QUAERITUR: Does kneeling for Communion show a “spirit of disobedience”?

From a reader:

Our new pastor recently published a letter in the bulletin [I've cut that out in order to "anonymize" this.] in which he uses the GIRM [General Instruction on the Roman Missal] to argue that those who genuflect before or kneel while receiving Holy Communion do so incorrectly or, at least implicitly, in a spirit of disobedience. He seems to emphasize “avoiding private inclinations” while ignoring “the traditional practice of the Roman Rite”, and he also seems to overemphasize the idea of being in Communion with each other to the detriment of being in Communion with Christ. His pushy attitude really does not sit well with me. But this instance does raise the question: Is the GIRM defective to some degree, or is this just a poor interpretation of it? As for me, this just makes me more obstinate in my desire to be that stubborn, ‘disobedient’ guy who kneels for Communion.

His citation (in the letter to which I did not link) of GIRM 160 is to point, but I think the norm is descriptive rather than prescriptive.

The norm is that Holy Communion is received standing, but Holy Communion will not be denied to those who kneel.  Father describes his opinion about why we should all receive Holy Communion in exactly the same way (Jawohl!).

Think of it this way.  Let’s say that I have a preference for green vestments that are a robust forest green. As a matter of fact, I think all priests should wear vestments of that shade of green rather than the other 50 shades of green.  Furthermore, I don’t think they should even want to wear apple, chartreuse, or lime green.  They should conform to my will.  My hypothetical opinion on forest green is, however, just my opinion. It is not the law. The law requires “green”.

“But Father! But Father!”, some of you may be saying, “Are there norms for receiving Communion?”

For reception of Holy Communion, the law requires that the faithful be in a state of grace, free from any canonical penalty, and not persisting in manifest grave sin (see Canon 915).

Perhaps it would be better for parish priests to be first and foremost vigilant about observing those norms before they start imposing their personal preference about uniformity of posture.

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56 Responses to QUAERITUR: Does kneeling for Communion show a “spirit of disobedience”?

  1. Imrahil says:

    If that wouldn’t look like improportionate punishment I’d advise anybody who has a stark preference for uniformity to get some basic military training (especially the march-in-step). Dear @Fr Z’s change of language is spot on.

    Needless to say, unity is (in its place) a good thing, uniformity is a symbol of it, and a march-in-step does make you feel good (if you’re not all the time getting your heels kicked or kick your frontman’s heels, but I disgress). But ask a soldier: he just will not wish for that all of the time and without exception.

    Thankfully, Catholicism (that’s one of the reasons it is called so) is primarily about variety, not uniformity. (I’d, for clarification, say variety within the necessary boundaries. But then practically, it’s precisely the heresies that fix themselves on one point.)

    That being said, in principle a disuniformity at precisely this part of the Holy Mass is unfortunate. But while there is no reason to say Communion in the hand is disrespectful (if not against the Church ordinances; note that the huge amount of private revelation against it, in practically all cases, predates the indult), I see little reason to say that Communion in the hand is better, or that kneeling communion is just another private act of worship (for which it is not totally impossible to be superfluous): it is the appropriate expression (at least within the Western rites) for the worship and adoration in which we receive Holy Communion.

    Now I don’t think much of the idea of having to give up the better form for the sake of uniformity.

  2. Ben Trovato says:

    I think one could make a stronger case that kneeling for Holy Communion shows a spirit of Obedience. Obedience, that is, to the Scriptures (I mean, if at the name of Jesus, every knee shall bow, how much more so at His gift of Himself…); to the tradition of the Church; to the duty of piety; to one’s own conscience…

  3. JonPatrick says:

    Yes we must quash these rebellious traditionalists that refuse to receive standing or hold hands at the Our Father, and act anti-social after Mass by praying after Mass instead of socializing with their fellow worshippers. In the meantime the Magisterium of Nuns can advocate for women priests for years without a peep until recently. I’m glad the church has its priorities in order.

  4. Fuquay Steve says:

    Sad, very sad. Pray for our priests.

  5. Legisperitus says:

    Expanding a bit on Ben Trovato:

    The virtue of obedience is a subcategory of the cardinal virtue of Justice. But so are the virtues of piety and religion. By giving God the reverence that is due to Him, we fulfill the demands of Justice.

    We can err in obedience, either by defect or by excess. One could argue that to obey a human mandate to deny God the best display of reverence and worship we can make would be an excess of obedience that in effect denies Justice.

  6. albizzi says:

    I remember a parish priest who explained that standing while receiving Communion is a way of displaying the dignity of the man in front of God.
    “Domine non sum dignus…”

  7. Maria says:

    Thank you Father Z for this post. I really like the way you get straight to the point.
    I am sure I will always visit your Blog so long as it runs and as long as I am able to access it.
    Personally, I LOVE kneeling before The Lord during Mass.
    I know this is more of a technical issue about how things should be done, but isn’t this Pastor being a little overscrupulous.
    When we receive The Body and Blood Our Lord, I hold The Host on the roof of my mouth and do not open my mouth again until after I have consumed The Host completely; – kneeling, praying, closing my eyes, and often needing to shut ‘the world’ out with ‘excuse me’s’ whilst I have to clamber over people to get back to my place in the pew, which I find distracting.
    Also, I have time to build up moisture in order to not choke on The Host and swallow it gently and with deep gratitude and thought. This, to me is the most important moment of my life, receiving Our Lord, and a very precious and personal moment.
    I notice that many people (usually those who have been Catholic all their lives) cross themselves straight after they receive, but at my RCIA, we were not taught to do so, just a simple ‘Amen” and so I do this and do not cross myself. However, likewise I dare not judge how others commune with Our Lord. It is between them and Jesus Christ – yet if The Pope says we are to do something a certain way, then I hope our Church will do as he guides.
    I find some criticisms not helpful to deleoping our relationship with Jesus Christ when they are too much geared to ‘political correctness’.

  8. NescioQuid says:

    So what does this priest think about the Holy Father only giving communion on the tongue to those kneeling, as he did when he said mass at Westminster Cathedral in London 2010. Is he willing to issue an edict against the Holy Father I wonder…!

  9. Federico says:

    Is father aware the GIRM was recently revised? Because in 2010 a new edition of the GIRM was approved for use in the United States, and the old language “was altered to reinforce an individual’s right to kneel for the reception of Holy Communion.</strong” (United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, “Approved U.S. Adaptations to the Revised Roman Missal,” Newsletter of the Committee on Divine Worship 46 [August-­?September 2010]: 33) So the USCCB here acknowledged the right existed before but now it's "stronger."

    The new text is:
    “the norm established for the Dioceses of the United States of America is that Holy Communion is to be received standing, unless an individual member of the faithful wishes to receive Communion while kneeling.”

    I just don't see how this old, tired argument comes up again and again. I can only think it's because priests haven't read some of this recent material.

  10. Federico says:

    I hate it when I get HTML tags wrong….

    Is father aware the GIRM was recently revised? Because in 2010 a new edition of the GIRM was approved for use in the United States, and the old language “was altered to reinforce an individual’s right to kneel for the reception of Holy Communion.” (United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, “Approved U.S. Adaptations to the Revised Roman Missal,” Newsletter of the Committee on Divine Worship 46 [August-­September 2010]: 33) So the USCCB here acknowledged the right existed before but now it’s “stronger.”

    The new text is:
    “the norm established for the Dioceses of the United States of America is that Holy Communion is to be received standing, unless an individual member of the faithful wishes to receive Communion while kneeling.”
    I just don’t see how this old, tired argument comes up again and again. I can only think it’s because priests haven’t read some of this recent material.

  11. Texas trad says:

    An elderly N.O. priest told me recently that the worst thing to happen to the mass was Communion in the hand and removal of Communion rails. He said those must be restored as an act of reparation to God for the dreadful disrespect now seen in many New Order Masses. He no longer allows Communion in the hand and Communion is received kneeling. His parishioners actually prefer it this way. His Confirmation classes teach only Communion in the hand. Let the chips fall where they may, he will not go back to the novelties which have led to so much disrespect at the altar. Not a word from the chancery, because the people in the area agree with the priest and are coming to his masses. He is very brave. I am so glad he is not under Cardinal Wuerl!!

  12. Scott W. says:

    Write your bishop please, because this is a case of a priest indulging in in a public display of rash judgement. Since neither the facts nor the law is on his side, he resorts to scrying and impugning other people’s motives and someone ought to call foul.

  13. acardnal says:

    he also seems to overemphasize the idea of being in Communion with each other to the detriment of being in Communion with Christ.,/em>

    This is an unfortunate and incorrect understanding. The Eucharist is Jesus Christ, the second Person of the Holy Trinity. I consume the Body and Blood to commune with Jesus (not with each of my fellow communicants) in the most intimate way and this is why it is called HOLY Communion.

  14. acardnal says:

    Boy! I did the same thing as Frederico.

    he also seems to overemphasize the idea of being in Communion with each other to the detriment of being in Communion with Christ.

    This is an unfortunate and incorrect understanding. The Eucharist is Jesus Christ, the second Person of the Holy Trinity. I consume the Body and Blood to commune with Jesus (not with each of my fellow communicants) in the most intimate way and this is why it is called HOLY Communion.

  15. robtbrown says:

    The aforementioned priest is a good example that many priests, esp. in the US, are little else than what the seminary told them to be. Part of the reason is that US seminaries in the 70′s and 80′s pushed anyone out who didn’t toe the liberal line. Any mention of Latin liturgy by someone studying for the priesthood meant that he would soon be told he didn’t have a vocation to the priesthood.

    There are certain exceptions, like Fr Sotelo, who did a lot of reading on their own.

  16. Jamin says:

    My question to this priest would be this: If the interpretation of GIRM 42 is for absolute conformity in action, then why is an option given for receiving on the tongue or in the hand. Yet, in fact GIRM 42 calls for uniformity in posture and GIRM 43 goes on to explain what that uniformity is to be, speaking of the generality of standing from the entrance chant to the end of the collect, for the alleluia through the Gospel, etc. etc. It also seems to give variance in stating: “they may sit or kneel during the period of silence after Communion.” Thus, giving an option even in the midst of calling for uniformity. GIRM 44 says that processions etc. must be done with Decorum according to the norms laid down for each. In fact, the purpose of these three instructions are clearly so that “Attention [is] paid to what is determined by this General Instruction and by traditional practice of the Roman Rite and to what serves the common spiritual good of the People of God, rather than private inclination or arbitrary choice.” (Say the black do the red)
    So, looking at GIRM 160, though the wording is slightly different on receiving standing or kneeling and on receiving in the hand or on the tongue, there is not substantial difference in the wording, for the individual. The norms lay out that “Holy Communion is to be received standing, UNLESS AN INDIVIDUAL MEMBER OF THE FAITHFUL WISHES TO RECEIVE COMMUNION WHILE KNEELING.” Following the norm it is up to the individual member of the faithful and not the priest, deacon or anyone else. The uniform action of the faithful is found in the procession, in the fact that their is a sign of reverence and in the reception of the Eucharist. If this priest sees that uniformity is the highest priority, then I hope he petitions the USCCB to petition the Vatican to unify all these aspects. (But, then maybe he would be disappointed if the Vatican came back and said all must receive kneeling and on the tongue.)

  17. RuralVirologist says:

    Scenario 1: Priest dislikes disunity caused by someone insisting on kneeling; or priest is a liberal and dislikes kneeling because it’s traditional. Parishioner insists on kneeling. Parishioner is making the issue about ME, and not about the Eucharist. Priest refuses to give Communion to said kneeling parishioner. Priest is partly disregarding Pope Benedict’s wishes, partly just being pig-headed back at the parishioner, but perhaps partly trying to nip disorder and chaos in the bud.

    Scenario 2: Priest wishes to enhance the reverence for the Eucharist in a parish where the people are lax and/or liberals, and he encourages the more traditional-minded who want to kneel with their mantillas on to kneel with their mantillas on. Now it’s only 30% about ME, and 70% about something more important than ME.

  18. Indulgentiam says:

    I am willing to bet a substantial amount that where our Lord to appear to this Priest the very least he would do is fall on his knees. If you believe that in the Eucharist you ARE in the presence of Almighty God then you kneel. If you do not kneel then it is b/c you do not believe. Simple test—ask yourself If the Lord suddenly appeared before you would you kneel? At every Mass He surely appears before you. To kneel before the presence of the Almighty in the Eucharist is to NOT be a hypocrit.

  19. bernadette says:

    I am so happy that I now live near a parish that has its original altar rails and everyone receives Communion kneeling and on the tongue, not only at the EF but at the OF as well. I don’t think I could ever go back to the other way.

  20. Indulgentiam says:

    Suburbanbanshee— are you saying that our female ancestors would not recognize the practice of females covering their heads before Almighty God? I know I probably misunderstood you. It’s monday, I’ve only had 1 cup of coffee, I’m not the brightest bulb in the box etc. etc. [Head coverings is not part of this discussion.]

  21. JayneK says:

    Here is a video clip in which Cardinal Arinze explains the situation: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ap1KL2D5ae4
    To summarize: The norm and tradition of the Roman Church is to receive kneeling and this is the default unless the Bishops’ Conference of an area declares its norm to be standing and receives permission from the Vatican to do this. When the US Bishops asked to make their norm standing the “recognitio” was granted on the condition that anyone who wished to receive kneeling was allowed to. Cardinal Arinze explicitly states in this video that nobody has a right to tell people who receive kneeling that they are being disobedient.

    This should be explained to the priest and if, he persists in disobeying, he should be reported to his bishop.

  22. Jael says:

    Suburbanbanshee: Well said! Also, those who wear lace chapel veils [Rabbit hole.]

  23. Imrahil says:

    Dear @RuralVirologist,

    in Scenario 1 the priest may (blamelessly) share a misconception very common among moral men, viz. that good morality is by definition antiegoism.

    In reality, egoism is defined as being willing to exalt one’s self to the point of sinning. So, as you need sin to define egoism but not egoism to define sin, it’s the other way round.

    In reality, the only time where you can say the recipient is egoistic is when he intentionally and purposely wants to set a sign of his own orthodoxy (nor also of an impersonal “it should be like this, and I just don’t care if noone else does it like this” – this is legitimate). I do guess this appears seldom enough.

  24. Sissy says:

    In RCIA, I was forcefully advised that standing was the “correct” way to receive because it promotes a sense of community with ones brothers and sisters. The DRE asked “Do you really want to give the appearance of kneeling to a king, or wouldn’t you rather stand in solidarity with the laity”? To which I replied “I’d rather show reverence to my King.” She made a face, and an EMHC helping her with the class said “You know, historically, standing was considered the greatest form of reverence you could show”. I asked him if he could direct me to a source for that statement, but I’m still waiting. Since there are no kneelers provided, and my knees are both shot (so I can’t rise without assistance), I feel peer-pressured into standing. But my inclination is to kneel.

  25. mamajen says:

    I think people should be able to kneel for communion or genuflect prior to receiving communion if they please…as long as their motivations for doing so are pure and not egotistical. Also, if they are going against parish norms, they should perhaps consider receiving after everyone else if it could potentially be disruptive. In my former parish, people who had not previously knelt decided to start doing so and nearly caused pileups in the communion queue as they unexpectedly plunged to the floor. Our priest made an announcement that bowing or genuflecting just before receiving was highly encouraged, and that helped ensure that everyone was alert as to what the person in front of them might do. But, overall, kneeling for communion was never much of a problem in my parish where most people stood…a little more difficult for the priest, perhaps, since communicants would kneel on the floor and he was standing on the step, but he didn’t mind. I do know one priest who discouraged it because he was afraid of losing his balance.

  26. Supertradmum says:

    Father, would you please join me in prayer for all those priests in Europe who stand in front of the beautiful, ornate altar rails so that we cannot use them? I cannot get up and down so easily due to a knee injury and I want to kneel again. It is so hard. God bless them, but it is so widespread as to be unbelievable.

  27. St. Epaphras says:

    An overall focus on “us” at Mass can lead to a priest stressing uniformity. Locally we have been taught over and over that we do not worship or commune as individuals but rather as “community”; therefore, “displays of individual piety” (genuflecting and kneeling were mentioned) are totally out of place during Communion. Oh — and going up to receive Communion we don’t do individually either; this is a Procession and must be uniform in every aspect. People who kneel, etc. are being Pharisaical and thinking of self rather than as being part of community.

    Hoping to live long enough to see the death of this point of view.

  28. wmeyer says:

    Jael, I understand. I am sick of those who turn up in cutoffs and t-shirts. I don’t want rigid rules, but I do think it entirely reasonable that people should dress for Mass. The priest does, why not the laity?

  29. Jael says:

    wmeyer, I agree that people should dress for Mass. I just don’t think wearing a hunk of cloth on one’s head is a necessary universal sign of piety or femininity.

  30. Gratias says:

    Impossible to receive kneeling at our Novus Ordo. No imitation of Pope Benedict XVI for us. I bow while the person in front is receiving, then receive on the tongue while standing. Widespread kneeling would greatly improve the American Church, as the new translation has.

  31. Gratias says:

    Impossible to receive kneeling at our Novus Ordo. No imitation of Pope Benedict XVI for us.

  32. Jael says:

    I realize I was unclear. The reason the FSSP chapels I have visited visually strike me as a scene from a cult movie (Not ARE a cult, just appear, look like, a cult, to a highly visual person) is because everyone is wearing the ubiquitous fad, the long chapel veil. I was not referring to hats.

  33. Joanne says:

    “Can’t you people read? I am not talking about head coverings in general. I am talking about pressure to conform, a pressure which many of you are amply demonstrating here.”

    lol @ this.

  34. departing contestant says:

    RuralVirologist and mamajen
    Our priests asked me not to kneel because it would confuse people what the correct way to receive communion is, and that the Bishop preferred that we all stand. I told him that kneeling was the correct posture for reverence and respect to the true presence and that our Holy Father said I could. My kneeling is not about me it is about my being humble and reverent before our Lord. The “ego” that is involved is my stubborn refusal to stand and go against all that I hold true. To compound matters I will only receive from a Priest; so in our church, I have to get up and walk to the back of the church. That walk is not pleasant and can be uncomfortable, whom I meet and receive and the end of the walk makes it worth-while

  35. Imrahil says:

    Well, “if you are 100% certain that this is not about you” is an unfair argument. Who can be. We may be certain about what are our actual mental intentions. But add a couple of “really”s (what is “really” behind these wishes of yours, etc.), and hey presto – you are uncertain.

    And dear @wmeyer, in addition I think it is safe to say that on a weekday (!) when it is allowed not to go to Mass at all, it is also allowed to go there in casual dress.

  36. AvantiBev says:

    I have read through all the comments and am so gratefult to God and to my patroness, St. Anne, who led me to worship Him fully at St. John Cantius in Chicago. I remember the bad old days and have my memory refreshed when I travel to areas without the TLM. But here in Chi town the wonderful Canons Regular of St. John Cantius are KEEPING IT REAL at both the N.O. in Latin and in English and at the EF Latin High Mass every Sunday at 12:30.
    The comments herein remind me how much I have to be grateful for and remind me to pray everyday in thanksgiving for our Mass and the new vocations coming to the Canons Regular each year.
    Soon we will be coming to a parish near you!

  37. St. Rafael says:

    I agree with the pastor that there should be uniformity in the reception of Communion. There should only be one way to receive Communion in the Latin rite. However the pastor has got it backwards. The uniformity should be for kneeling. Kneeeling for Communion is the tradition, norm, and custom of the Latin rite. Standing for Communion is an abomination. It was a total mistake and has been a total failure. Standing for Communion should be banned. We will have uniformity once our traditions are restored.

    The pastor is right about uniformity, but dead wrong about which practice is the correct one. He supports the novelty, the Protestant practice, the posture that has led to irreverance and apostasy in belief of the real presence in the Eucharist.

  38. St. Rafael says:

    Philippians 2:10
    “That in the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those that are in heaven, on earth, and under the earth

    St. Paul says that every knee should bow for the name of Jesus. Therefore, if every knee should bend at the mere name of Jesus, how much more should we kneel for the actual presence of Jesus in Communion? We are dealing with Christ himself; body, blood, soul, and divinity in the Eucharist. Something these clerics and liturgy nuts don’t understand.

  39. Indulgentiam says:

    I don’t understand the people who say it is ok to give God less. Just b/c someone tells you its ok to give less than your best, at ALL times, to the Almighty doesn’t mean you should. At all times we should give Him the best of all we have but most especially when we are in His House.

    Recently after attending an N.O Mass my child and I got into a discussion on kneeling vs. not kneeling. I’m asked, “how come thy don’t kneel ma?” I sent up a quick Ave Maria and asked the question, “If Pope Benedict XVI walked into that Church what do you think would have been the response of the people?” Awnsr: on a giggle “A stampede!” “So how do you think the people would have acted when the Pope approached them?” I ask. “Your supposed to kneel and kiss His Holiness ring, everybody knows that ma” (kid rolls his eyes, mom narrowly controls the urge to flick kid on the forehead). “So picture yourself in the line of people waiting to go up to greet His Holiness. You see that the people in front of you don’t kneel or kiss his ring.”— “ Why not?” kid interrupts.— “Well, you don’t know the reason, they just don’t.” I say. “Well why won’t they?” kid persists. Ok let’s fast forward because this goes on for about 10 minutes. The kid is nothing if not tenacious. So 10 minutes later I finally get to ask, “do you kneel or not?” Answr: “I kneel ma, sheesh! he’s the Pope”— I just can’t leave well enough alone so I ask, “how come you kneel in front of the Pope?” Awnsr:“Because he’s special, you know the reign of Peter!”. I ask, You mean the Chair of Peter? Yeah! and kid quotes me Matthew 16:18 in his own words “you are Peter and on this rock I will build My Church,…” my heart knocks hard against my ribs and I remember Isaiah 42:16 “I will make darkness light before them, and crooked things straight…” my past mistakes always nipping at my heels fall silent for a minute…God is so good. I continue: “So if you owe the Pope, a creature, that kind of respect what do you think you owe the Creator without Whom that creature would not be Pope, would not even be alive?” I had the privilege of seeing the light dawn in my favorite pair of brown eyes, courtesy of Our Lady to Whom I am always praying for help to teach the faith.
    I do not know a single Catholic who would refuse to kneel before the Pope. They would consider it a grave offense. How is it that they can approach the Creator of the Pope, indeed the whole reason the Pope even exists, and not worry about giving offense? Where is the man that would claim for him a privilege denied his Lord and King? Not in the Chair of Peter. Not Pope Benedict XVI that’s for sure. He will only distribute Communion kneeling and on the tongue and he has stated in no uncertain terms that it is the preferred manner. So why do I kneel? Well, I think Saint Augustine says it best.

    St. Augustine’s Prayer (1962 Misal)
    Before Thy eyes, O Lord, we bring our offenses, and we compare them with the stripes we have received.If we consider the evil we have wrought, what we suffer is little, what we deserve is great.What we have committed is very grave, what we have suffered is very slight.We feel the punishment of sin, yet withdraw not from the obstinacy of sinning.Under Thy lash our inconstancy is visited, but our sinfulness is not changed. Our suffering soul is tormented, but our neck is not bent. Our life groans under sorrow, yet mends not in deed.If Thou spare us, we correct not our ways; if Thou punish we cannot endure it.In time of correction we confess our wrong-doing; after Thy visitation we forget we have wept.If Thou stretchest forth Thy hand we promise amendment; if Thou withholdest the sword we keep not our promise.If Thou strikest we cry out for mercy: if Thou sparest we again provoke Thee to strike.Here we are before Thee, O Lord, shameless criminals: we know that unless Thou pardon we shall deservedly perish.Grant then, almighty Father, without our deserving it, the pardon we ask for; Thou who madest out of nothing those who ask Thee.Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

  40. This priest, by attributing kneeling or genuflecting to a spirit of disobedience, runs the risk of engaging in rash judgment, if he is not in fact rashly judging. He does not have a window into the soul of every person who genuflects before Communion or kneels during Communion. When I can’t kneel for Communion, I genuflect before Communion, and a big reason for genuflecting instead of bowing is that I have an old back injury that sometimes acts up and is exacerbated by bending over. So let priests put away their irritation with people who do not conform precisely: sometimes there is a reason they do not guess at.

  41. Vecchio di Londra says:

    It all seems of a piece with the other innovations – the abolition of the language of penitence, the virtual abolition of the memorial sign of the cross and the genuflection, the assertive thrusting out of arms, holding hands, standing stiffly and proudly instead of kneeling, actively grabbing instead of passively receiving the Sacrament, avoiding any sign of adoration: it amounts to ego-driven, equality-obsessed, socially conformist anthropocentric narcissism. Even Calvinism was more respectful.

  42. Will D. says:

    At my parish there is one family that receives communion kneeling, I receive genuflecting, and everybody else standing. No one has made any adverse comment that I know of. Since returning to communion, I have received the sacrament from the hands of my bishop, visiting priests, priests at other chapels in different dioceses, even an EMHC or two, and never has the minister so much as batted an eye when I genuflected to receive.
    Were I to be so unlucky as to have a priest want to make a big federal case out of kneeling or genuflecting to receive communion, I would stand out of deference and a desire to avoid making a scene. Then I would ask him to reconsider after Mass.

  43. Vecchio di Londra says:

    I’m just a little suspicious of ‘the need for a conformity of posture’ – isn’t it just shorthand for ‘everyone should do as I say’?
    Or do we hold a vote before Communion?

  44. NYer says:

    As a Roman Catholic who still recalls the pre-VCII Latin Mass and received First Communion kneeling, I truly appreciate the historical perspective of kneeling “in reverence” to receive the Body and Blood of our Lord. However, since we stand, “out of reverence”, for the reading of the Gospel, it would seem that both approaches accomplish the same goal – to reverently meet out Lord. In the Eastern Catholic Churches, communion is received standing. In fact, the congregation stands during the Consecration, again, “out of reverence”.

  45. Springkeeper says:

    I would love to kneel for Communion but my skirts are too long and I am too uncoordinated to do so without an altar rail. As a convert, I have to ask, whose idea was it to get rid of them? My old (ans very liberal) Episcopal church still has them and I think they are wonderful. Lack of Communion rails and receiving in the hand seem to go hand-in-hand to me (no pun intended) and were certainly not what I expected when I first walked into a Catholic parish. To me, we stand to honor someone and kneel in either humble obedience or contrition.

  46. AnAmericanMother says:

    Springkeeper,
    This is something they used to teach little girls (my mother taught us when the Queen actually came to town, so that we could curtsy). I wear long skirts myself, and usually I’m in a choir robe that is just a little too long for me, which is even worse. There’s a trick to it – place your right leg slightly ahead of your left (if you’re right-footed), take hold of your skirt with both hands, on the sides, gather it up and flip the front a little bit forward and the folds back, leaving the front hem slightly elevated (but not so as to expose your knees) and then kneel first on your left knee (if you’re right footed) and then onto the right. Back straight and shoulders back. Reverse the process to rise.
    Nobody has a video on this, but here’s one on how to curtsy to the Queen. You can see how they get back up by keeping the back and shoulders completely vertical — dropping forward like a camel does NOT help you to get back up again – it makes it harder!
    All you have to do differently is drop the left knee to the ground instead of stopping half way, and don’t cross your right leg over the left, just put it straight down.

  47. AnAmericanMother says:

    I know a lot of folks have bad knees or other problems that make it difficult to kneel without a rail.
    What I would do if I couldn’t kneel on my own — just because I am one of those stubborn people — is borrow my dad’s walker that he used when he had back surgery . . . . . :-)

  48. Supertradmum says:

    AnAmericanMother, in order get into the church I do to for daily Mass I have to go up and down at least twenty-seven steps. I have attended dozens of Masses in Europe where one could not bring a walker. And, just curious, how can one kneel in a line of people with a walker and get up again? For me, the getting back up is the problem especially in skirts or dresses. I am interested and not being cheeky, as I want to kneel and be able to get back up again. What is so irritating, is that this church and so many others have the original rails which the priests stand in front of…..one would be behind the priest if one knelt at the rail. It is so infuriating.

  49. Supertradmum says:

    sorry about errors in typing, I am getting cataracts quickly, and can’t manage an operation.

  50. acardnal says:

    Supertradmum, you better get that PhD dissertation written soon!

  51. AnAmericanMother says:

    supertradmum,
    It’s a lightweight, folding walker :-). I would just carry it up the steps on a shoulder strap, and if anybody gave me a hard time I would just walk through them (a technique perfected by my grandmother, one of those old-time Southern ladies that Florence King refers to as Rocks.)
    If the line is too tight for a walker, I would use one of those nifty canes with three or four feet on them. When I blew up my ACL I became pretty adept first with two crutches, then with one like Long John Silver (though I never impaled anybody with it, like poor Tom). I actually could kneel for communion on my good knee . . . of course, at that time I was an Episcopalian and only 30 years old . . . . :-)

  52. I kneel whenever it’s physically possible for me to do so. I have a bad leg so it’s not always an easy thing for me to do. It is easier with parishes that have altar rails. I just use the rails. There hasn’t been too many problems for that. The indult for standing for Communion should be removed. The Western Church has their own traditions and needs to stick to them.

  53. NYer says: As a Roman Catholic who still recalls the pre-VCII Latin Mass and received First Communion kneeling, I truly appreciate the historical perspective of kneeling “in reverence” to receive the Body and Blood of our Lord. However, since we stand, “out of reverence”, for the reading of the Gospel, it would seem that both approaches accomplish the same goal – to reverently meet out Lord. In the Eastern Catholic Churches, communion is received standing. In fact, the congregation stands during the Consecration, again, “out of reverence”.

    There is certainly academic appeal in this argument, but the on-the-ground results of appealing arguments can be disastrous. The reality is that changing an immemorial custom sends a message. It’s playing with people’s faith. When, after century upon century of kneeling out of reverence for Communion, suddenly we have to stand and not kneel, it sends the message that maybe Holy Communion isn’t such a big deal after all. In which case the Blessed Sacrament is not Jesus under the appearance of bread and wine, and therefore the Church is lying by holding that It is. I don’t think it can plausibly be argued that reverence for the Blessed Sacrament has increased as a result of standing for Communion.

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  55. Rick DeLano says:

    I was refused communion a few years back, for kneeling.

    I let the bishop know.

    He took care of the problem.

    In future, if I get any difficulty I simple take Msgr. Kelly’s wonderful advice:

    “Sorry, Father. Can’t help it. I have Catholic knees”.

    Fr. Z's Gold Star Award