Kneeling during Communion
  • daniel
    Posts: 75
    I was taught to kneel from the Agnus Dei until the distribution of Communion was over and the Hosts were returned to the tabernacle. Can this regulation be found in writing anywhere? In this parish (Hispanic), everyone sits as soon as the Communion song begins. I don't know if this is the custom in Mexico or not.
  • Liam
    Posts: 4,374
    I offer a compromise: where the bridal party (1) invites the entire parish via an announcement or bulletin to the wedding liturgy, (2) allows sufficient seating to be made available for a reasonable proportion of the usual parish attendees at Mass to attend, and (3) invites the entire parish to a reception (perhaps in the Church hall or grounds - I've seen this done), then its parochial character can be seen even more clearly....
  • Liam
    Posts: 4,374
    Sorry, this ended up in the wrong thread.
  • Here is the Latin of the passage in question:
    43. Fideles stent ab initio cantus ad introitum, vel dum sacerdos accedit ad altare, usque ad collectam inclusive; ad cantum Allelúia ante Evangelium; dum ipsum Evangelium proclamatur; dum professio fidei et oratio universalis fiunt; necnon ab invitatorio Oráte fratres ante orationem super oblata usque ad finem Missae, praeter ea quae infra dicuntur.

    Sedeant autem dum proferuntur lectiones ante Evangelium et psalmus responsorius; ad homiliam et dum fit praeparatio donorum ad offertorium; atque, pro opportunitate, dum sacrum silentium post Communionem servatur.

    Genuflectant vero, nisi valetudinis causa, vel ob angustiam loci vel frequentiorem numerum adstantium aliasve rationabiles causas impediantur, ad consecrationem. Hi vero qui non genuflectunt ad consecrationem, inclinationem profundam peragant dum sacerdos genuflectit post consecrationem.

    Est tamen Conferentiae Episcoporum, gestus et corporis habitus in Ordine Missae descriptos ingenio et rationabilibus populorum traditionibus ad normam iuris aptare.54 Attendendum tamen erit, ut sensui et indoli cuiusque partis celebrationis respondeant. Ubi mos est, populum ab acclamatione Sanctus expleta usque ad finem Precis eucharisticae genuflexum manere, hic laudabiliter retinetur.

    Ad uniformitatem in gestibus et corporis habitibus in una eadem celebratione obtinendam, fideles monitionibus obtemperent, quas diaconus, vel minister laicus, vel sacerdos durante celebratione proferunt, iuxta ea quae in libris liturgicis statuuntur.


    Here is the Spanish of the passage in question (notice how literal it is):
    43. Los fieles están de pie desde el principio del canto de entrada, o bien, desde cuando el sacerdote se dirige al altar, hasta la colecta inclusive; al canto del Aleluya antes del Evangelio; durante la proclamación del Evangelio; mientras se hacen la profesión de fe y la oración universal; además desde la invitación Oren, hermanos, antes de la oración sobre las ofrendas, hasta el final de la Misa, excepto lo que se dice más abajo.

    En cambio, estarán sentados mientras se proclaman las lecturas antes del Evangelio y el salmo responsorial; durante la homilía y mientras se hace la preparación de los dones para el ofertorio; también, según las circunstancias, mientras se guarda el sagrado silencio después de la Comunión.

    Por otra parte, estarán de rodillas, a no ser por causa de salud, por la estrechez del lugar, por el gran número de asistentes o que otras causas razonables lo impidan, durante la consagración. Pero los que no se arrodillen para la consagración, que hagan inclinación profunda mientras el sacerdote hace la genuflexión después de la consagración.

    Sin embargo, pertenece a la Conferencia Episcopal adaptar los gestos y las posturas descritos en el Ordinario de la Misa a la índole y a las tradiciones razonables de los pueblos, según la norma del derecho. Pero préstese atención a que respondan al sentido y la índole de cada una de las partes de la celebración. Donde existe la costumbre de que el pueblo permanezca de rodillas desde cuando termina la aclamación del “Santo” hasta el final de la Plegaria Eucarística y antes de la Comunión cuando el sacerdote dice “Éste es el Cordero de Dios”, es laudable que se conserve.

    Para conseguir esta uniformidad en los gestos y en las posturas en una misma celebración, obedezcan los fieles a las moniciones que hagan el diácono o el ministro laico, o el sacerdote, de acuerdo con lo que se establece en el Misal.



    Here is the U.S. version:

    43. The faithful should stand from the beginning of the Entrance chant, or while the priest approaches the altar, until the end of the Collect; for the Alleluia chant before the Gospel; while the Gospel itself is proclaimed; during the Profession of Faith and the Prayer of the Faithful; from the invitation, Orate, fratres (Pray, brethren), before the prayer over the offerings until the end of Mass, except at the places indicated below.

    They should, however, sit while the readings before the Gospel and the responsorial Psalm are proclaimed and for the homily and while the Preparation of the Gifts at the Offertory is taking place; and, as circumstances allow, they may sit or kneel [U.S. addition] while the period of sacred silence after Communion is observed.

    In the dioceses of the United States of America, they should kneel beginning after the singing or recitation of the Sanctus until after the Amen of the Eucharistic Prayer, except when prevented on occasion by reasons of health, lack of space, the large number of people present, or some other good reason. Those who do not kneel ought to make a profound bow when the priest genuflects after the consecration. The faithful kneel after the Agnus Dei unless the Diocesan Bishop determines otherwise.

    With a view to a uniformity in gestures and postures during one and the same celebration, the faithful should follow the directions which the deacon, lay minister, or priest gives according to whatever is indicated in the Missal.


    Here is a rough English translation of the Spanish paragraph in question:
    However, it is in the competence of the Episcopal Conference to adapt the gestures and postures described in the Order of Mass to the disposition and reasonable traditions of the peoples according to the rule of law. But care must be taken to respond to the meaning and nature of each of the parts of the celebration. Where it is customary for the people to kneel from the end the acclamation of "Holy" to the end of the Eucharistic Prayer and before Communion when the priest says "This is the Lamb of God," this is laudably retained.
  • FWIW my observation, mostly in my own parish church, is that at communion time each person does what he wants to; there is no uniformity.

    JM
    Casas Grandes
    Chihuahua
  • G
    Posts: 1,391
    My recollection is that when the new GIRM was promulgated hereabouts a few years back, it was given to the diocesan bishop to determine if, after the Agnus Dei, the faithful were to kneel as was then customary in most of the US, or stand through communion.

    After a (very, IIRC,) few US bishops decided that the people were to stand after the Agnus Dei, there was a mini-revolt, Cdl George, as president of the USCCB sent a dubiam to the CDW on behalf of the revolting... oh, that's not quite well put, is it?... and received a reply that those who wished to kneel were entitled to do so.

    In our diocese they suggested enforcing the standing mandate by having the cantor or announcer ask people to stand and return their kneelers "to the upright position" after the Amen.

    (Save the Liturgy, Save the World)
  • daniel
    Posts: 75
    So my question is still: is there any official Church directive that says we should kneel from the Agnus Dei until Communion is finished?
  • Liam
    Posts: 4,374
    The preconciliar Missal did not prescribe the posture of the congregation, but only of the servers who acted as their proxies; as a technical matter of liturgical law, the PIPs were pretty much free to do as they wilt (and there was a time when they used that freedom, as medieval texts will testify in appalling detail at times). Now, popular piety in the US was such that the Blessed Sacrament was considered "exposed" during the communion rite, so people in the pews knelt to the extent of their ability during that period of exposure. This was not a rubric as such, but custom. And it's lived on rather durably in many parts of the US during the postconciliar period.
  • IanWIanW
    Posts: 749
    Sometimes custom should be left to do its own thing, with the odd nudge of encouragement or constraint as desirable. The more the hierarchy directs in such matters of detail, the more we loose our feel for what's best.
  • JamJam
    Posts: 636
    Sometimes custom should be left to do its own thing, with the odd nudge of encouragement or constraint as desirable. The more the hierarchy directs in such matters of detail, the more we loose our feel for what's best.


    Maybe that would have been a good thing to say around the Council of Trent time... now it's too late for that idea, I fear.
  • IanWIanW
    Posts: 749
    Maybe that would have been a good thing to say around the Council of Trent time... now it's too late for that idea, I fear.

    Maybe Trent contained elements of over-reaction to Protestantism that over time eroded our sense of faith and worship as a living, organic thing. I incline to the view that the conservative and liberal ultramontanism of the 19th and 20th centuries are the product of this tendency, two sides of the same coin, both encouraging us to rely over-much on external direction at the expense of the sensus fidelium.
  • JamJam
    Posts: 636
    I concur! Which is why it seems like a bad idea to try and force an organic sense back on the Catholic faithful, since Trent kinda kinda ossified the sensus fidelium. It's not impossible to breathe life back into that old fossil, but it'll take time and patience. Can't be done overnight. Not even in a few generations. I honestly think it's because the Catholic faithful lost the sensus fidelium that they went so crazy in the wake of Vatican 2, which assumed they'd have it at least a little bit.
  • IanWIanW
    Posts: 749
    Well, we have to start somewhere, Jam. Fortunately, we have the words and actions of the Holy Father to inform us and set an example ...
  • JamJam
    Posts: 636
    so! I bet you're right. On something small like this "when to kneel" thing, maybe custom ought to be allowed to live. The GIRM allows for either kneeling or standing depending on what the bishop of the diocese says.
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 9,577
    What posture would Satan (the father of Pride) prefer for himself or us... I suggest the opposite.
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 11,279
    You know, standing is the norm in the eastern churches, as commanded by the Council of Nicea. We don't have pews, either. I have been in Roman Rite churches where they knelt, and in some where they didn't. Maybe it's a case of, "When in Rome,..."
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 8,713
    Hm: what's the opposite of standing? OK.

    So, Francis, a prostration before receiving Holy Communion? I like that, but it's more than the Church requires. I'm for kneeling, which is the Roman-rite tradition.

    Now, there's nothing inherently evil about standing for Holy Communion. It's even normative in the Byzantine tradition, right? So I think it is excessive to talk about Satan in this context.

    Ego dixi in excessu meo, omnis homo diabolus?
  • JamJam
    Posts: 636
    "I said in my excess, every man [is] a devil?"
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 8,713
    Ps. 115:2 :"Ego dixi in excessu meo: omnis homo mendax."
  • GavinGavin
    Posts: 2,799
    "What posture would Satan (the father of Pride) prefer for himself or us... I suggest the opposite."

    I'd suggest that Satan would prefer that people think themselves better than others who don't adopt their own preferred posture... that's no doubt what fills him with the most glee.
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 9,577
    Wow. That got quite a response. Prostrate would be good, but it would take a long time to give out communion. We stand in our church, but I remember when we had communion rails. I don't think standing offends God as much as the attitude of indifference that pervades our churches.
  • IanWIanW
    Posts: 749
    Daniel began this thread by recalling: "I was taught to kneel" at Communion and asking if this is mandated anywhere. In other words, a reverent custom had been passed on to him withought the need for detailed regulation. Seems good to me. Let's all do our best to preserve such actions and symbols, each in his own way, whether simply participating in the liturgy or as one with catachetical responsibility.
  • Donnaswan
    Posts: 585
    The Episcopal church used to teach-'Kneel to pray, sit to be instructed, stand to praise" So easy to remember and teach. do they still do that? We kneel at the altar rail in my home (Epis) church, but not at my place of employment, where there is no rail anymore. Of course, a much larger congregation.
    Donna
  • Liam
    Posts: 4,374
    Um, I remember the queues for the communion rail, and the rail was not different in indifferent attitudes than standing. When standing was new, there seemed to be more intentionality and less indifference; whatever becomes familiar also lends itself to indifference.
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 9,577
    All I can say, is that our hearts should have great reverance for so great a sacrament. If that part is right then the posture will also reflect the inner disposition. And by the way, when Jesus comes again, he has asked us to all stand, please!
  • Donnaswan
    Posts: 585
    I have always loved from BB's Ceremony of Carols- 'The knees of my heart sall I bow' I think it perfectly encapsulates in a symbolic way, Francis's above post.
    Donna
  • IanWIanW
    Posts: 749
    I'm a convert from the Church of England, Donna, and I miss the practice of kneeling to make communion as recommended by the Book of Common Prayer:

    Draw near with faith, and take this holy Sacrament to your comfort; and make your humble confession to Almighty God, meekly kneeling upon your knees.

    And I know, Jam, I suggested that a rule to enforce this for Catholics would be unwise, and I stand by that; but if Anglicans, most of whom don't believe in the Real Presence, feel it good to kneel, how much more fitting would it be for us?
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 11,279
    You could stand with the risen Christ, as the Council of Nicea commanded. But you know, those $%*& Latins have to change everything, or they are not happy. ;-) Was it change in 19th century Russia? It was not.
  • IanWIanW
    Posts: 749
    You could, CharlesW, and if you're part of such a tradition that's good. The Western tradition is different, however, and in that context the failure to kneel diminishes our sense of reverence.
  • GavinGavin
    Posts: 2,799
    Is outrage, Charles!
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 9,577
    A few years back, a pastor removed the kneelers from his church to 'keep up with the times'. After all, kneeling is for antiquitics! (that is not in the same category as heretics, by any means!) Word got 'round the diocese and not too long after, the Cardinal Archbishop called upon the pastor as he visited his church. The Cardinal asked the priest a simple question: "Is there something wrong with your knees?" Well, the pastor had the kneelers reinstalled not too long after the Cardinal's visit.
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 9,577
    Funny...

    Just ran accross this quote from B16...

    "Go to the encounter with him in the Blessed Eucharist, go to adore him in the churches, kneeling before the Tabernacle: Jesus will fill you with his love and will reveal to you the thoughts of his Heart. If you listen to him, you will feel ever more deeply the joy of belonging to his Mystical Body, the Church, which is the family of his disciples held close by the bond of unity and love."
    - Pope Benedict, Message to Dutch Youth

    there must be a reason he stressed kneeling!