Anonymous asked realsocialskills:Do you or any of your readers have suggestions for how someone who is mobility impaired can demonstrate respect when it is conventional to stand or to kneel? I’m asking on behalf of a young-ish Catholic friend whose arthritis makes it hard to impossible to rise and kneel during the Mass. Simply not rising or kneeling and not doing anything alternative is an option, but that leaves her out of the collective show of devotion, in which she’d like to participate.realsocialskills said:On the communal level, it can help if whoever is leading the services says something like “please rise/kneel in body or spirit” to acknowledge the participation of people who can’t or shouldn’t kneel or rise.I’m not sure about on the individual level, what someone can do to symbolize their intentions. I suspect that it depends a lot on the culture.I wonder if it would work to lean forward when people kneel, and to sit up particularly straight when people stand? Then she would be moving in at least somewhat the same direction. I don’t know if that would have the symbolic weight that she wants it to have, though.Are any of y’all Catholics with mobility impairments? Do you have ways you’ve found to demonstrate respect during the Mass when others stand or kneel?Have any of y’all who are from any religious background in which body positioning you can’t do safely is part of your tradition found alternative symbolism that works for you?
Leaning forward for prayer and sitting up straight for standing is what people at my church do (most of the people who go there are retired, and many of them are elderly).
My dad usually invites people to “sit or kneel as you are able” to allow for those who can’t kneel, and he also brings the Sacrament to people who are unable to approach the rail for the Eucharist.
(We are Anglican. It’s similar to Catholic but may not be close enough for this to be an option that priests would even consider. Also, I don’t go to my dad’s church, he lives in a different city. But he’s always done what I said above. He’s an Anglican priest.)