Cleansing Fire

Defending Truth and Tradition in the Roman Catholic Church

Renewed love for sacraments sought

October 1st, 2014, Promulgated by b a

Bishop Matano has issued updated “Policies for the Administration of the Sacraments in the Diocese of Rochester.” You can read Bishop Matano’s letter of introduction here and the full pdf of the document here.

Please take a moment to thank Bishop Matano on the Catholic Courier’s facebook page to let him know he has supporters here in the DOR (there are already some rather negative comments).


19 Responses to “Renewed love for sacraments sought”

  1. militia says:

    May God love Bishop Matano for his faithfulness to Church Teaching, and for the humility of how he deals with necessary change. May God also forgive those whose souls have been twisted by the expectation of power, and the leadership which encouraged them. Somehow, I can imagine that the squirming in hell will be a bit like those who are fighting their own call to obedience.

  2. gaudium says:

    Thanks! Let’s all rally around our shepherd as he leads us.

  3. Ron says:

    I skimmed through the document, and maybe I missed mention of some practices that I find troubling. Is liturgical dance addressed? Eucharistic ministers stand behind the altar before the priest receives Communion? People surrounding the altar and holding hands for the Our Father? People standing during he Eucharistic Prayer when there are kneelers available and it’s not pastorally necessary?

  4. gaudium says:


    The purpose of the now promulgated policies is not to address every possible abuse. You will notice how much of it is directly taken from Redemptionis Sacramentum, the most significant juridical document on the liturgy. This document had been left practically unaddressed and Bishop Matano has now chosen to do so. The Bishop, for the most part, did not introduce policies of his own but has just decided that it was time to follow the universal law of the Church. I’m fairly certain that hand holding during the Our Father has not been addressed in any Vatican document and, perhaps, that is why Bishop Matano decided not to address the issue. Moreover, the rubrics do not address the issue of what the congregation must do during the Lord’s Prayer and so there is a great deal of freedom here. One can fold his hands, lean on the pew, close their eyes, etc. It is a specific abuse, however, when the priest is holding hands at the altar or when the deacon does so because their posture is prescribed in the rubrics. The deacon is not even to extend his hands but is to join them. It is also an abuse when the congregation is instructed to join hands during the prayer — or to even hold them extended. People should not be surrounding the altar during the Our Father either. The question of Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion approaching the altar is specifically address on page 19, complete with italics for emphasis: “• The responsibilities of the extraordinary minister of Holy Communion at Mass: Approaches the altar only after the priest receives Communion. (Cf. GIRM, 162).” Liturgical dance is addressed in other documents as is posture during the Eucharistic Prayer. My understanding is that there are liturgical issues the Bishop is addressing on a private level with individual pastors. Perhaps another contributor might have a more definite answer to that question. One of the first things Bishop Clark did when he became our bishop was to order non-ordained persons to stop preaching. The practice had begun under Bishop Hogan. Some accepted Bishop Clark’s order, others continued to preach and the practice became stronger and stronger. Pray that Bishop Matano will have strength and wisdom in making this effective.

  5. TD says:

    Eucharistic ministers stand behind the altar before the priest receives Communion?

    This is addressed in Section 2.4.3 (Responsibilities of the Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion): “Approaches the altar only after the priest receives Communion. (Cf.GIRM, 162)”.

    Granted, much of the norms is just quoting and putting into context the GIRM, CCC, and other Vatican documents, but all of the problems you mentioned have already been addressed in some other forum. Were I to guess, I’d say Bishop Matano wants to establish these norms and then address additional aberrations as needed.

    Out of curiosity, have you seen many of these things since Bishop Matano was installed? I still see the standing during the Consecration at certain places (no kneelers, granted, but not a “good reason” in my mind), but the rest I have not.

  6. gaudium says:

    My statement, ” Moreover, the rubrics do not address the issue of what the congregation must do during the Lord’s Prayer,” should have read, “…what the congregation must do with their hands during the Lord’s Prayer,”

  7. christian says:

    I think Bishop Matano’s letter was upbeat and clearly emphasized a New Evangelization that matched the zeal of charity and love of the Catholic community that he already found present. What was not addressed in this letter, which I hope will be addressed with those who will be preparing for First Communion – If First Penance (Confession) should come before Holy Communion. For a good portion of this Diocese (may be other dioceses as well), First Communion comes before First Penance. Pastoral Associates/Catechists have structured religious instruction/formation in this manner and insist that it is not necessary to have a First Confession?Penance before First Communion and that they are two separate sacraments. They insisted First Communion before First Confession/Penance was the new way it was being taught. I continued to insist (with both my sons) that I wanted them to make First Confession/Penance before First Communion and special accommodations were made so this could happen. Both of my sons were the only ones in their First Communion class that received First Penance/Communion before First Communion. (In most instances, parents do not question, but just go along with whatever is proposed or suggested, thinking those in charge of the teaching are more qualified and are in “the know” of current church teaching, and there may be some who simply aren’t interested). I hope Bishop Matano will address the order in which these two sacraments should be given.

  8. Ben Anderson says:

    christian, see p14 (which is actually p24 of the pdf):

    Candidates for First Eucharist will have made sacramental confession before receiving this
    Sacrament in accordance with canon 914 of the Code of Canon Law which states: “It is
    primarily the duty of parents, and those who take the place of parents, as well as the duty
    of the pastors, to take care that children who have reached the use of reason are prepared
    properly and, after they have made sacramental confession, are refreshed with this divine food as soon as possible.” (Cf. CIC, c. 914; CCC, no. 1457).

  9. Rich Leonardi says:

    FYI, it appears the Courier has closed comments and “likes” for this story on facebook, perhaps because of the … debate started by revanchists opposed to Bishop Matano’s welcome new policies.

  10. brother of penance says:

    So far I have read only His Excellency’s letter of introduction to the guidelines.

    Wow! The letter itself is an informative and inspiring teaching document that moved my heart and mind to praise, adore and joyfully give thanks to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

    Bishop Matano’s insights, knowledge of revealed truth, love for the Lord God and His Holy People powerfully provide His Ecellency with the grace to fulfill his priestly and episcopal ministry on our behalf; on behalf of the Diocese of Rochester. How so good of God to bring him to us!

    Thank you, Bishop Matano, for such an inspiring letter of introduction which undoubtedly is evangelizing and catechizing it’s readers in ways that only God’s Holy Spirit knows and dynamically can bring forth fruitful life.

    Let each of us be grateful for our bishop’s devoted dedication and faithfulness to the Lord Jesus Christ and to His One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church.

    Saint Therese de Lisieux, priez pour nous.

  11. y2kscotty says:

    The Profession of Faith that the Bishop has provided does not appear to be the one that was floating around here several weeks ago. It’s close – but the wording is different, if I remember correctly. I have to look it up.

    I know in the USA, the posture during the Eucharistic Prayer is to kneel – but in Canada, as I experienced it in Ottawa a few weeks ago, people stand – and kneel only at the Epiclesis and Words of Institution. Frankly, this is hardly worth getting all upset about.

  12. Ben Anderson says:

    I know in the USA, the posture during the Eucharistic Prayer is to kneel – but in Canada, as I experienced it in Ottawa a few weeks ago, people stand – and kneel only at the Epiclesis and Words of Institution. Frankly, this is hardly worth getting all upset about.

    I’d mostly agree except that in the US we’re supposed to kneel after the Agnus Dei, right? Or it’s left up to the ordinary in the diocese (I can’t remember exactly). I’m not sure it’s that big of a deal one way or the other, but where I think it matters is in unity of worship. If a small % of people kneel, but most people stand, what am I supposed to do? If it’s the required kneeling parts (from the Sanctus to the Great Amen), I will kneel even if I’m the only one kneeling and there are no kneelers. It’s worth breaking unity of posture to honor Our Lord in that case. In the other case (after the Agnus Dei), which is proper to do? Is it better to preserve unity and stand with everyone else? What if there are some people kneeling? It would be good to have some direction here. I doubt most people care that much one way or the other and will do what they are told (I will).

    There are a few others I have similar confusion on. eg when to stand after the “Orate Fratres” – that one is really confusing.

  13. Bernie says:

    Ben & Y2scotty and others: If I’m a visitor I do what the home crowd does. I will, however, always kneel at the Consecration beginning at the Epiclesis. Then, rise after the Mystery of Faith. That’s pretty much universal around the world (and the way I think it should be) and not uncommon even where the congregations mostly stand throughout the Eucharistic Prayer. At the “Pray brethren” I do as the locals but –at least in the Rochester Diocese– I think we are suppose to stand at the invitation to pray. Some parishes still kneel. At the “Agnus Dei” I believe that in the Rochester Diocese we are to remain standing. Once again, some parishes kneel. I do as the locals. Generally speaking, I am of the opinion that we should kneel whenever the Sacrament is presented (revealed) to the congregation.

  14. y2kscotty says:

    The “standard” Profession of Faith says,
    “With firm faith, I also believe everything contained in the word of God, whether written or handed down in Tradition, which the Church, either by a solemn judgment or by the ordinary and universal Magisterium, sets forth to be believed as divinely revealed.

    “I also firmly accept and hold each and everything definitively proposed by the Church regarding teaching on faith and morals.

    “Moreover, I adhere with religious submission of will and intellect to the teachings which either the Roman Pontiff or the College of Bishops enunciate when they exercise their authentic Magisterium, even if they do not intend to proclaim these teachings by a definitive act.”

    Bishop Matano’s version says,
    “Also, I believe and profess all that the Holy Catholic Church believes, teaches and proclaims to be revealed by God.”

    Has the Bishop weakened the Profession of Faith? It looks like he has provided “wiggle room.”

  15. Beans123 says:

    Taken directly from the USCCB:

    Should people stand or kneel during the Eucharistic Prayer?
    This is answered in the General Instruction of the Roman Missal, number 43:

    In the Dioceses of the United States of America, they should kneel beginning after the singing or recitation of the Sanctus (Holy, Holy, Holy) until after the Amen of the Eucharistic Prayer, except when prevented on occasion by ill health, or for reasons of lack of space, of the large number of people present, or for another reasonable cause. However, those who do not kneel ought to make a profound bow when the Priest genuflects after the Consecration. The faithful kneel after the Agnus Dei (Lamb of God) unless the Diocesan Bishop determines otherwise.

    Some people hold hands during the Lord’s Prayer, while others hold their hands out like the priest. Is there a prescribed posture for the Our Father?
    No position is prescribed in the Roman Missal for an assembly gesture during the Lord’s Prayer.

  16. militia says:

    Rochester is one of the few dioceses in the country where people stand for the “Lord I am not Worthy” and that is because Bishop Clark decided to waive kneeling at that point. But if you go to the Carmelite Monastery on Jefferson Rd. you find they are kneeling at that point, and in a few other places too. I continue to pray that Bishop Matano will change these rubrics back to what most dioceses do, for a higher level sign of unity. Also, children can see a lot more when people kneel, as they can stand on the kneelers. But when everybody is standing the children and short people are at a disadvantage. It doesn’t matter so much during the Gospel, as we are “hearing” the Gospel and it is not so important to see the priest or deacon. But being able to see the Eucharistic consecration and to see the elevation of the host (after the Angus Dei) is important to participation. I always kneel at that point, even if my view is blocked. How can I not bend my knee in worship without feeling guilty? As far as local custom, how can one justify following it when at the name of “Jesus” nobody in the Church is bowing their head?

  17. christian says:

    There should be pews with kneelers in all of the churches in the Diocese if kneeling is made compulsory. There are movable chairs with no kneelers, and there are chairs with wimpy kneelers attached to the back of a movable chairs for the person sitting directly behind, in very close proximity, to kneel on. In some churches, all of the seating is movable chairs with no wimpy kneelers or chairs with wimpy kneelers, and in other churches, there are pews with sturdy kneelers, or an option of movable chairs with or without wimpy kneelers and pews.
    I am all for kneeling, but figure if someone wants me and others to kneel, they would make pews with sturdy kneelers available.
    Note: There are some people who are not able to kneel. I think a reverent bow of the head while sitting suffices.

    Those who are in charge of making seating accommodations in churches of our Diocese seem to have no idea of the inconvenience and harm they have created when they have taken away all of the pews and have left parishioners with folding chairs and/or lightweight chairs for worship.
    1st – It is inconvenient for a mother and/or father to maintain and control especially small children with all of the family members sitting in individual folding chairs or lightweight chairs. Can you imagine the scenario. It would also be inconvenient trying to maintain a baby in a carry cradle while sitting in a folding chair or lightweight chair.
    2nd – (But not least). People with mobility issues prefer a bolted down pew to be able to grab and steady themselves in sitting down, and to grab and push off from in being able to stand up. A bolted down pew also accommodates those using a cane or walker. Ask someone who uses a walker or cane their experience of trying to get up from a folding chair or a lightweight movable chair while they are attending mass or another church service. (At least it is not as difficult for them if the chair is weighted down and not so likely to move).
    By replacing all of the bolted down pews in a church with folding chairs or lightweight movable chairs, those in church leadership have essentially eliminated a significant percentage of their parishioners from two segments of the church population. (There additionally are others who leave because they prefer bolted down pews for worship).
    *But one or more staff persons in a parish with degree(s) in Theology which they feel qualifies them in all matters pertaining to worship, are able to make these type decisions in removing all of the bolted down pews and replacing them with folding chairs or lightweight movable chairs, without parishioner input, resulting in eliminating a significant amount of the parish population.

  18. y2kscotty says:

    Regarding kneelers: if they are to be mandated (for those very few places that don’t have them), the kneelers should be such that they don’t make noise if they are “dropped”. It is irritating when people just let the kneeler drop hard to the floor! I have noticed that in the Episcopal churches they seem to have big cushions to kneel on.

  19. catholicmom says:

    from Catholic Courier June 12, 2003

    * It is proper to stand through the Agnus Dei (“Lamb of God”) and continue standing until getting in line to receive Communion. This is arguably the stretch of Mass when confusion over posture has been greatest. Although the updated GIRM calls for kneeling during “Behold the Lamb of God/Lord I am not worthy,” it also gives local bishops the option of making their own regulation for this portion of Mass. In this instance, Bishop Clark has approved a recommendation from the diocesan Liturgical Commission for the congregation to remain standing. The overriding philosophy, Workmaster said, is “to not break the posture of unity. There has to be a common posture.”

    Perhaps there was an update after this article appeared. I am not sure if the practice of standing was ever “mandated,” but rather “approved.”

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