Giving Tuesday November 28

The correct posture at Mass:

Can we genuflect when receiving Communion?

Question:

“I’ve been told that genuflection is no longer allowed when receiving Holy Communion. We were concerned with this and would like to know what source document this came from. We receive Holy Communion kneeling, not only out of humility, but also to remind everyone that it is Jesus we are receiving and that we should show Him the greatest reverence. We await your response. Thank you.

Answer:

In the General Instruction of the Roman Missal (GIRM), there are degrees of required compliance, which means the weight of the norms vary – indicated by “must”, “should”, or “may”. We’re to be neither overly rigid nor overly lax in using the instructions.

What the GIRM says about posture in the Communion line is not meant as a rigid law but as a preferred guideline, and it forbids (a stronger rule) the denial of Communion to those who choose to kneel instead of bow. It also leaves the local bishop in charge of deciding how to implement the GIRM, allowing them room to make adaptations. We are supposed to obey our local bishops, but there is still room for us to follow our consciences. In most cases, the bishops’ and pastors’ rulings that we don’t like are based on something good and right. If we learn the reasons behind the rules or guidelines we dislike, we come to appreciate them and our consciences tell us to comply with them.

GIRM #42 states the reason why we should comply with the local parish’s use of the GIRM: “A common posture, to be observed by all participants, is a sign of the unity of the members of the Christian community gathered for the Sacred Liturgy: it both expresses and fosters the intention and spiritual attitude of the participants.”

#160 states what the local parish should expect all participants to comply with: “The norm for reception of Holy Communion in the dioceses of the United States is standing.” (This rules out kneeling.) As a US citizen under the authority of the US bishops, I wrote this WordByte with that in mind. Since you are from Canada, you’ll want to ask your local parish for a copy of the Canadian version of the GIRM to see what it says in #160. For the most part, there is very little difference between the US and Canadian GIRMs.

#160 also says: “When receiving Holy Communion, the communicant bows his or her head before the Sacrament.” This means instead of genuflecting before receiving the Eucharist.
However, #160 also says: “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. as a gesture of reverence and receives the Body of the Lord from the minister.”

Here is a copy of the most recent version of the US GIRM:
usccb.org/…/general-instruction-of-the-roman-missal/

© 2010 by Terry A. Modica


Please share this with others by using the social sharing icons at the top of this page. Or request a printable copy that's licensed for distribution here, if it is not indicated next to the copyright notice that it is already available from Catholic Digital Resources.
Copyrighted by Good News Ministries. Printed for single-user, personal use only. To distribute this, permission is required. Printed from: http://wordbytes.gnm.org/faqs-posture-communion/
Liked it? Subscribe to more Good News at gogoodnews.net!
Choose one of the editions of the Good News Reflections, and as a thank-you for subscribing, we will also send you a free download of my mini-ebook "10 Prayers That Changed My Life".
Comments:

Anonymous said: “At Mass/in church, standing is also the posture of prayer: ie Samuel’s Mother stood when she prayed to God at the temple. Cardinal Ratzinger wrote a fantastic book called “spirit of the liturgy” that discusses the different postures in mass etc. It seriously brought me a lot of understanding.”

Post a Comment

All comments are moderated before appearing on this page.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Notify me of followup comments via email. (You may alternatively subscribe without commenting.)

Send donations to:
Good News Ministries
5474 Willams Road, Suite 2B
Tampa, Florida 33610 USA

GNM logo donated  by
Brent Delperdang of
Web Talent Marketing

Website content © 1996 - 2017
Most photos © Terry Modica. All rights reserved.
See our Copyrights Page for permission.

Good News Ministries gnm.org

Looking for
Charlie Osborn's
Good News of Divine Mercy?

This is NOT it! Here's his info.

Contact Us

Privacy Policy

Good News Ministries of Tampa Bay is a Catholic adult faith formation and evangelization ministry in the Diocese of St. Petersburg. We offer events such as seminars, retreats, courses, and parish missions. Our speakers for Catholic adult education specialize in teaching the Church documents, Bible study, the Vocation of Marriage, and prayer. Our services include daily Good News Reflections on the readings from Catholic Mass, WordBytes e-magazine, Virtual Pilgrimage to the Holy Land, Online Rosaries, and much more. As a non-profit charitable organization, GNM charges no fees but accepts donations to continue ministering. Catholic Digital Resources is Terry Modica's writing services company. Good News Ministries of Tampa Bay, Inc., is an equal opportunity agency; we never practice discrimination based upon age, ethnicity, gender, national origin, disability, race, size, religion, sexual orientation, or socioeconomic background, other than as allowed by law.