From the Vice-Chairman of the Bishops' Conference Pastoral Liturgy Committee, Dr Donald Withey
Sir, Fr Richard Barrett makes some interesting points about whether the people should stand for the Eucharistic Prayer as the deacon does, especially in his discussion of a sentence in Hippolytus.
suggest, however, that there are two considerations which are of more significance here. Firstly, posture should have some relationship with the type of prayer and worship which is being offered. We sit to listen to the first two readings and stand to hear the words of Our Lord himself proclaimed in the gospel. Standing to proclaim our faith in the creed seems highly appropriate. Kneeling seems the most appropriate posture for private prayer, for petitionary prayer, and for penitential prayer. And yet we customarily stand for the Penitential Rite at the beginning of Mass and for the General Intercessions towards the end of the Liturgy of the Word.
The Penitential Rite is not intended to be a protracted rite, and as the people are standing for the Greeting before it and for the opening prayer after it, it seems not unreasonable to remain standing throughout this section of the Liturgy of the Word. Standing for the General Intercessions is perhaps based on standing for the Solemn Prayers on Good Friday.
Posture during the Eucharistic Prayer is particularly important. The long-standing custom of kneeling as soon as the Sanctus is fmished probably developed when the canon became silent and the people were left to their own devotions. Now that the Eucharistic