I walked into a spartan, large room that could easily pass for a multi-purpose room within a YMCA. A simple, modernistic altar was in the front and behind it was a cross that really looked more like a "plus" sign. There was no image of Jesus on the plus sign. What further concerned me was that there were upholstered chairs scattered around the room, missing something that I thought was pretty important. There were no kneelers. And yes, the irony is not lost on me that I ended up leaving the Catholic Church at age twenty to worship in some of the blandest "multi-purpose" rooms around, courtesy of the non-denominational church.
Since my return, I've visited several other parishes in my hometown. (I'm up to 9.) One, which not surprisingly, is the "university" parish, also did not have kneelers. When the time came for the consecration, I knelt and was touched to see a man and his son kneel in front of me.
A Bishop in St. Louis communicated in a private letter to a local pastor that the parishioners were to kneel during the consecration. The church does not have kneelers.
What I would like to know is this: what is the justification for not kneeling during such a somber and holy moment? If a parish removed the kneelers, what was the reason why? I've heard that the Catholic Church in the early days had all the parishioners standing during consecration, so I realize it may not have been a consistent practice in our history. But still, my thought is if we have the resources now to retain kneelers, why aren't they in every church? Was this a part of the "wreckovation" some refer to when some of our most architecturally beautiful altars were destroyed in the 60's and 70's to make way for the abominable, ugly, altars that were supposedly the result of the "new life" that Vatican II brought?
All I know is that I still get teary-eyed when the consecration occurs and am in awe of God's provision for a Perfect Sacrifice. To be honest, if there was room, I would rather bow low, prostrate on the ground than kneel. It is that holy and in my opinion, we're on hallowed ground at that point in the liturgy.
What do you think? Catholic apologists, I especially appreciate hearing from you on this issue.