is it OK to genuflect before receiving Communion?


My 15 year old daughter (a home schooler) went to daily mass this week at a church that is not our usual parish. As is her custom at our usual parish, she genuflected prior to receiving communion. She did this while the person in front of her was receiving. It did not slow down or disrupt the communion procession. It is commonly done at our usual parish.

After Mass without any discussion the priest handed her a typewritten note. It stated that he did not want her to genuflect when receiving Communion because it showed a lack of unity with other communicants and created a potentially dangerous situation because he had seen someone trip over a genuflecting communicant previously.

Is it legitimate for him to prohibit genuflection before receiving Communion?

Thank you

The General Instruction of the Roman Missal (GIRM) dictates certain times for genuflecting, outside of those times:

274 …Otherwise all who pass before the Most Blessed Sacrament genuflect, unless they are moving in procession.

Note that we do not genuflect when moving in procession unless the GIRM specifies us to do so. The GIRM does describe coming up to receive communion as a procession:

  1. While the priest is receiving the Sacrament, the Communion chant is begun. Its purpose is to express the communicants’ union in spirit by means of the unity of their voices, to show joy of heart, and to highlight more clearly the “communitarian” nature of the procession to receive Communion.

The priest is correct that it is not in accordance with the GIRM to genuflect during the procession to receive communion. However, your daughter does have the right to receive communion kneeling if she so chooses:

GIRM 160…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

Redemptionis Sacramentum
91 …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.

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