John Lilburne's journal about Archbishop Hart's saying "Please sit" for the Kyrie and Gloria.


About John Lilburne


A discussion with Archbishop Hart on standing of 29 July 2001


1955 K Sun 28 Apr 2002

Today, at Eucharist in Melbourne, Archbishop Hart said two things I remember as particularly dramatic and important. The first was that his father had died earlier this morning. The second was after the "I Confess" when he said "Please sit" before he sat for the Kyrie and Gloria.

In the past he has sat without saying "Please sit". Most people have sat, but I have remained standing. Standing is what the liturgical books, the Roman Missal and Ceremonial of Bishops say should happen. Today I followed his instruction to sit.

I wrote to him about this during the week, in this letter.

I have mixed feelings about him saying "Please sit" and me sitting.

Positive feelings:

Its not much fun standing when everyone is sitting, confronting an archbishop and the congregation with the message -- what you are doing is wrong. Its a little lonely.

My letter and standing has had some effect.

By the Archbishop saying "Please sit" he is making it clear that unusual practice of sitting for the Kyrie and Gloria is his initiative and responsibility. When "everyone" sat it was harder for me to communicate why that was happening.

Negative feelings:

Sitting for the Kyrie and Gloria is wrong. People have a right to have the liturgy conducted according to the liturgical books. That is not happening.

By standing I was able to communicate my opposition. Sitting gives the impression of agreement with it.

Should I sit when he says "Please sit"? According to the Study Translation of the 2000 General Instruction of the Roman Missal:

43. .... For the sake of observing a uniformity in gestures and posture during the same celebration, the faithful should obey the directions which the deacon or a lay person or the priest give during the celebration, according to whatever is indicated in the liturgical books.

The problem is which to follow if the priest contradicts the liturgical books. The Latin text is slightly different in the 2002 General Instruction to the 2000 General Instruction, the changed word is bold.

43. .... Ad uniformitatem in gestibus et corporis habitibus in una eademque celebratione obtinendam, fideles monitionibus obtemperent, quas diaconus, vel minister laicus, vel sacerdos proferunt, iuxta ea quae in Missali statuuntur.

For this issue I do not think the changes make much difference. The word "Missali" was "libris liturgicis"; "eademque" was "eadem". Two words have been removed that were after "sacerdos": "durante celebratione".

If the Roman Missal is not followed there will be problems. I see this as a clear example of it. Hopefully Archbishop Hart will come to see that as well.

Copyright J.R. Lilburne, 28 April 2002.