. The person asked a question and explained their confusion on the matter. Why not just answer instead of condemning?

    1. Michaela Reply

      I agree. I wanted to share this with my Protestant family members because they often ask me questions. However, the tone changed from sharing information with those who sincerely ask questions to combative. Because of the tone in that one sentence, I will not be able to fwd.

  8. markus Reply

    I realy thank God for been a catholic by faith and i am learning more an more and i promised to stand by my catholic till my endtime.

    1. Eva Mansoor Reply

      I realy thank God for being a catholic by faith and i am learning more an more and i promised to stand by my catholic till my endtime.

  9. Evelyn Sanders Reply

    I love this website. I learn something new everyday.

  10. Pingback: Why do Catholics kneel? | News and Analysis | ...

  11. paul kizito obang Reply

    I luv ds page so much…..tnx 2 my parents 4 bringin me up in d catholic way!

  12. valentine Reply

    Very good answers from this source. Im a CATHOLIC and i iften hear from other christian and non christian people these same questions and i had no answer but now im able to lay their doubts to rest

  13. Fer Medina Reply

    I wish people will be more respectful when they go church is to pray and pay attention to what priests is telling us. I really hate it when they star looking and letting their phone ring instead of paying attention in mass.

  14. Nina Reply

    i admit that while I read the Q&A with great interest because I love my faith, the tone is not good. I do not believe Pope Francis would approve of the answers here. We are all blessed to be in the Lord’s church but if I had read the high and mighty tones on here, I would not have learned of the joy and giving natures of my fellow Catholics.

  15. jc luke Reply

    Where is the inclusion of we are to continually kneel prior to, and through, the consecration? Moreover, we are to remain kneeling as long as the Eucharist is exposed. Once the tabernacle is closed, we may sit. We are NOT kneeling because the priest has not yet sat down (after communion). When Christ is present, out of reverence, we kneel.

  16. pat reuben Reply

    always proud to be a catholic;anytime;anyday…

  17. Lauri Reply

    Not just Catholic’s kneel, I was raised Episcopal and was taught you stand for praise (hymns) sit for instruction (readings) and kneel for prayer, we have almost the same service as the catholic church

  18. Jacob Agatha Reply

    As for me kneeling down for a long time after receiving body and blood of Christ is an act of respect and adoration to Jesus Christ which I just received in me. I love Catholic Church!

  19. moses warui ndegwa Reply

    There is a sign that we do before tha preist read tha gospel.What dos it me when we do that?

    1. Carol Reply

      Through the Gospel, we think of You , we speak of you, and love you.

      1. Carol Reply

        You make the sign of the cross on you forehead then on you lips and then over your heart, while saying the words in my previous post.

    2. Richard Reply

      may the words of the Gospel be in my mind,on my lips and in my heart

  20. Manny Marguy Reply

    kneel, stretch, whatever. It’s about faith in Christ, not of works or rituals. Ephesians 2:9 For by grace you are saved through faith, not of works should anyone boast, it is a gift of God. It if kneeling makes you feel good, do it, just know you don’t have to do it, and it doesn’t say in the bible to do it.. It is clearly a sign of reverence, but as Romans Chapter 14 states, don’t judge a brother if they do things differently.. Again, it’s faith in Christ, not the rituals!

  21. ekonene Reply

    Its so sad that everyone here is talking about’My church, My faith’ pls where is the place of Christ.let’s remember that church is just a building,and doctrines are tenets made by men in order to forstall discipline in the church. However we must ALL give account to Him who made us on the last day according to His word Not by your denomination. Thank u

  22. Kathy Reply

    Who says you have to stop kneeling before receiving holy communion. Many people at our church do this and I serve them holy communion. Its show reference for our Lord.

  23. Ashley Perez Reply

    I love this website. I just love all the answers it give me! I love my Catholic faith.

  24. Leilanie Edrozo Santos Omillo Reply

    As a catholic we kneel to honor God’s feast of Banquet after the sharing of gospel or the so called homily..

  25. me Reply

    I attend a non denomination protestant service and its ok if you choose to kneel. Mass is a sacrafice is that what you wrote. Jesus on the cross paid the ultimate sacrafice. It is not by what we do we are saved. Ephisians 2:8-10. God saved us by his grace. When you believed. It is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things you have done , so none of us can boast about it. For we are Gods masterpiece. We were created anew in Christ Jesus. So we can do the good things God planned for us long ago. Eph.28-10. So if we do not kneel during sevice. Dose that mean im not going to go to heaven for not kneeling during service.
    Galatians 5:1 So Christ truly set us free. Now make sure to stay free. And don’t get tied up again a slave to the law. We can never do good enough or sacrafice enough it is by Gods grace we are saved. Through Jesus.

    1. Jong Mateo Reply

      Kneeling down, is humility in front of our master, Lord, King of kings, Mk. 5:33 The woman realized what had happened to her, so she came, trembling with fear, knelt at his feet, and told him the whole truth. Lk. 8:47 The woman saw that she had been fount out, so she came trembling and threwherself at Jesus feet, Mt. 17: 6 When the disciples heard the voice, they were so terrified that they threw themselves face down the ground. Kneeling; is adoration, respect, worship etc.

  26. Rebecca Reply

    Who says Protestants don’t kneel down ???? I have attended the Protestants Church on numerous occasions and they kneel down. I am a Catholic and love the reason and explanation. Lets not assume
    all protestants do not Kneel.

    1. catstclair12000 Reply

      There are over ten-thousand Protestant churches. Some do kneel (Anglicans/Episcopalians) and some kneel for communion,(Methodists). Fundamentalist churches don’t kneel.

  27. Vincent Reply

    I just return from Lourdes. To my surprise many people of the west do not kneel even at the Benediction. Is kneeling forgotten or it’s not in their practice at home?

  28. Richard Reply

    the question should be,Why don’t Protestants kneel?

  29. catstclair12000 Reply

    We kneel in adoration of Jesus Christ. You can sort out the Protestants from the Catholics at mass as soon as Father says, “Let us pray.” Protestants think Catholics kneel to pray. We don’t. Like the Jews, we pray standing. We kneel at the Eucharist to adore Our Lord and Savior. We sit to listen to the scripture and to the homily in which the gospel is explained.

  30. catstclair12000 Reply

    Most Protestants deny that John’s gospel, chapter six, is true. That’s why they have no understanding of the mass or of the Eucharist.

  31. John Reply

    i love all the answers here, it strengthen my faith as a catholic.

  32. Adela Suralta Rokvist Reply

    Adela Suralta Rokvist.08.03.16.

    I kneel in the sign of the cross before mass. In the May Almighty God have mercy on us etc.Then in the offertory. The late Fr. Patrick Sheel CssR thought me to kneel at the Holy, Holy up to the through Him, with Him in Him. And I kneel too in the Lamb of God & strike my brest 3 times. That may the Lord will have really have Mercy on me for all my guilts. And the blessing after mass. Virgin Mary thought to her visionary, Catalina, That in consecration of the Bread of Body & Blood of Christ, that is the most Miracles of Miracle. Becuase only Catalina can see all the miracle.How the angels offer our offerings. As she said all of our angels go to kneel & bring our offering.How the Body of Christ hanging on the Cross & His blood poured into the chalice of the priest in consecration never spell in the altar and the Holy Spirit was in the left shoulder of the priest What only God showed me. More than 10 years ago. When Fr. Miguel consecrate the Eucharist. Behind his right hand. was the very white Eucharist stood in the air. So I know now, that the Holy Trinity was there in the Catholic mass. I told Fr. Miguel how lucky you are Fr. that the white Eucharist was behind your hand. I have no doubt of my catholic religion. Amen

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