I am posting this because just a couple of weeks ago. Last month probably? I had gone to daily Mass on a Saturday morning at my local parish. As it was time to receive Holy Communion I decided to receive kneeling down. I was not the only one, there had been a couple of people as well receive on their knees. After we had gone back to our pews the priest celebrating mass, which happened to be the pastor of the church as well, had told us that we are not to receive Holy Communion kneeling down because the bishops in the United States had spoken against this. I was disappointed that the pastor had said this. I was disappointed because I had always loved to receive Holy Communion kneeling down, but I was also confused and sure that what he had said was wrong.
Later that day I did research and spent a number of hours seeing what the Catholic Church taught regarding this, as well as of any documents, videos, and any other thing I could get my hands into to be able to find the official teaching regarding receiving Holy Communion. I had found two documents and several videos by well-known Catholic clergy including Cardinal Arinze, as well as laity, including apologists such as Jimmy Akin that specifically state that the Catholic faithful have the right of receiving Holy Communion kneeling down.
The sad part of this is that I had talked to my priest a couple of days after, in order to show him that he was wrong to say that people are not to receive Holy Communion kneeling down. The priest had simply reaffirmed what he had stated several days prior. I even tried to show him the documents, which he tried his best to ignore.
It seems that many have lost the idea of showing reverence for Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament and our Lord in general. There are quite a few examples of Holy People in the bible prostrating themselves before our Lord, as well as examples of people in the Church throughout the ages showing their most due reverence. I think the best example is the angel at Fatima.
1)” Then the Angel appeared to us for the third time. He was holding a chalice in his hand. A Host was over it, from which fell some drops of Blood into the chalice. Leaving the chalice and Host suspended in mid-air, he prostrated himself on the ground”.
2) In his third and final apparition to the children, the Angel gave them Holy Communion, and demonstrated the proper way to receive Our Lord in the Eucharist: all three children knelt to receive Communion; and Lucy was given the Sacred Host on the tongue and the Angel shared the Blood of the Chalice between Francisco and Jacinta.
Because of this incident I will post the documents and the videos that specifically state that the Catholic faithful have the right to receive Holy Communion kneeling.
3) The priest then takes the paten or ciborium and goes to the communicants, who, as a rule, approach in a procession.
The faithful are not permitted to take the consecrated bread or the sacred chalice by themselves and, still less, to hand them from one to another. The norm for reception of Holy Communion in the dioceses of the United States is standing. Communicants should not be denied Holy Communion because they kneel. Rather, such instances should be addressed pastorally, by providing the faithful with proper catechesis on the reasons for this norm.
When receiving Holy Communion, the communicant bows his or her head before the Sacrament as a gesture of reverence and receives the Body of the Lord from the minister. The consecrated host may be received either on the tongue or in the hand, at the discretion of each communicant. When Holy Communion is received under both kinds, the sign of reverence is also made before receiving the Precious Blood. ( GIRM 160)
4) The faithful should receive Communion kneeling or standing, as the Conference of Bishops will have determined”, with its acts having received the recognitio of the Apostolic See. “However, if they receive Communion standing, it is recommended that they give due reverence before the reception of the Sacrament, as set forth in the same norms
In distributing Holy Communion it is to be remembered that “sacred ministers may not deny the sacraments to those who seek them in a reasonable manner, are rightly disposed, and are not prohibited by law from receiving them”. Hence any baptized Catholic who is not prevented by law must be admitted to Holy Communion. Therefore, it is not licit to deny Holy Communion to any of Christ’s faithful solely on the grounds, for example, that the person wishes to receive the Eucharist kneeling or standing. ( Redemptoris Sacramentum 90-91)
photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/55776120@N08/8023374829/”>Latin Mass Society Office</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0/”>cc</a>
1) Taken from Father Gruner’s The True Story Of Fatima: A complete account of the Fatima apparitions
2) Taken from the website http://www.fatima.org: The Message in general
3) Taken from GIRM ( The General Instruction For The Roman Missal)
4) Taken from Redemptoris Sacramentum