Why Doesn't Pope Francis Kneel Before the Blessed Sacrament?

Torch of The Faith News on Thursday 02 June 2016 - 11:59:38 | by admin

Pope St. John Paul II kneeling in adoration before the Blessed Sacrament aboard the Corpus Christi motorcade through Rome.

Breaking Traditions and Hearts

We stopped watching EWTN's coverage of the annual Corpus Christi papal motorcade through Rome after the 2014 event.

The previous year, Pope Francis had already broken with his predecessors' tradition of kneeling before the Real Presence of Jesus in the Most Holy Eucharist in adoration, during the motorized procession, in order to process with the crowds of people instead.

In 2014, Pope Francis left many Romans feeling disappointed, and even hurt, by actually going as far as to stay put during the entire progress of the procession. Contemporary reports suggested that - whilst two vested deacons took Pope Francis' place before the Monstrance on board the papal vehicle, and the crowds followed on behind - people complained, and even openly wept, at Pope Francis' unprecedented actions.

Some folks were still not reassured when a report was put out that Pope Francis had not taken part in the procession in order to rest himself for his, then, forthcoming trip to Calabria. After all, could he not simply have knelt in the motorcade as his two immediate predecessors had done?
Pope Benedict XVI kneeling in adoration before the Blessed Sacrament during another Corpus Christi motorcade through Rome.

Who Can Stand in the Presence of the Lord? (1 Samuel 6:20)

In addition to these aspects of the 2014 procession, the way that Pope Francis conducted the concluding Eucharistic Adoration and Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament that year put us off ever watching again during his papacy.

The objective problem was that he disregarded the red velvet kneeler, which had been placed before the Altar, in order to remain standing in the presence of the Monstrance; both at the start of the procession and when the procession returned for the concluding rites. This is simply unprecedented. I actually wept when I saw it happening live via the television satellite. More subjectively, his demeanour did not seem to us all that one might hope from a reigning Pontiff during the beautiful feast in honour of the Real Presence of Our Lord at Corpus Christi.

More than those subjective responses, which may have been mistaken on our part, it was that objective fact that Pope Francis did not kneel once before the Blessed Sacrament, during the whole of the Corpus Christi ceremony, which decided us to avoid the televised event during the rest of his pontificate. Quite simply, we did not want the beauty and peace that we had encountered in local liturgical celebrations of the feast to be marred by witnessing such a spectacle again. And so we did not watch in 2015 or last week in 2016. And we therefore enjoyed peaceful and faith-strengthening feast days.

That being said, we have just learned from Christopher Ferrara's latest article on Fatima Network Perspectives that Pope Francis again declined to kneel before the sacred Monstrance this year, even though a velvet kneeler had again been provided.

And so we have the spectacle of Pope Francis standing up, whilst the priests and altar boys all around him kneel in humble reverence. In a piece entitled Another Bad Sign: A Pope Who Will Not Kneel Before the Eucharistic Lord, Mr. Ferrara points out that, in this, we are dealing with yet another sign of a papacy like no other before it.
Corpus Christi in Rome on the 26th May, 2016: Pope Francis remains standing, even during the incensing of the Blessed Sacrament, whilst the majority of bishops, priests and all the altar boys kneel reverently, and according to the rubrics, before the exposed Blessed Sacrament on the Altar.

A Troubling Pattern

In his article, Mr. Ferrara reminds us that Pope Francis has consistently declined to kneel before the Blessed Sacrament - the Eucharistic Lord - even when offering Holy Mass himself.

It is not, it would seem, that Pope Francis is physically unable to kneel. For example, as the pictures below give evidence, he has been more than willing to kneel for prolonged periods in order to be prayed over by ''charismatics'' or to wash the feet of Muslims, lay women and people identifying themselves as ''transgenders''.
Pope Francis spends a prolonged time kneeling next to a papal throne in order for ''charismatics'' to pray for him.

That this failure to kneel before the Blessed Sacrament is not a new phenomenon for Pope Francis becomes clear by perusing the contents of an open letter to him from a lady called Lucricia Rego de Planas of Huixquilucan, Mexico, on the 23rd September 2013. This moving letter was translated and reproduced by Rod Pead in the April 2014 edition of England's Christian Order magazine.

In that letter, Lucricia spoke of meeting, the then, Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio several times at conference meetings over a 12-year period in the cities of Central and South America. At one point in her letter, she notes: ''I was struck and puzzled that you never acted like the other cardinals and bishops... you were the only one there that did not genuflect before the tabernacle or during the Consecration.''

In addition to these instances, we well remember the video of the pre-Easter papal retreat at Ariccia, which Laurence England posted up at That the Bones You Have Crushed in March 2014. Like Laurence and many others who viewed that footage, we were disturbed to notice that Pope Francis did not genuflect before the tabernacle in the video sequence highlighted. When someone suggested that Pope Francis may be suffering from arthritis, Laurence replied: ''I guess that when His Holiness kneels down to wash lady Muslim prisoner's feet, the condition eases off a little.''
Holy Thursday 2016: Pope Francis kneels to wash the feet of a Muslim man. In previous years he had disregarded the - then standing - rubrics to kneel and wash the feet of women, Muslims and someone identifying as ''transgender''.

An Inability to Kneel?

The spirited Italian journalist Antonio Socci has recently written a courageous article at his blog Lo Straniero, in which he asks outright: ''Father Bergoglio, do you have a problem with the Holy Eucharist? Do you not know that in Christian spirituality the inability to kneel is seen as the very essence of the diabolical?'' 

In relation to this, I always remember my late friend Fr. Mike Williams telling me about Archbishop Thomas Olmstead's articles in the Catholic Sun during February and March 2005. In those articles, His Grace had recalled the experiences of the desert father Abba Apollo some 1,700 years ago. When the Devil came to tempt the renowned desert father, Apollo noticed that the Devil had no knees; for he is the original Non Serviam - He will not serve or kneel! The Archbishop wrote: ''The devil has no knees; he cannot kneel; he cannot adore; he cannot pray; he can only look down his nose in contempt. Being unwilling to bend the knee at the name of Jesus is the essence of evil (Cf. Is 45:23, Romans 14:11)''.

New Blows to Old Wounds

All of this is quite close to home for me after my experiences at Ushaw seminary in the late 90's. As I have said before we were not only not permitted to kneel for Holy Communion, but we were not even allowed to kneel for the Consecration during Holy Mass. In that environment I experienced bullying for bowing towards the altar at the Consecration and for trying my best after Mass to gather up the countless large crumbs of the crumbling and powdery loaves that were used for the Blessed Sacrament. Although those experiences, and others much worse still - some of which seemed to have had a preternatural component - have left me with deep interior wounds, I was at least able to kneel when I returned to the seminary as a married man - I was never ordained - 5 years later for some friends' ordination as transitional deacons.

At the start of that ordination Mass in St. Cuthbert's chapel, an announcement was made to suggest that it was the Ushaw ''tradition'' not to kneel for the Consecration. When Angie and I knelt at the Consecration regardless of this faux ''tradition'', one of the worst of the spiritual bullies on the staff looked straight over at me. Although I had not seen him for 5 years, the sense of terror was still there. Nevertheless, as I gazed up at the Sacred Host, I thought to myself about that bullying modernist: ''Yes, sir, by God's grace you will never again stop me from kneeling in adoration before my God!''

Related Instances

In the context of the overall discussion of the refusal to kneel, and its possible relationship to the influence of the diabolical, Antonio Socci wonders why Pope Francis would seem to suggest to the woman in the Lutheran temple in Rome that the Catholic dogma of Transubstantiation was a mere interpretation or explanation in contrast with the Lutheran ''view''.

Socci also recalls the direct attack on the integrity of the Blessed Sacrament which has transpired under the guise of ''mercy'' encouraged by the ambiguous sections of Amoris Laetitia.

Indeed, Mr. Ferrara draws further attention to the much reported - and never denied - telephone conversation which a divorced/re-''married'' Argentinian woman claimed to have had with Pope Francis. The said woman claimed that Pope Francis had told her to ignore the advice of her parish priest and to thus receive Holy Communion elsewhere, because ''a little bread and wine does no harm''. If these scandalously sacrilegious words were not a true account of the conversation, why would the Holy See's Press Office, so quick to deny Fr. Ingo Dollinger's recent statements about Fatima, fail to deny it?


In the end we can only add our own voices to Christopher Ferarra's serious question: ''What are we to make of a Pope who simply refuses to do what any believing Catholic does instinctively: kneel in humble submission before the Eucharistic Lord?'' Mr. Ferrara concludes that this whole issue might signify ''a new and perhaps terminal stage in the ecclesial crisis preceding its dramatic resolution - a drama that would not be without calamitous consequences for both the Church and the world.'' With Antonio Socci, he urges his readers to thus pray with intensity for Pope Francis to finally kneel with his knees and heart before the Lord: ''For the good of his soul and for the good of the Church.'' 
O Sacrament Most Holy, O Sacrament Divine - All Praise and All Thanksgiving Be Every Moment Thine!

If it were not for the many approved prophecies, and the warnings of so many popes against the heresy of Modernism, we wouldn't know what the heck is going on in Rome these days. It is indeed apocalyptic when, on top of all the other strange goings on, a reigning Pontiff consistently fails to kneel - and this over a period of several years mind - before the Real Presence of Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ in the Blessed Sacrament. And it is even more strange that in all that time, there has not been a raised voice from a single cardinal or bishop to ask the question as to why this seeming affront to Our Lord is allowed to continue publicly, to the confusion of the faithful, without any clarification ever being given or even sought.

In the same way, without those prophetic warnings of popes and approved mystics, I never would have been able to make sense of the apparent hatred of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, the Real Presence and the Catholic conception of the priesthood that was displayed by some of the key priests, lay staffers and students at Ushaw seminary during the two painful years that I spent there.

Who can doubt that this is all symptomatic of the tumultuous spiritual battle of our times?

Back in the 70's, when he was still an evangelical Protestant on his spiritual journey home to the Roman Catholic Faith - that blessed arrival would happen at Christmas in 1989 - my late and dearly missed father, Ken Houghton, pinned up a framed copy of the words from Joshua 24:15 in the family home. It read: ''As for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.''

Although I haved aired my concerned thoughts here before, I have really no idea what is actually motivating the hearts and actions of Pope Francis and his entourage in these testing days for the Catholic Church. All I can say is that, if God gives us the grace to do it, we will keep trying to live those words of Joshua 24:15 around here.

Oh, and we won't be watching any coverage of Pope Francis during the Rome Corpus Christi procession next year.

Supposing any of us are still around to see it by then...

As for me and my household, we will serve the Lord! (Joshua 24:15)